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Lesson 4 Web server software
Objective Select Web server software.

Web Server Software

A Web site is a collection of documents and applications that creates documents for Web services. Although the details of page site design are beyond the scope of this course, you must plan your e-commerce site thoroughly. Such planning includes choosing an appropriate web server.
A Web server includes the hardware platform (usually Intel or RISC based), the server software (such as Apache Server or Microsoft IIS), and the information files themselves. Such files include HTML, database files, and various CGI applications. You must choose the correct software for your needs. Some features to consider when selecting your Web server software include:

  1. Content management and site analysis features
  2. Ability to create multiple Web sites such as virtual web sites with one web server
  3. Automated Management support
  4. Certificates and SSL support
  5. Script debugging for Active Server, Cold Fusion, JSP and Server Side JavaScript
  6. Built in website search engines.
  7. Remote administration abilities
  8. Extensive, reliable customer support
  9. Legacy back-end mainframe connectivity using Corba or Web Services

Site Performance

Selecting the appropriate Web server software for your company will determine your site's performance. Your server may be chosen for nonperformance reasons such as:
  1. Existing expertise in particular products
  2. Existing use of a particular platform in a company environment
  3. Specific capabilities offered by certain server software
It is sometimes difficult to choose the correct software solutions, especially if you have not properly mapped out the nature of your site.Below is a discussion of the two most popular server solutions, Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) and Apache Web Server.

Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS)

Internet Information Services (IIS) which was formerly called Internet Information Server, is a web server application and set of feature extension modules created by Microsoft for use with Microsoft Windows.
IIS 7.5 supports HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, SMTP and NNTP and is an integral part of the Windows Server family of products, as well as certain editions of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. IIS is not turned on by default when Windows is installed.
IIS is also a widely recommended choice because it supports ASP, which allow you to use VBScript or JavaScript to create elegant, relatively simple database connections suitable for a busy e-commerce site.
You can learn more about IIS at

Apache Web server

By far the most popular Internet Web server, Apache Server runs primarily on UNIX systems. A new version has been ported for use primarily on Windows. Its chief features are that it is freely available, has extensive Java and SSL support, and works well with databases.
As of September 1999, over 55% of all the sites on the Web used Apache Server. Running Apache Server in a Linux box is quite inexpensive, as opposed to running IIS on Windows NT, which requires extensive licensing.
You should understand, however, that even though the majority of Web sites use Apache Server, that does not necessariliy mean that Apache is better than IIS, Netscape's offerings, or any other Web server. When choosing a server, you should educate yourself concerning platform stability and customer support issues, then make the best choice for your situation.
In addition to these two types of Web servers, other Web servers are available.
In the next lesson, we will discuss aliases and virtual directories.