Apache under Windows Page 3

IIS 3. Apache 1.3.12. Perhaps it was not a fair comparison. It was what I had at my disposal at the time. Again, this is not intended to be a ''Apache is better than IIS'' diatribe. I'm merely making the point that, for most applications, Apache is plenty fast enough, and compares well to the alternative.

The alternatives

Speaking of the competition, there are several alternatives, when it comes to choosing a HTTP server for NT. Apache compares well to each of them.

IIS (Microsoft)

Well, I've already mentioned IIS, so I won't belabor the point. There is very little advantage to bashing Microsoft. Sure, it's fun, but this is an Apache column, so I'll try to limit my discussion to Apache. So, I'll be brief.

The obvious advantage of IIS is that you already have it. When you install NT, there's IIS, along for the ride. So it is, in a sense, free. In my humble opinion, the advantages end there. The two main complaints that I have against it are:

  • Configuration: There are a very limited number of things that you can configure. The configuration GUI, while moderately easy to use, simply does not give you the range of configuration options that you get with Apache. Apache assumes that you might want to configure everything, and makes it possible to do that.

  • Authentication: IIS uses NT accounts to manage authenticated access to the web server. This might be a good idea on an Intranet (although, personally, I don't think so) but is a really bad idea on a web server out on the internet. Sure, you can lock down NT accounts so that they don't have access to stuff, but creating NT user accounts, and then giving people out on the internet those logins, seems like a recipe for getting hacked. And that's in addition to the nightmare of managing user accounts.

There are other things that irritate me about IIS, but, like I said, this is not intended to be an anti-IIS article.


According to NetCraft, the next in line is Netscape. I can't say much about Netscape, since I have not run it for 3 years and 2 versions. However, in the pre-Apache days, it was my choice over IIS on NT. This was mainly because of the ways that it handled CGI and authentication, which were much closer to the way that Apache did things.

Website (O'Reilly)

I mention WebSite because many of the people with whom I communicate via email lists say that it is a great server, and well worth the price. However, I have never used it myself, and so cannot comment more intelligently than that.


And, of course, there are many other choices out there. WebServer Compare (http://webcompare.internet.com/) lists 23 HTTP servers that run on NT, and I'm aware of at least one that they missed. There's no shortage of choices.

Differences between Apache Unix and Apache NT

There are some differences between Apache on Unix and Apache on NT. There are some differences in the actual way that the code works, which I won't say much about, and then there are differences in the way that you configure and use the server, which is what this article is really about.

Threading vs. forking

One of the biggest differences between Apache on Unix and Apache on NT is between threading and forking.

This article was originally published on Jan 17, 2001

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