If you're from a Windows background, then chances are that you've never actually played around with Linux and Apache. Apache is the most popular web server software in the world, and in this article Nakul's going to teach us exactly what Apache is, where to download it from and how to install it. If you've never used Apache before then you should definetly have a read of this article: it will have you up and running in no time!
Another reason for Apache's widespread acceptance is its overall stability. The Apache Web server is near bomb proof. Apache is also relatively fast, depending on what you're doing with it. If you're hosting a web site with mostly static content, then Apacheis a real fireball. If you throw tons of CGI scripts at it with each script making database calls synchronously, then you're going to slow it down, just like any other web server. Much of this slowdown will come from the scripts themselves and not Apache however.
Apache is available for download from http://www.apache.org. While you're downloading the Apache package that's appropriate for your Operating System, be sure to grab the documentation as well.
If you're a Linux user, then there's a pretty good chance that Apache has already been pre-installed on your machine. With the exception of desktop-centric Linux distributions such as Caldera, it's uncommon that you won't have the Apache server installed. If you see an option for "Web services" during an installation of Linux, then make sure you select it so that Apache will be installed.
If you're new to the Unix/Linux/BSD world, then you should be aware that there are two types of installation packages available to you: source and binary. If you're new to the Unix world then download a binary distribution first. A binary is the fully compiled version of an application thatís ready to be installed on your system, much like software that comes with a setup program for Windows.
A source package is exactly what it sounds like: it's the source code to the application. This means you have to compile the source code into an executable program before you can use it. It's not uncommon to mess up while trying to compile a source package as an application, and if you ask any Linux guru they'll be able to tell you their experience with source packages when they were just starting out. For me, it wasn't good.
If you're fortunate then you'll find your errors immediately when compiling a source package. If you're unlucky, then it could be hours, days or even weeks before you find out where the errors lie, and once you've fixed those errors then you have to spend time recompiling the source package again to fix your mistakes. Do yourself a favor when first learning Apache: find and download the binary package first.