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What is Apache? Apache is the most widely-used web server software in the world. It’s a type of software that helps make websites appear on your web browser. Apache is an open-source software created by the Apache HTTP Server Project that helps users access websites, including WordPress sites. Apache is used by at least 47.8 percent of the world’s websites, according to W3Techs.
A web server is a piece of hardware that stores both websites and what’s known as web server software. When a visitor tries to access your website, their browser sends a request to the web server in a format called HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol), which is a fancy way of describing how website data travels from one place to another.
When the HTTP request reaches the right server, the web server software — such as Apache — responds. Apache retrieves the requested website information and sends it to the browser.
Many WordPress users choose to host their sites with WordPress.com, or opt for website hosting with companies like BlueHost or Pressable. Regardless of where it’s hosted, your website uses a web server software technology for communication between browsers and servers. This may or may not be Apache, since WordPress is compatible with different web server software options.
Why does Apache matter? Well, it’s free. Plus, Apache’s open-source focus attracts a vibrant community of talented developers around the world. The result is a product that’s always improving and can be highly customized with blocks of code called modules.
While there’s value in answering the question “What is Apache?”, you most likely don’t need to know how to use it. For most WordPress users, configuring and maintaining Apache or other web server software is a responsibility handled by their host.
WordPress.com users don’t need to think about hosting, web servers, or anything like that. However, some self-hosted WordPress users with expertise in back-end development choose to configure and customize Apache with programming languages.
If you’re having trouble with your WordPress.com website, you probably aren’t suffering from Apache Web Server woes. Your theme, custom CSS, or browser are far more likely to be the source of issues you may be experiencing. Here’s how to troubleshoot with the expertise of a WordPress.com detective, and how to navigate the public support forums. When you’re on one of WordPress.com’s paid plans, you’ll also have access to expert support from Happiness Engineers.
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