Simon Willison’s Weblog

11 items tagged “webservers”

How can I learn more about server-side technologies?

Get yourself a VPS, set it up from scratch and run some non-critical websites on it (nothing with private user data since you can’t be sure you’ll set it up securely). Both Slicehost and Linode offer a good set of guides to a whole host of common tasks:

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I would like to setup a web-server which will be used solely by myself. What would be the safest way to do so in terms of confidentiality of the contents?

I haven’t configured them myself, but it might be worth looking in to client SSL certificates for this. That way your server won’t communicate with any browser that hasn’t installed a certificate which you generate. I believe the BBC used to use this for a lot of their important servers which they wanted to be accessible only by their own developers from across the internet (I don’t know if they still do).

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What is the difference between a web server and a web framework?

A “web framework” offers a set of APIs for writing your own custom code in such a way that it can be called via the Web. Usually a framework will deal with common details such as HTTP header parsing, URL routing and so forth.

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What server do I need to handle 1000+ users simultaneously while they can post messages, upload pictures, and other similar stuff on a website based on PHP and mySQL?

You don’t need to handle 1,000 users simultaneously: you need to build something and ship it and start the process of discovering what you can build that will attract that many users. Seriously: don’t even start worrying about that kind of scale until you know you’re going to need it.

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Which web server suits Django best? Apache, Nginx or something else?

I’m still a big fan of a stripped down Apache+mod_wsgi running behind nginx.

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How can I determine which web server a particular website is using (Apache, IIS, Nginx, etc)?

If you’re on Linux or OS X, use curl with the -I option (to make a HEAD request and see the HTTP headers):

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What are the advantages of running Apache behind nginx as opposed to just Apache by itself?

I do this for all of my Django stuff—I have Django running on modwsgi on a stripped down Apache (almost no configuration except for the modwsgi stuff), then I put an nginx on port 80 which serves the static files directly and proxies dynamic requests back to Apache.

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What is the largest production deployment of Server Side JavaScript?

I believe Flickr used to use Rhino for scripting the image processing (resizing, thumbnailing, sharpening) that was applied to every single uploaded photo. No idea if that’s still the case though.

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What is the best way to learn about setting up server software for Python based web apps?

I’m a big fan of Fabric for automated deployment scripts. Start by reading this tutorial:

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Opera Unite. Opera’s big announcement: a developer preview (“labs release”) of their new web-server-in-your-browser feature, Unite. Includes an Opera-hosted proxy to help break through your firewall. The web server can be customised using server-side JavaScript running in an Opera Widget. # 16th June 2009, 11 am

FAPWS3-0.2 (WSGI server based on libev). Another strong contender for Python’s answer to Mongrel—3500 requests/s for static files, 43 for a simple dynamic (Django powered) pages and 4.8 for a heavy SQL query—all benchmarked with 300 concurrent requests. # 25th February 2009, 10:21 pm