Apache vs IIS – What’s the Difference between Web Servers ?

Apache vs IIS – What’s the Difference between Web Servers ? (Pros and Cons). When talking about the internet, web servers are an important part of the discussion. They are computers that run websites and display the content of a website by receiving, storing, processing and delivering web pages to users.

In the tech world, web servers are increasing daily as technology advances. The most common ones, however, are Apache and IIS. This article will guide you about the differences between both servers and their pros and cons.

Shall we start on Apache vs IIS – What’s the Difference between Web Servers ? (Pros and Cons).

What is Apache?

First and foremost Apache is a free and open-source web server software that helps users upload their websites on the internet. Considered one of the oldest web servers around. It’s first version was released in 1995. In addition it is the most widely used web server running on 67% of all websites in the world.

Features of Apache

Multiprotocol Support

With Apache there is infrastructure that supports serving multiple protocols. A good example is mod_echo.

IPv6 Support

On systems where Apache Portable Runtime Library supports IPv6, the Apache httpd uses IPv6 listening sockets by default.

Multilanguage Error Responses

Error response messages to the browser are provided in multiple languages.

Unix Threading

Additionally Apache httpd runs in hybrid multithreaded, multiprocessing modes, which improves scalability for various configurations.

Apache has even more features. Only some of them are:

Pros of Apache


The developers of the Apache web server have maintained the code base of the server, and it is still the basis for other projects developed by the Apache foundation. Consequently, this has retained the reputation and specialty of Apache among other web servers.


The web server doesn’t include usage fees or licensing. This makes it very cost effective.


For instance you can use Apache in any project that involves starting up a website for example a WordPress. Even more it also include REST Endpoint and Honeypot.

Programming flexibility

Due to its open source feature, Apache is flexible when it comes to programming. For example it has a wider range of options when it comes to codes you can use.

Enhanced Security

Moreover Apache was developed for non Microsoft operating systems, and most malware as well as viruses have been designed to break through Windows OS. For this reason, Apache has remained a stronger and more secure web server than IIS.


Given that Apache has a solid website that has features that you can trust to parse your websites quickly and effectively. 

Cons of Apache

Updating configurations

The configuration, i.e., settings and features that come with Apache, need further optimization/update. Not advisable to use the defaults directly. Nevertheless, it can be strenuous to ensure the constant optimization of the configuration.


The security option and advanced configuration can be quite complex to set up. Thus, additional expertise may be required when using some aspects of Apache.


Changes are constant. You may have to always be on the lookout for when a better approach or a better tool is available, and falling behind puts you at a disadvantage.

Next in the article blog Apache vs IIS – What’s the Difference is to introduce IIS.

What is IIS?

Second tool the IIS stands for Internet Information Services. In detail it is a web server software developed by Microsoft to operate on Windows OS. Considered second most popular web server, after Apache.

Just like other web servers, it hosts and provides internet based services. However, it is a windows server based web application and hardly functions well on other operating systems (OS) like LINUX and iOS.

Features of IIS

Application Pools

This is a critical component of the IIS server. In a single application pool, you can find various IIS worker processes, which are in charge of ensuring the functionality of application instances.


Some of IIS’ security features include log requests, ability to filter requests, HTTPS and SFTP binding, TLS certificate management utilities, and authorization and permission rules.


You can use IIS to host web applications and static websites in platforms like ASP.NET and PHP. You can also use it as an FTP server.


IIS has built-in authentication options such as Basic, Windows auth, and ASP.NET. 

Remote Management

You can manage IIS via PowerShell or command-line interface (CLI). You can also script everything if that’s what you prefer.

More IIS features include:

  •  Primarily IIS is used to host ASP.NET web applications and static websites.
  • Can be used as an FTP server.
  • Authentication protocols built in, such as Windows authentication- ideal for Windows Active Directory environment.
  • Security features such as TLS certificate management and SFTP enabled.
  • Whitelisting or blacklisting traffic.

Pros of IIS

Log Review

Significantly IIS allows you to review logs that are generated when using the web server. proves to be very useful for troubleshooting various problems that may exist in applications and websites.

Easy Changes

Secondly IIS works well with certain applications that will help you to easily make changes to your website or application or deploy a new website or application when needed. Examples of those applications are Azure DevOps Server and Microsoft Visual studio.

User Friendly

In essence IIS reviews have proven easy to use and configure, and it will require minimal effort on your side to maintain.

Media pack modules

Still the IIS server comes with the media park module that enables audio and video content streaming on your website.

In-depth tools

Subsequently it offers in depth diagnostic tools that run through your website or application to detect problems. Examples of the tools are: failed request tracing, request monitoring data and runtime data.

Cons of IIS

Difficulty Running Node Apps

Angular/Node js apps are difficult to run on an IIS server, and sometimes, they don’t run at all.

Limitations to Windows OS

Thus IIS server works best on the windows operating system and in a windows environment. Performance rate reduces greatly when you use it on an operating system that is different from its developer’s (i.e., Microsoft’s Windows).

Limitation to Microsoft Technical Support

If you choose to use IIS, your only support system would be Microsoft and you will be limited to the Microsoft environment. The support may also take long to understand and resolve the issue you’re complaining about.

Limitations to certain programming languages

The only programming language available on IIS is C++, although newer versions may allow you to use programming languages from the .NET framework.

High cost

The price of the IIS windows web server is quite high and expensive.

Next with Apache vs IIS is to learn about their differences. Read on!

Differences between Apache and IIS



The Apache web server can run on almost any operating system, including Linux, iOS, UNIX, etc. This feature has made it popular among web servers.


On the other hand IIS web server only works with the Windows operating system since the same company developed it. The chances of the IIS web server working stably with another operating system are very low.

Web Server Support


Undeniably Apache web server belongs to the open source community and they serve as the support platform for users that may have questions about using the web server. Also free and does not require any payment.


Here the IIS has a dedicated staff to answer questions that users may have. Although it may look free, the IIS web server, which depends on Windows OS, requires the user to purchase Windows, so it is not free.



Performance with Apache is very good to its users but if you want to optimize the server, it is essential you carry out performance tuning. Furthermore, the web server comes with many features, some of which you may not need. Therefore, eliminating some of them will improve speed and enhance the overall performance.


Whereas IIS is strongly integrated with Microsoft’s .NET framework and Windows OS. For better performance, the server’s recent updates come with improved gzip compression and enhancements like Idle worker Process page out. Like Apache, IIS has lots of features but this makes available a wide range of modules for enterprise level deployments.



The commercial grade server of Apache does not require any license from its developer (The Apache Software Foundation) to run commercially or host a website.


Contrarily IIS web server is not an open-source web server, which means it is not a commercial grade server. So it requires a license from Microsoft to run commercially.



Security of Apache has stronger web security and is less susceptible to malware and viruses. This makes it a better option if you are looking to reduce the risk to your website in the future.


Remember IIS works only on Windows, and Windows OS accommodates a lot of viruses, malware, and trojans. This can easily pose a threat to your website in the future. 



Being an open source network, Apache naturally can host a lot of websites at the same time.


Although it can act as a web server for as many sites, its capacity is limited by its dependence on Windows OS, as any operations to be done with it must also be Windows compatible.



Lastly Apache is an open source server, so users can edit the base code to tweak the performance, and this contributes to the development of the program. However, it is advisable to only do this if you are a pro, as inputting the wrong code can leave the server vulnerable to malware.


This is a closed software product supported by Microsoft. As a result, development is not as open and quick as it is for Apache. It is closed and proprietary. Although support from Microsoft is enough to secure and develop the server, the benefit of community development is not included. 

Thank you for reading Apache vs IIS – What’s the Difference between Web Servers ? Let’s conclude.

Apache vs IIS - What's the Difference between Web Servers ? Conclusion

Apache and IIS web servers

Summing up Apache and IIS are both competent, fast and reliable web servers in their specialized areas. What will work for your project depends on your needs and available resources. You should also put your end product into consideration.

Both Apache and IIS have their pros and cons, as listed above, so you should tailor your final choice to your necessary needs. If you only have a Windows operating system and considerable funding available, your best choice is IIS. 

However, if you wish to launch a website or application without being limited to certain programming languages, operating systems, or available technical support, Apache is a better choice.

Take a look at our Apache content here

Avatar for Kamso Oguejiofor
Kamso Oguejiofor

Kamso is a mechanical engineer and writer with a strong interest in anything related to technology. He has over 2 years of experience writing on topics like cyber security, network security, and information security. When he’s not studying or writing, he likes to play basketball, work out, and binge watch anime and drama series.

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