Difference Between IIS and Apache (With Table)

Since its introduction, Internet has always been the backbone of most technologies. While there are uncountable ways of using the internet, web servers are one of the most common and productive techniques. Although there are many web servers available for various operating systems (OS), IIS and Apache are two web servers worth comparing.

IIS vs Apache

The difference between IIS and Apache is that the IIS web server is compatible with Windows operating system only as IIS and Windows are both designed by Microsoft. On the other hand, the Apache webserver is compatible with almost all the operating systems out there.

IIS stands for Internet Information Services. IIS is a web server developed by Microsoft specifically for its own Windows operating system. IIS was initially released in 1995 for Windows NT. As of 2021, there are 14 versions of IIS.

Apache is technically known as Apache HTTP Server. Apache is a web server developed by Apache Software Foundation. The maximum instances of Apache run on Linux operating system but it is available for other operating systems as well. As of 2021, there are 4 versions of Apache.

Comparison Table Between IIS and Apache

Parameters of ComparisonIISApache
DeveloperMicrosoftApache Software Foundation
CompatibilityCompatible with Windows OS only.Compatible with almost every OS.
OperationsIt is easy to learn and use. Its ease of operations depends on the OS.
SecurityProne to security risks.No security risks.
User SupportIt offers corporate Support.It offers community support.

What is IIS?

IIS stands for Internet Information Services. IIS is a web server developed by Microsoft specifically for its own Windows operating system. IIS was initially released in 1995 for Windows NT. As of 2021, there are 14 versions of IIS. However, the stable version of IIS was released in 2018.

Since IIS web servers are compatible with only Windows OS, they are evidently more optimized than other web servers. This is because, with every upgrade to Windows through software updates, Microsoft also upgrades IIS to newer versions. IIS’s simple learning and ease to use is an advantage for non-technical users. IIS can work through varying languages and protocols.

One area where IIS is disadvantageous is the lack of security measures to protect the web servers. IIS servers frequently get infected with malware and viruses thus infecting the whole website. This vulnerability in IIS can sometimes allow hackers to execute an exploit and take control of the whole server.

Microsoft shines when it comes to providing customer support for IIS users. Microsoft offers corporate support which means that it has a whole staff dedicated to user support services. As of now, IIS is the second most popular web server after Apache.

What is Apache

Apache is technically known as Apache HTTP Server. Apache is a web server developed by Apache Software Foundation. It was initially released in 1995. The web server is maintained by the company’s community of developers. As of 2021, there are 4 major versions of Apache. However, the stable release of Apache was released in 2021.

Apache is known for its versatile compatibility. Although maximum instances of Apache webserver run on Linux operating system, it is also available for almost all other operating systems including Windows, Mac OX, and OpenVMS, etc. Apache has played a key role in the rising growth of web servers. Apache became the first to cross a whopping 100 million websites on its server.

Since Apache is an open-source server, the codes can be modified and new protocols can be created. If any of the codes is modified incorrectly, it may cause some serious security vulnerabilities. Additionally, if there are errors in new protocols, a debugger is also needed to remove such errors. Hence, Apache should be used with deep knowledge.

Unlike IIS, Apache doesn’t have a dedicated staff for customer support services. Instead, it relies on community-based user support which includes developers from the parent company itself. Although it is not subpar with IIS, the user support is well acceptable.

Main Differences Between IIS and Apache

  1. IIS has a higher latency than Apache in almost all conditions, which means that Apache is faster than IIS.
  2. IIS is compatible with Windows operating system only whereas Apache is compatible with almost all operating systems,
  3. IIS is much easier to learn and use as most people use Microsoft’s Windows operating system whereas Apache’s approach varies with every operating system.
  4. IIS has security risks as IIS servers easily get infected with malware and viruses. On the other hand, Apache is secure.
  5. IIS offers corporate support whereas Apache offers support from the community itself.

Conclusion

IIS and Apache dominate their field and are undoubtedly the most famous web servers.

IIS is highly optimized for Windows and as the majority of people use Windows operating system only, IIS comes free when a user buys a particular Microsoft Windows. Since it is easy to use and learn, it is recommended for people who are new to this field, or belong to a non-technical field and need web servers to serve basic purposes only. However, since IIS has various security risks associated with it, it is mostly never preferred for professional purposes as data security is a key priority.

On the other hand, Apache is an open-source server so it allows more freedom for code modifications and new protocols. On top of that, its versatile compatibility is widely appreciated. Apache is always preferred by large firms as the data is always secure. For the rare possibility of vulnerabilities, firms always have debuggers, cyber security engineers, and all other technical professionals.

While both IIS and Apache serve the same core purpose, they vary in many regions that can be a deciding factor while picking either one of them. While Apache is mostly better than IIS, it is still not recommended for everyone. The IIS’s ease-to-use is a preference for some people while Apache’s versatility is exceptional.

References

  1. http://img.prodek.lt/documents/IIS_Smooth_Streaming_Technical_Overview.pdf
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/612229/

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