Apache HTTP Server 2.4: First Major Update Since 2005

The Apache Foundation celebrates its 17th anniversary by launching a new version of its Web server. The program: dynamic reverse proxy, and management of a larger number of simultaneous requests.

This is the first major update of the Apache Web server since 2005. Launched on the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the eponymous foundation, it succeeds to version 2.3.

Following in the footsteps of Nginx, the Open Source project has focused on optimizing the performance of the server, with a view to the needs of many websites to manage an ever-increasing volume of traffic.

The equation sought: allow the Apache server to support a larger number of simultaneous connections, while consuming less memory. And Apache says that this new version goes well in this direction. “Despite the addition of many new features, version 2.4.x tends to use less memory than version 2.2.x,” it says.

Among the changes, the reverse proxy module now allows multiple servers to be exposed through a single IP address (via a dynamic reverse proxy device), even if the addresses of those servers change frequently. Still on the subject of performance management, it is now possible to set the duration of a timeout to a few milliseconds.

Cache management is also optimized (with for example the possibility to cache small data objects). But Apache HTTP Server 2.4 goes even further by improving the management of rules at the request level. “A new expression interpreter allows to specify complex conditions via directives with common syntax such as SetEnvIfExpr, RewriteCond, Header, , etc.,” says the foundation.

Penetration rate of the main Web servers in February 2012
Web server February 2011 Market share February 2012 Market share Evolution
Source: Netcraft 2012
Apache 378,267,399 64.91% 397,867,089 64.92% 0.01
Microsoft 84,288,985 14.46% 88,210,995 14.39% -0.07
nginx 56,087,776 9.63% 60,627,200 9.89% 0.27
Google 18,936,381 3.25% 19,394,196 3.16% -0.09

Apache HTTP Server is by far the most widely used web server on the web. Its market share has continued to grow in recent years. From 59% in February 2011, it now reaches nearly 65%.

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