In this article I will outline various factors that need to be considered while selecting a web server.
The first step you have to take into account is to discuss with your developer the below mentioned points:
- Features and functionality you want for the new website or existing one.
- A suitable scripting language.
- Website building software.
- Web hosting company recommendations.
Web server software like Apache and IIS are free, although IIS comes with the expensive Windows operating system. You need to set budget for your project which will depend on the quality and functionality of your website. Open source companies have their own community forums with the answers on the most common problems. Yet, all answers are not listed in such community forums. You may require direct assistance from web server developers and this can incur extra expenses in future.
Security plays a huge role in keeping your data safe. Any kind of hacking activity can cause damage to your website in case your web server configuration is improper. Having a secure and reliable server helps in growth of reputation and trust among visitors. Keep your website up-to-date with all available patches/updates.
Web Server runs on the specific operating system. Microsoft IIS server will work with Windows-based OS only. Apache or any other Open Source web servers are compatible with most of the popular operating systems like Windows, Linux, etc. Linux, Windows, Macintosh and UNIX are the major OS for Web servers. Among these:
- Linux is the most popular with the website owners.
- Windows is preferable for ASP.NET coded websites.
- Macintosh Server is not much popular among users and is very expensive.
Apache is the best choice of web server software for PHP-based web applications. Also NGINX, Lighttpd or LiteSpeed are good choices as well. For ASP.NET language based applications, IIS is the only option – it is highly reliable / scalable and secure if configured appropriately. For Java Server web pages, Apache Tomcat is the most viable choice.
Stack is a combination of OS, web server software, databases and programming framework, such as below:
- LAMP (Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP).
- LEMP (Linux + NGINX + MySQL + PHP).
- MAMP (Mac + Apache + MySQL + PHP).
- WIMP (Windows + IIS + MySQL/MS SQL Server + PHP).
- WAMP (Windows + Apache + MySQL/MS SQL Server + PHP).
Apart from these popular stacks, a lot more are available in the web hosting market that may vary based on your specific requirements.
Support from the Hosting Company
It’s a tough decision to choose between managed and unmanaged web hosting services. Going with unmanaged services is wise if you are familiar with all the functionality, features of web server and most importantly how to fix the issues in a timely manner. If you are not comfortable with any of these, you should consider opting for fully managed hosting services (which includes support of server software).
You should be cautious in your decision to choose your hosting company since not all are aware enough of all server issues and their support staff might not be available 24/7 for technical issues. This can turn out to be a real disaster for your website. Hence, you should choose your new host depending on the response time of the ticket and also problem resolution experience. This will help you in assuring that your website is up 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Being a technical person or having a technical engineer in your team is definitely good for your online business. This will help you while installing and managing a web server in-house. There will be no need to consult or pay a web hosting company for installation or resolving any issues related to web server performance. This will also help in custom configuring / developing your own web server depending on your customized requirements.
Running a website on the Internet is the only effective way to do business online. With the business and brand awareness growth, traffic to the website also increases. With such a rise, you need web server software with easy scalability to make sure it will be able to withstand increase in resources.
What do you think? Which web server software is best for you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
About The Author: Post by Greg Rockwood – a PR and marketing manager at Softsys Hosting company, an established provider of redundant cloud VPS hosting and Softsys SSD dedicated server services for online businesses of any size.