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What is Apache in Web Design?

ApacheWhen you first start learning how to build websites, one of the most important concepts is Apache in Web design. Apache is an integral part of a Web server stack that makes it possible for site visitors to read and interact with Web pages. The server stack consists of the server itself, in this case Apache,  along with an operating system, high-level programming language and relational database.

Apache’s Role in Web Design

Apache is the most popular server software by a wide margin, but other choices include Ngix, Tomcat and Isis. It’s responsible for the letter A in the acronyms LAMP and WAMP, which are two of the most popular server stacks. The L and W in the names stand for the operating systems Linux and Windows. The M stands for MySQL, a popular relational database system, but many websites substitute PostgreSQL or Oracle for MySQL. The P stands for PHP or Python, depending on the programmer’s choice of framework.

Most website owners don’t have a choice of server software, because shared or managed Web hosts automatically come with it. These websites don’t need to worry about configuring Apache modules or setting up the proper host name attributes in Linux, and they can simply use a content management system to update their blogs or put new items on their e-commerce sites.

Websites that use a virtual private server or unmanaged dedicated server have to install all components of the server stack themselves. They must start by installing Linux or Windows and then setting up Python, PHP, Ruby or a related framework. Then, they must install a SQL package, set up a secure account and create new database files for the website. Like Apache, the SQL software is a system-wide service that must be switched on before it can be used, so the appropriate command must be sent to the system service manager.

Configuring A Server for the First Time

When these packages have been installed, Apache can be installed and configured, according to the Apache website. This process is perhaps the most involved part of the server stack installation. Like Linux, Apache is a modular piece of software, so different functionality must be accessed by compiling and enabling server modules. Many common modules are pre-compiled and installed with the basic Apache package, and they can be enabled simply by uncommenting the appropriate line in the httpd.conf file, Apache’s main configuration file. For example, a website won’t be able to load PHP code without the PHP module enabled in httpd.conf.

When carrying out this process for the first time, it’s best to follow in-depth tutorials for every step. Linux or Windows installation is usually straightforward, although configuring some Linux distributions often requires a considerable amount of troubleshooting. Ubuntu is a stable, user-friendly distribution that is mostly configured out of the box. Installing a programming framework is as easy as downloading the package through a package manager or from the website, but some configuration is required to sync it with the database system. In general, Apache is very user-friendly, and its default configuration file contains most of the common user settings.

Related Resource: Oracle

Web design is one of the most important skills to have in the digital age, but most designers never have to think about Apache or Linux. If you plan to upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server, you’ll need to learn about Apache in Web design.