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Web Server Technologies

Here is our unbiased comparison of common web server technologies available. They are as different as noodles and spaghetti and ramen but we like them all the same.

For hosting basic static html pages there is hardly any difference from a technical and usage point of view. The real differences show when you are developing dynamic web pages.


IIS (Internet Information Services)

IIS is the de facto web server for the Windows platform. It comes as an installation option for Windows 2000, Windows 2003 Server and Windows XP.

The cost of hosting on IIS based web servers is generally more expensive than Apache based web servers but you get what you pay for. IIS offers good ease of use and administration.

For dynamic content development, IIS has it's own low-level interface called ISAPI (Internet Services Application Programming Interface) for developing C++ applications. With the latest version of IIS (IIS 6.0 at the time of writing), you also get ASP (Active Server Pages) and ASP.NET These are very rich high-level development environments.

In addition to ISAPI, ASP and ASP.NET, you can also use CGI, using Perl of PHP - there are free versions of these that you can install to use with your IIS web server.

For more information: Microsoft Internet Information Services


Apache is the standard web server technology used on UNIX platforms. A Windows version is available to run on Windows operating system as an alternative to IIS.

The cost of Unix hosting - usually with an Apache server is considerably less expensive than with Windows servers. Though with dynamic content solutions, you would need more technical know how.

As well as hosting basic html pages, Apache provides the Apache API low level interface. More commonly you can install Perl or PHP for CGI development to develop dynamic pages with Apache.

For more information: Apache Software Foundation


PWS (Personal Web Server)

PWS was available for Windows 98 users. It is best used as testing server for the development of web sites on Windows 98 and Windows ME based PC's.

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