Now I understand that Microsoft has a competing technology in the web server field with the Internet Information Services, so not every last web server is done with Linux, but how did Linux web servers become so ingrained in the web server sphere? Does the fact that it is an open source solution have anything to do with it?

  • 5
    I'd like to say "it's the better solution", but like all answers to this, this will be opinion based...
    – dirkt
    Sep 23, 2020 at 6:54
  • 3
    I don't really see how this is on topic. I mean, IIS and Linux is software that's originally from the 90s, but it seems tenuous. Perhaps the question could be rewritten so it's more clearly about what happened in the historical battle between LAMP and WAMP in the 90s?
    – tobiasvl
    Sep 23, 2020 at 7:28
  • most of the internet is from the 90's
    – Neil Meyer
    Sep 23, 2020 at 7:34
  • I would be very sad if this answer gets closed as it already has some really interesting insights.
    – Neil Meyer
    Sep 23, 2020 at 9:10
  • @NeilMeyer there isn't more than the obvious ones: *nix had a head start anyway, Linux saves on licence cost (relevant for startups and farms) plus Linux can be quite tailored for lager installations (were gain of low level optimization outwights cost of doing so).
    – Raffzahn
    Sep 23, 2020 at 10:26

3 Answers 3


Unless someone can come up with some actual market research from the 1990s ("we've asked n companies which web servers they chose, and why"), this will be opinion based, but:

I'd venture that (a) Unices had a head start as internet servers, and that (b) Linux was the cheapest good-enough platform.

Regarding (a), there were many internet services (mail, Usenet news, FTP, Gopher) that predated the web. Their servers mostly ran on Unix or VMS machines, and VMS' star was fading by the early 90s. For what it's worth, the first webserver, CERN httpd, first ran under NeXTStep, a BSD-derived Unix(oid Operating System).

Regarding (b), keep in mind that in the 90s, there were several commercial Unices: SunOS / Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX, AIX, and I'm probably forgetting several; and there were several BSD variants. But Linux ran on commodity hardware and was free.


Cheaper (free) licenses. Besides, they didn't need a full-blown graphic OS under them, so they could run on cheaper machines (less RAM and even without a graphics card).


As a tongue-in-cheek answer, I'd look at

09:40am up 97 days 23:23, 32 users...,

BTW this was post a recent upgrade. Before that it'd been running for a couple of years.

  • Yeah it's not 1995 any more.
    – Alan B
    Sep 23, 2020 at 15:18

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