An update to the widely-used Apache Web server was released last week, offering several feature improvements and fixes from the previous versions.
Among the many new modules, programs and feature improvements in Apache 2.2 are new tools for cleaning up a Web server's cache and support for large files (up to 2GB, i.e. large database images). Security, configuration, management, filtering and database support tweaks have also been made to the software.
The new "htcacheclean" program has been added to automatically keep the size of a Web server cache within a certain pre-determined limit. It runs in the background as a daemon, or it can be triggered manually. The new Smart Filtering feature allows users to have filters configured dynamically which allows administrators to run content through different types of filters based on the context of the traffic. In the past, filtering options were more rigid, as content was run through a chain of filters, according to Apache programmers.
Improved database support comes with the "mod_dbd module," which allows Apache Web servers to better handle SQL database connections. This is done by creating a pool of database connections, allowing for quicker responses and less timing out of connections.
Apache's ubiquity is well known; Web analysis firm Netcraft says the open source platform is now up to almost 70% in terms of the number of Web servers on the Internet. What may not be well known is that Apache is less of a force in corporate Web serving, where Microsoft has a strong presence. However, 70% of Web servers - whether we're talking about someone's basement Web server, or a large corporate server farm - is nothing to sneeze at.