Apache Web Server Review

Has good security, speed and traffic handling features

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use is as a web server, but we have other uses and how it is deployed depends on our scenario. We have 40 websites that are related to our company now, and for some of them, we have a serious problem with threats, attacks, and preventing the attacks. Because of this we often use Apache. The throughput is important for us. The locks and the reports are really important for us. Because of this, we install a Web Server with the ability to handle the reports and analysis.  

Depending on the situation and the scenario, we use different solutions. For example, with our switches, our choices depend on the access layers. In most scenarios, we have these four layers: access, distribution, aggregation, and core. If for the access layer we decide we are going to use Cisco. For the distribution layer, again we use Cisco, either the C9500 or C9300 depending on what we have planned to use it for. For the aggregation, we are going to use something from the Nexus line. The model depends on the throughput that is expected and the other choices we make. For the core, of course, again Cisco. But the model always depends on the throughput and the scenario in which we are going to use it. The C9600 is suitable for the more demanding scenarios.  

If we are going to do access with IUC (Cisco Unity Connection architecture), we are going to use a C9300 or if it is not so important for us to be so robust, we are going to use the 2960 Cisco Station. For distribution layers that use an IUC system or something that needs lots of features, we are going to use the C9500. But in some other cases, we will use the 3850 series for the distribution. For the aggregation, the throughput is calculated. We are going to use something from the Nexus series, but it depends on that throughput calculation. For the code layer, we are going to use Cisco again, but the model depends on the throughput and the scenario. If we want, we sometimes choose a different part number.  

Sometimes in the past, I had also used Huawei switches, but we mostly used them several years ago. In some situations where we calculate the throughput, it may not be suitable. For most of the projects in our country, we have limitations and regulations that control some of what we deploy. Because of that Cisco is a good solution for us. If you have limitations for providing equipment like shipping regulations or the other problems with export, we might be able to use the Huawei switches. It depends on the features, the regulations, and the throughput. They are good. I think they are very good. But now we mostly use Cisco even when we could also go with Huawei for a project.  

What is most valuable?

I think the speed and traffic handling are the most important things. It is also more secure to use Apache and will have fewer problems than other web services.  

What needs improvement?

The Apache Server and the Nginx load balancer are Linux based. This is good for our security. Windows has a lot of security issues. Maybe if we could find a good operator to configure it then it would be even more secure than the solution we use. But because of their support policies, for the intrusion and attacking defenses, cost, and throughput, we are going with the free scenarios, like Apache and Nginx. Maybe Windows is a good solution but we are not familiar with that. For a business that has other services related to Microsoft, it might be good sometimes if they used that. But we do not have other Microsoft services.  

Apache Server and the Nginx also do not require any licenses, and I think because of this that the support is not so good for us. It does not cost us money so this is a benefit for our budget. The product has a lot of experienced users and they share information. Because of this, it is possible for a company like us to find the information we need and we can use it. But the company does not have any support options in our country. We can find solutions on the websites or blogs or resources like that, but it would be nice so have a more formal support solution.  

As far as improvements, integration is important for us. So improving the possibilities and capabilities for integration is the first thing I would like to see. The other one is an improvement in implementation. The other one is improving the availability of support. I think also improving the GUI for the less experienced users. For some companies, it is hard to configure it if they have not had any experience. The setup is hard for them. For us it is not hard because we have experience with that, so we do not have any problem. But maybe changes to the GUI could be a benefit or become one of the advantages of this solution.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using some Apache servers for around three years. I have experience with them.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In my experience, Apache Web Server has been a good and stable solution. We do not have any problems with crashes or availability. If you stay upgraded with the current version of Apache and we do our job with maintenance, we don't have any problems. With the research for security and setup, we can make this more secure than the IAS (Integrated Access Systems). Because we use this roadmap, we have not had any crashes or any problems with the system. We just know to stay aware of releases and upgrades and take care of them when required.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In my experience, this is a scalable solution. We have 40 websites on it now and it would not be hard to do more.  

How are customer service and technical support?

We have not been in touch with Apache technical support directly as they do not really make it available in our country. When we need more information we go find it for ourselves on the website, blogs or internet search.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used other solutions for other reasons but we have only used Apache Web Server, the Nginx, Linux we are using, and the IAS (Integrated Access Systems). 

How was the initial setup?

If you have any experience with the initial setup of Apache Web Server, it is not a big deal. I think it is a good solution. I know we don't have any problems with doing the setup when we have to because we have years of experience.  

In the worst-case scenario, most people can do the basic setup in maybe one day. But for experienced people like us, it takes just a couple of hours. Even if you want to make sure about the services and the security issues and do some more complicated deployment and customization, maybe one day is enough for that.  

What about the implementation team?

For some of the deployments of the solution, I did it by myself. But it depends. For some of the deployment scenarios, I have a team that I use. We work together to get the bigger, more complicated installations done faster with several people.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Apache is free but it is not free because you don't run software without a device or services. I do not know exactly. Because of the licenses and because of the prices, most of the companies go with Apache. Because the cost is so important for the companies, and because it's a free solution, most companies around — more than 65% — go with that solution.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have experience with Apache and configuring web services. In our country, we are using Apache for our websites because I know how to secure it. I know how to configure it. We have regulations that apply to our website in our country. The mixed solution with  Apache and Nginx that we are using works in our country. The best solution for the web servers — for the security of access — are going to come based on a mixed solution which is what Apache and Nginx together provide.  

What other advice do I have?

Of course, I would recommend this service because we have had a good experience with it.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Apache Web Server as an eight.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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