WWW FAQ: Unix Servers

Unix Servers

NCSA httpd
NCSA is the source of one of the oldest Unix web servers, and still one of the best, known as the NCSA httpd; it is available at the URL ftp://ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Web/httpd. Versions 1.5 and later support HTTP Keep-Alive, which improves efficiency when the server is communicating with a compatible web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer. More information is available at NCSA <URL:http://hoohoo.ncsa.uiuc.edu/docs/>.
XS-HTTPD is a small, fast, back-to-basics web server. XS-HTTPD supports CGI and other standard features, executes a user's CGI programs under that user's own ID, and preforks a fixed number of copies of itself for performance (like most other fast servers). <URL:http://www.stack.urc.tue.nl/~sven/xs-httpd/>
Apache httpd
Apache is a powerful, reliable drop-in replacement for the NCSA httpd. <URL:http://www.apache.org/apache/> Note that a version which supports SSL for secure transactions is also available. <URL:http://www.algroup.co.uk/Apache-SSL>
w3 httpd
The w3 consortium httpd, originally developed at CERN, is available for anonymous FTP from ftp.w3.org (URL is http://www.w3.org/hypertext/WWW/Daemon/Status.html ) and many other places. The w3 server is currently the only free server able to act as a caching proxy.
Spyglass httpd
Spyglass offers a Unix web server, free of charge. The server claims higher speeds than other commercial and free servers and offers benchmark tests to back them up. CGI, authentication, a faster non-CGI programming interface and other common server features are included. <URL:http://www.spyglass.com/products/server_download.html>
Netscape's Netsite Servers
Netscape Communications Corporation offers two server products, high-end Netscape Commerce Server (capable of secure transactions) and the less expensive Netscape Communications Server. Both products feature a more efficient replacement for CGI (common gateway interface) programming and are designed to be more efficient than traditional free-of-charge servers such as the NCSA and CERN http demons.
Compuserve Internet Office Web Server
Compuserve's Internet division (formerly Spry) offers the Internet Office Web Server, available for both Unix and Windows NT. The standard edition can be tried out for free. The professional edition includes editing tools and supports S-HTTP security and SQL database connectivity.
GN Gopher/HTTP server
The GN server is unique in that it can serve both WWW and Gopher clients (in their native modes). This is a good server for those migrating from Gopher to WWW, and includes some of the more powerful web server features as well (such as CGI scripts). See the URL http://hopf.math.nwu.edu/.
Perl server
There is also a server written in the Perl scripting language, called Plexus, for which documentation is available at the URL http://bsdi.com/server/doc/plexus.html .
WN Server
The WN Server, available at the URL http://hopf.math.nwu.edu/docs/manual.html , is designed with an emphasis on security and flexibility, and takes a different approach from the NCSA and CERN servers. It provides text searching facilities as a standard feature.
EIT httpd
EIT has created the Webmaster's Starter Kit, which installs their WWW server on your system via the web through a painless forms interface. Recommended for those unfamiliar with server installation. You can learn more about the starter kit and the EIT httpd at the starter kit site (URL is http://wsk.eit.com/wsk/doc/ ).
The Phttpd Server, available by anonymous FTP from ftp.lysator.liu.se in the directory pub/phttpd, is a multithreaded server for Sun's Solaris 2.X operating system which takes advantage of memory mapping and dynamic linking to achieve excellent performance.
Open Market Web Servers
Open Market offers two commercial products, WebServer and the Secure WebServer. The latter supports the Secure HTTP and SSL standards for secure transactions. Both are multithreaded for efficiency and emphasize strong logging features and access control (URL is <URL:http://www.openmarket.com> ).
Spinner is a free web server for Unix platforms which supports extensive server-side parsing of documents, completely avoids forking for non-CGI accesses, and supports multiple roots for multiple host names (URL is <URL:http://spinner.infovav.se/> ).
Navisoft Server
The Navisoft Server is available for Windows NT, as well as many Unix platforms, and interfaces directly to a back-end database for powerful search capabilities. <URL:http://www.navisoft.com/index.htm>
Boa is a single-process server. While it does not have every advanced feature, it is interesting because it internally multiplexes all of the ongoing http connections and forks only to handle CGI programs. This should translate into remarkable speed when serving normal documents. See <URL:http://www.cerf.net/~paulp/boa/> for more information.
thttpd, the "tiny/turbo/throttling HTTP server", is much like Boa in that it takes a single-process approach. thttpd handles only the GET and HEAD methods and emphasizes simplicity and very low resource consumption. It isn't suitable for everything, but it serves simple documents very quickly! It also has a feature which is currently unique: thttpd can limit the pace of accesses to particular URLs. <URL:http://www.acme.com/software/thttpd/>
Common Lisp Hypermedia Server (CL-HTTP)
The CL-HTTP server <URL:http://www.ai.mit.edu/projects/iiip/doc/cl-http/server.html> is a web server written entirely in Common Lisp. It is available on many platforms, and can be programmed at a remarkably high level, using Lisp code to generate much of the output of the server. An interesting option when development time is limited.

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