Which web server does Facebook use

What is Apache Web Server? A basic look at what it is and how it works.

Apache is a popular open source, cross-platform web server that is by the numbers the most popular web server out there. It is actively maintained by the Apache Software Foundation.

Some well-known companies that use Apache are Cisco, IBM, Salesforce, General Electric, Adobe, VMware, Xerox, LinkedIn, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, Siemens, eBay and many more (source).

In addition to its popularity, it is also one of the oldest web servers, with its first release in 1995. Many cPanel hosts now use Apache. Like other web servers, Apache supports the behind-the-scenes aspects of serving your website's files to visitors.

Because Apache doesn't do as well on some benchmarks, especially static or high-traffic websites, Kinsta uses the NGINX web server instead of Apache. Although NGINX has long been out of the market, it has grown rapidly in popularity and market share since its launch in 2004.

How does Apache work? Web server basics explained

Although the way a web server works is very complex, the basic job of all web servers is to take requests from clients (e.g. a visitor's web browser) and then send the response to that request (e.g. the components of the page a visitor wants to see) .

The Apache web server has modules that add further functions to its software, such as MPM (for handling multi-processing modes) or for activating SSL v3 and TLS support (recommended reading: TLS vs SSL). Some of the most common features in Apache are:

  • .htaccess
  • IPv6
  • FTP
  • HTTP / 2
  • Perl, Lua and PHP
  • Bandwidth limit
  • WebDAV
  • Load balancing
  • URL rewriting
  • Session tracking
  • Geolocation based on the IP address

While a web server is an essential part of any website, it is important to note that occasional WordPress users will not be interacting with their web server directly, most of the time.

Apache vs. Nginx usage statistics

If you look at every single website on the internet, Apache is the most popular web server. According to W3Techs, it serves 47% of the websites with a known web server.

However, when you start looking at the busiest websites on the Internet, Apache usage drops sharply. Apache is only used by the following:

  • 27.1% of the 100,000 most popular websites
  • 21.5% of the 10,000 most popular websites
  • 16.2% of the 1,000 most popular websites

This decline is likely due at least in part to Apache's lower benchmarks for high-traffic websites.

Conversely, NGINX, the web server used by Kinsta, is used and "powered" by most high-traffic websites:

  • 56.1% of the 100,000 most popular websites
  • 63.2% of the 10,000 most popular websites
  • 57% of the 1,000 most popular websites

If you look at Google search trends since 2004, you can see this trend where the popularity of Apache (as a search term) decreases while NGINX's creeps upwards.

Apache vs. NGINX Google Trends results since 2004

How to check which web server you are using

If you want to see if you're using Apache or NGINX, you can often (but not always) look at your website's HTTP header.

To see your website's HTTP header, you can:

  • Use the tab network by Chrome Developer Tools.
  • Use a tool like Pingdom or GTmetrix.

Apache HTTP headers

This method may not work if you're using a service like Cloudflare.

Apache and the Apache pen logo are trademarks of the Apache Software Foundation.


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