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Apache Web Server Powers Forward with TLS 1.3

Thursday Nov 1st 2018 by Sean Michael Kerner

Apache is still the most used web server for active sites on the internet, though rival nginx is narrowing the gap.

Over its long history, the Apache HTTP Server Project (commonly referred to as just Apache) has dominated the web server market, and even now in 2018 it continues to hold the top spot according to a number of different measures.

The most recent release of Apache is version 2.4.37, which became generally available on Oct. 23, providing a series of updates that will likely help the open source project continue to hold its top spot.Apache HTTPD

"The Apache HTTP Server 2.4.37 represents a continuing marvel of a journey through Open Source history," Daniel Gruno, Vice President of Apache HTTP Server, wrote in a statement.

"More than four thousand people have contributed directly to the project during its lifetime, and one dare say many more will contribute, as we continue a steady pace at the very forefront of Web server software engineering," Gruno continued.

New Features in Apache 2.4.37

Among the new features that have landed in Apache HTTP Server 2.4.37 is full support for the Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3 specification. TLS 1.3 is the latest evolution of the SSL/TLS specification that encrypts data in motion across the internet. TLS 1.3 was approved as a formal IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) standard in March.

Additional enhancements in the 2.4.37 update provide improved speed and upgraded efficiency for the web server.

"Keeping pace with the major browsers and servers, this release is another step in our collective journey to a more secure Internet," Daniel Ruggeri, Apache HTTP Server committer and v2.4.37 Release Manager, wrote in a statement. "We are in an exciting time in the Web technology space, and are proud to keep a great server on top of its game."

In the past, Apache had maintained multiple branches of the web server, but that's no longer the case in 2018. The Apache 2.2.x series hit its end of life stage in 2017 and is no longer actively maintained.

Apache Usage vs. nginx

In recent years, Apache has come under increasing competitive pressure from rivals, most notably the nginx web server.

According to Netcraft's October 2018 Web Server Survey, Apache still holds the lead in terms of active sites on the internet with 57.6 million active sites, down from 70.8 million sites in September. In contrast, Nginx powered 42.2 million active sites in October, up from 39.9 million in September.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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