月曜日, 3月 06, 2006

On choosing a server

Someone recently pointed out the orielly winxp hack about using the web server that comes bundled (albiet slightly hidden) on windoze xp pro. Him being a primary windoze user, I can understand that it would apparently be an easier implementation, however the fine book by orielly elloquently points out some strengths of using the Apache web server. I would like to make a quote here from the book Apache: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition
By Ben Laurie, Peter Laurie

"1.1.1. Criteria for Choosing a Web Server
What do we want a web server to do? It should:

Run fast, so it can cope with a lot of requests using a minimum of hardware.

Support multitasking, so it can deal with more than one request at once and so that the person running it can maintain the data it hands out without having to shut the service down. Multitasking is hard to arrange within a program: the only way to do it properly is to run the server on a multitasking operating system.

Authenticate requesters: some may be entitled to more services than others. When we come to handling money, this feature (see Chapter 11) becomes essential.

Respond to errors in the messages it gets with answers that make sense in the context of what is going on. For instance, if a client requests a page that the server cannot find, the server should respond with a "404" error, which is defined by the HTTP specification to mean "page does not exist."

Negotiate a style and language of response with the requester. For instance, it should — if the people running the server can rise to the challenge — be able to respond in the language of the requester's choice. This ability, of course, can open up your site to a lot more action. There are parts of the world where a response in the wrong language can be a bad thing.

Support a variety of different formats. On a more technical level, a user might want JPEG image files rather than GIF, or TIFF rather than either of those. He might want text in vdi format rather than PostScript.

Be able to run as a proxy server. A proxy server accepts requests for clients, forwards them to the real servers, and then sends the real servers' responses back to the clients. There are two reasons why you might want a proxy server:

The proxy might be running on the far side of a firewall (see Chapter 11), giving its users access to the Internet.

The proxy might cache popular pages to save reaccessing them.

Be secure. The Internet world is like the real world, peopled by a lot of lambs and a few wolves.[2] The aim of a good server is to prevent the wolves from troubling the lambs. The subject of security is so important that we will come back to it several times."

I realize what he had in mind was probably a few gamers, But in the event you want to have any scalability, security, or a host of other options I strongly consider reading a little further about apache, it is free, powerful, and very popular. continue

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