Apache vs. IIS Web Server

Apache vs. IIS Web Server

The Apache vs IIS debate is just as old and intriguing as Linux vs. Windows.  Because these are two of the most widely used web server applications on the market, making a choice is often difficult.  If you have been struggling on which software to run on your server, the details in this article should be able to help you make a more informed decision.

Reliability and Performance

If you are worried about the reliability IIS offers vs. Apache, then your concerns are a bit outdated.  IIS 6.0 offered a process model able to reliably host applications and monitor them for health and responsiveness.  The main draw of this feature was its ability to proactively detect and recycle unhealthy applications.  IIS 7.0 took the process model one step further by creating a dynamic architecture for the Windows platform, making it a high-performance, multi-threaded server that enables secure isolation of websites by default.  With IIS, the Windows platform is agile enough to quickly respond to poor health conditions and recycle applications in a more efficient manner.

The Issue of PHP

If you are worried about IIS performance when running PHP vs Apache, then your concerns are definitely warranted.  Until recently, there where two ways to run PHP in the Windows environment: the slow way with CGI, and the unreliable way with ISAPI.  Because many PHP scripts are specifically written for Apache and Linux, running them on the Windows platform with ISAPI may cause them to crash and strip the IIS process serving the applications.  On the brighter side of things, Microsoft’s partnership with Zend has brought forth answers to many of these issues in the form of compatibility and performance fixes.  One of the most notable improvements is achieved through FastCGI, a feature that enables an IIS web server to deliver fast and reliable PHP hosting.

Ease of Use

One area in which IIS has always shined in comparison to Apache is user-friendly administrative tools.  IIS 7 keeps up the tradition by providing a new management tool that is extremely powerful yet simple and very ease to use.  Now feature-focused, the tool allows you to simply click on a web server, website or application to individually manage each element.  It supports remote administration via HTTP, making it possible to maintain the server locally or over the internet.  It also has configuration settings that make it easy to delegate administrators to specific websites and applications.  The new IIS administrative tool is completely module and built on a highly extensible framework that allows it be enhanced with ease.

IIS 7.0 is a breath of fresh air in comparison to previous Microsoft web server applications.  It offers rock-solid security along with the exceptional performance and reliability needed to run in demanding hosting environments.  In addition, it delivers some powerful management and extensibility capabilities that exceed Apache.  Both make an excellent choice, but IIS is growing more popular by the day.  Even if you already have Apache installed on your server, you can check out what IIS has to offer as it integrated into versions of Windows Vista as a desktop application.  If you are like most users, you will surely appreciate its power.