Home Web Servers, Part 2: Software and Maintenance - Web Server Software
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This is another area with two basic choices, Apache and Internet Information Services, and once again, the choice will boil down to which type of scripting software you may want to run. If you want ASP or ASP.NET, youíll need to run IIS; however, if you want to run PHP, Perl, or Python, Apache is a better choice. On Windows, Apache generally requires more setup than IIS, but you do get more fine-grained control over the configuration settings. However, if you have a Windows OS, you probably already have IIS installed, and possibly running without your even knowing it. The configuration of IIS is generally easier, since it is controlled through Microsoft Management Console and is done graphically, rather than through editing a text file. As far as other features are concerned, most everything else you would want to do with a home Web server, either product will be fine. The most important deciding factor will really be which active scripting language you wish to run.
FTP software is important, because it is the primary means by which files will be uploaded to your server remotely to maintain websites. Most Linux distributions come with a built in FTP server of some sort. Each one has its different intricacies, but if youíre planning on running a Linux server, you will most likely be able to find manual pages for the one you plan on running; these will give you detailed configuration information.
Windows IIS comes with a built-in FTP server that uses the Windows user database and file permissions as its security settings. Often, this will be more than enough for a home server. If you plan to use IIS as your Web server, the IIS FTP server will probably be just fine. There are also several other FTP servers that are built for Windows and can take the place of the IIS FTP server. Often, these have their own user and file permissions databases, or can be linked to the Windows security and user databases. Some of these are worth the extra time and some arenít. You will have to make the determination yourself based on the relative merits of each server.
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