Professional Software Consulting
Apache and MySQL

Apache's HTTP server is the most widely used web server on the internet today. Whether serving up static pages or using a scripting language like PHP, it is known for its rock solid reliability and its portability: versions are available for practically every operating system in the world.

Issues requiring expertise in Apache's HTTP server include SSL certificate setup, used to encrypt internet traffic between a browser and your website. This is important if your site does e-commerce or requires a login and password. Without it, information like credit card information and passwords are passed unencrypted across the internet, where they can be seen and possibly copied by hackers. These certificates typically cost money. While you can make one for free, these are considered "temporary" certificates and browsers generally show a window informing their user that your site is not verified and may be dangerous. And in Firefox 3, these "self-signed" certificates won't display at all, unless the user goes through a cumbersome process of adding a security exception to their browser. Not what you want your customers to see!

Apache's HTTP server can also be used to set up virtual hosts - meaning, a single server can provide service for multiple domains. This is useful if you want to support multiple subdomains. For example, you may want your domain, to have a main landing page called, and also one for your blog called With virtual hosting, one server can provide entirely separate space for both of these, so co-mingling of code and data is not an issue.

MySQL is one of the most popular open source database in the world today. While Sun Microsystems now owns MySQL, its roots as an open source database engine run deep. The community edition is still free and has the latest code fixes if you want to build from the latest sources, but they also offer an enterprise edition. The main benefits to this are that you get a hotline to their customer support, as well as pre-made binaries that are certified for the operating system on which you're installing the software.

There are several reasons to use MySQL. Obviously, there's the cost, but because it has such a vast user base, it has been put through many trials by fire and is the more stable because of it. It also has extensive documentation, and because of its popularity, it is rare to find a programming language or application framework that can't use it. Because there are several types of database formats used under the hood, it can be optimized for short, speedy access queries, larger data-warehousing style applications, or secure transactional based data transfers.

The combination of Apache, PHP, and MySQL is a robust and stable platform on which any web applciation can be built.

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