10 Popular Linux Web Servers: Open Source Web Servers for High Performance

10 Popular Linux Web Servers: Open Source Web Servers for High Performance

Are you seeking a robust, versatile open-source web server for your next Linux-based project? This guide diving into various reliable and 10 popular open-source web servers.

From the popular NGINX Apache HTTP Web Server to the high-performance H2O Web Server, an open-source web server is waiting to power your latest project. No matter your scale or ambitions, Linux web servers provide capable and efficient options for your tech stack. Get a rundown of the open-source web servers featured in the article.

Key Takeaways

  • An overview of popular open-source Linux web servers, such as Nginx, Apache HTTP Server, Lighttpd, OpenLiteSpeed, and H2O.
  • Insight into Java-based web servers like Apache Tomcat, Eclipse Jetty, and Node.js Webserver.
  • Information about user-friendly web servers, such as Caddy Webserver and Cherokee Web Server.
  • Factors to consider when choosing a web server, including performance, security, scalability, and project requirements.
  • Understanding the role of a Linux web server and why it is a preferred choice.

10 Popular Open Source Web Servers for Linux

Open-source web servers offer many options, each catering to specific needs and technologies. This section will discuss the most popular open-source web servers for Linux, highlighting their unique features and main benefits.

1. Nginx Web server

Nginx open-source web server known for high performance

The Nginx web server is renowned for its high performance and stability. It functions as a web server, reverse proxy, and load balancer, making it a versatile option for various use cases. Nginx is highly efficient in handling many concurrent connections, making it suitable for high-traffic websites and applications.

Unique features of NGINX:

  • Works as a mail proxy server.
  • Has a binary upgrade option for live server changes.
  • Supports WebSocket, allowing real-time data streaming.
  • Offers HTTP/HTTPS/2 support.

2. Apache HTTP Server

Apache HTTP server, a popular Linux web server

The Apache HTTP Server is the most popular web server software currently used, known for its flexibility and extensibility. It has a strong presence in the web server market, powering many websites worldwide. With a large community of developers and extensive documentation, Apache HTTP Server is an excellent choice for many web applications.

Features of Apache:

  • Install apache web server for a range of authentication modules.
  • Offers IP address-based geolocation.
  • URL rewriting for advanced redirect rules.
  • Compatible with common scripting languages.

3. Lighttpd Webserver

Lighttpd web server for efficient Linux web hosting

Lighttpd web server is a lightweight solution optimized for speed-critical environments. With a small memory footprint and low resource usage, it is ideal for applications where performance is crucial. Its modular architecture and support for FastCGI, SCGI, and CGI make it a flexible option for serving dynamic content.

Lighttpd features:

  • Allows secure downloads with SSI and CGI.
  • Uses the Event MPM model for more effective requests.
  • Compliant with IPv6.
  • Supports FLAC and MP3 streaming.

4. OpenLiteSpeed

OpenLiteSpeed server offering high-performance Linux web services

OpenLiteSpeed web server is a high-performance, lightweight web server with built-in caching capabilities. The web server is designed to handle thousands of concurrent connections with minimal resource usage, making it an excellent choice for busy websites.

OpenLiteSpeed offers a user-friendly web administration interface, simplifying server management tasks.

Unique features:

  • Offers anti-DDoS features for better security.
  • Supports Ruby, Python, and Node.js applications.
  • Has GZIP compression for faster data transfer.
  • Built-in page speed optimization module.

5. H2O Web Server

H2O web server designed for maximum Linux server performance

H2O Web Server is a modern, optimized web server supporting cutting-edge technologies such as HTTP/2 and QUIC. It is designed to provide low latency and high throughput, making it an attractive option for performance-sensitive applications. H2O offers features like server push and connection coalescing, enabling efficient content delivery.

Features include:

  • Built-in support for MRuby to extend the server.
  • Proxy buffering to improve back-end performance.
  • Offers access log sampling.
  • Supports global rate throttling.

Java-Based Web Servers for Linux: Features and Advantages

For web developers working with Java technologies, choosing a Java-based Linux servers are essential to ensure seamless integration and optimal performance. Popular and efficient options are the Apache Tomcat Web Server, Nodejs web server, and the Eclipse Jetty Webserver.

6. Apache Tomcat Web Server

Apache Tomcat server for Java-based Linux web applications

Apache Tomcat is a widely-used Java-based web server and servlet container focusing on delivering efficient Java application performance. It supports Java Server Web Pages (JSP) and Java Servlet technologies, enabling developers to create dynamic web applications using the Java programming language.

One of the significant advantages of Apache Tomcat is its support for the Java Expression Language (EL), which simplifies the process of binding application data to web page components. This makes it easier for developers to create feature-rich web applications with minimal coding effort.

Additionally, Apache Tomcat provides extensive documentation and a large, active community of developers, making it an excellent choice for Java developers seeking assistance and resources.

Features include:

  • Offers JMX-based management and monitoring.
  • Supports WebSocket for real-time data.
  • Implements special tags in JSP to simplify development.
  • Offers built-in protection against CSRF and session fixation.

7. Eclipse Jetty Web Server

Eclipse Jetty web server for hosting Java applications on Linux

Jetty is another popular Java-based web server and servlet container known for its focus on performance and scalability. Like Apache Tomcat, it supports JSP and Java Servlet technologies, allowing developers to build dynamic web applications using Java.

One of the key features of Eclipse Jetty is its modular architecture, which allows developers to enable only the necessary components, reducing the server's footprint and improving performance. Jetty's support for non-blocking I/O operations increases its efficiency in handling simultaneous connections, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic applications. Eclipse Jetty also offers integrations with various Java frameworks and libraries, such as Spring and OSGi, providing developers additional flexibility and functionality for their applications.

Key features:

  • Extensible using Jetty modules.
  • Supports OSGi and Asynchronous I/O.
  • Built with NIO.2 implementation for best performance.
  • Supports SPDY and WebSocket protocols.

8. Node.js Web server

Node.js server for JavaScript application hosting on Linux

Node.js is a server-side runtime environment used for building web applications in Javascript. It is bundled with an HTTP module to extend its functionality as a web server. Node.js was initially written in 2009 by Ryan Dahl and currently powers 1.2% of all websites.

Node.js implements an event-driven architecture capable of asynchronous I/O. It optimizes throughput and scalability, and you can effectively implement real-time communication in web applications.

A key difference between Node.js and other web servers is that it is part of a web development stack of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. The Node.js Foundation governs the Node.js project and is available under a mix of licenses.

Notable features:

  • Includes unified API for pure JavaScript development.
  • Offers automatic garbage collection.
  • Supports all ECMAScript 5 edition features.
  • Built-in debug and test tools.

User-Friendly and Innovative Web Servers

Regarding user-friendly and innovative open-source web servers for Linux, two standout options are Caddy Webserver and Cherokee Web Server. These web servers have unique capabilities and are known for their ease of use, making them excellent choices for those new to web server management.

9. Caddy Web server

Caddy web server known for user-friendly Linux server management

Caddy Web server is renowned for its simplicity and ease of use. One of its most notable features is the automatic SSL/TLS configuration, ensuring your website is always secure. This means you don't need to worry about manually obtaining and renewing certificates, as Caddy takes care of these tasks.

Another appealing aspect of Caddy is its support for virtual hosting. This allows you to host multiple websites on a single server, making it an efficient and cost-effective solution for web hosting. Caddy also includes a built-in reverse proxy and load balancer, providing additional functionality and flexibility.

Key features:

  • Supports QUIC protocol for speedy data transfer.
  • Built with go, making it fast and efficient.
  • Displays server logs in real-time.
  • Automatic integration with Let's Encrypt.

10. Cherokee Web Server

Cherokee web server for intuitive Linux web hosting

Cherokee Web Server is another user-friendly option, boasting a web-based configuration interface that simplifies setting up and managing your server. This intuitive interface lets you easily configure server settings, monitor performance, and manage security features without diving into complex configuration files.

Cherokee also includes built-in support for SSL/TLS, ensuring that your site remains secure. In addition, it offers virtual hosting capabilities, making it possible to host multiple websites on a single server.


  • Supports video streaming.
  • Enhanced security with chrooted environments.
  • Simple server health analytics.
  • Supports XHTML, FastCGI, and SCGI.

Choosing the Right Web Server for Your Linux Project

Selecting the most suitable open-source web server for your Linux-based project is crucial. It can directly impact your website's performance, security, and scalability. To make the right choice, you should consider factors such as the server's ability to handle dynamic content, the programming language used, and the specific requirements of your web pages and applications.

1. Performance

Performance is a key aspect to consider when choosing a web server. Some options, like Nginx and H2O Web Server, are known for their high-performance capabilities, making them ideal for handling heavy traffic and delivering content quickly.

On the other hand, lightweight servers like Lighttpd and OpenLiteSpeed Webserver are optimized for speed-critical environments and can offer better performance in cases where available resources are limited.

2. Security

A secure web server is essential for protecting your website and user data. Servers like Caddy Webserver offer automatic HTTPS, ensuring fast connections between clients and the server. Additionally, it is crucial to select a server that receives regular updates and patches to address potential security vulnerabilities.

3. Scalability

As your web pages and applications grow, choosing a server that can scale with your needs is important. Servers like Nginx and Apache HTTP Web Server are widely recognized for their ability to handle increasing traffic loads and can be easily integrated with other tools to manage load balancing and reverse proxy functionality.

4. Specific Project Requirements

Depending on your project's unique needs, you may require a server that supports a particular programming language or technology. For instance, if your project involves Java-based web applications, servers like Apache Tomcat Web Server and Eclipse Jetty Webserver are ideal, as they are designed to work with Java technologies.


1. What is a Linux web server?

A Linux web server is a system that serves web content and pages to users over the internet. The server processes the requests made by the users, fetches the requested web content, and sends it back to the user's IP address.

2. Can Linux run a web server, and which ones are available?

Yes, Linux can run a web server. Some popular web servers available for Linux include Apache HTTP Server, Nginx Webserver, Lighttpd Webserver, OpenLiteSpeed Web server, and H2O Web Server. Each server has its distinct features catered to different needs.

3. Why is Linux used for web servers?

Linux is popular for web servers because it's secure, reliable, and open-source. Apache Web Server, powered by the Apache Software Foundation, is a prime example of a popular web server that runs on Linux. It can handle modules like Mod SSL for secure connections and Mod File Cache for caching, making it highly versatile.

4. How user-friendly is setting up a Linux web server?

Linux web servers are known for their advanced functionality, not always for user-friendliness. However, some web servers like Caddy Webserver and Cherokee Web Server focus on being user-friendly. They have intuitive interfaces which streamline the process of server setup and management.

5. How to install Apache on Linux?

Installing Apache on Linux, especially popular distributions like Red Hat involves using package management tools available within the Linux distribution. You can use the command-line instructions specific to your Linux version.

6. Does the programming language matter when choosing a Linux web server?

Yes, the choice of a web server can depend on the programming language used for the web application. For example, Apache Tomcat and Eclipse Jetty are designed for Java applications, supporting Java Server Pages (JSP) and Java Expression Language.

7. Is Apache Web Server a popular choice for Linux web servers?

The Apache HTTP Server, developed and maintained by the Apache Software Foundation, is a widely used web server. It's known for its flexibility and wide range of supported modules. It's suitable for different web technologies, making it a popular choice for many developers.


In conclusion, the most suitable open-source Linux web server depends on various factors such as performance, security, scalability, and specific requirements. By carefully evaluating the options available, such as Apache HTTP Web Server, Nginx Webserver, and Lighttpd Webserver, you can select the best server for your needs and ensure a successful and secure deployment of your web pages and applications.

Get more control and manage your Linux web servers seamlessly with CloudPanel. With CloudPanel's intuitive interface, you can easily manage and monitor your Linus-based projects, streamline deployment, and optimize performance. Get started today.

Nikita S.
Nikita S.
Technical Writer

As a lead technical writer, Nikita S. is experienced in crafting well-researched articles that simplify complex information and promote technical communication. She is enthusiastic about cloud computing and holds a specialization in SEO and digital marketing.

Deploy CloudPanel For Free! Get Started For Free!