Part 4: Typical Software You Need on Your Linux Web Server

Last updated: July 19th 2023


In my last addition to the "Introduction to Web Server Setup & Management" series, I delved into HTTP Status Codes and Their Meanings. This series aims to comprehensively understand how a web server operates and interacts with its users. By the end of this series, you'll be able to fine-tune your web server to ensure a seamless user experience. Additionally, you'll gain insights into why we created our LAMP/LEMP stacks in the manner we did. This knowledge is applicable across various programming languages and environments, making it a valuable asset to your skill set.

And today, Let's explore the must-install software on your Linux server to help ensure your server runs optimally and securely. From web servers to database management systems, we’ll cover the essential software you’ll need to streamline your server management. Let’s go ahead, shall we?

Web server

A web server is a crucial component of the internet infrastructure. It is responsible for handling incoming requests and serving web pages to users. The role of a web server is to receive HTTP requests from clients, retrieve the requested data or resource from the server's storage, and then send the response back to the client. The server is also responsible for processing requests for dynamic content, such as web pages or applications.

Some of the most popular web servers include Apache, Nginx, and Lighttpd. Apache is one of the oldest and most widely used web servers, known for its robustness and flexibility. On the other hand, Nginx is a lightweight and high-performance web server designed to handle a large volume of traffic. Lighttpd is another lightweight web server known for its efficiency and speed. Each web server has unique features and benefits, and choosing the right one depends on the specific needs of the website or application.

Database server

A database server is a crucial component of most modern applications. It is responsible for storing all the data needed by the application and retrieving it when necessary. The importance of a reliable database server cannot be overstated, as it directly affects the performance and functionality of the application.

There are numerous options for database servers, and choosing the right one for your application depends on various factors, such as the size and complexity of the data, the number of users accessing the data, and the level of security required. MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB are some of the most popular database servers used today. Regardless of the choice, ensuring the database server is configured correctly and maintained is essential to guarantee optimal performance and data security.

File server

In today's world of digital information, file servers play a pivotal role in storing and sharing files. A file server is essentially a computer or device that is responsible for managing and providing access to files stored on it. This makes it easier for users to access files remotely without having to transfer them physically. Additionally, file servers enable multiple users to access the same files simultaneously, making it a valuable tool.

There are several popular file server options available, each with its own set of features and benefits. Samba is a popular open-source file server that works with both Windows and Linux operating systems. It provides users with the ability to share files and printers across different platforms, making it a popular choice for businesses with a mixed environment. On the other hand, NFS is a file server designed for Unix-based systems, providing high-performance file sharing for these types of systems.

Web application server

A web application server is essential to create and running web applications. These servers act as a bridge between the web server and the web application, processing requests, and returning responses. There are several popular web application servers available in the market. Tomcat, for example, is one of the most widely used web application servers due to its simplicity and ease of use. It is used by developers to create and deploy Java-based web applications. Jetty, on the other hand, is known for its speed and scalability, making it a popular choice for high-performance web applications. Glassfish is another popular web application server, especially for those using Java EE, as it offers a wide range of features and tools to create enterprise-level web applications.

Security software

With the internet becoming increasingly hostile, every server must be protected from attacks. There are several types of security software that can be used to ensure a server remains secure.

Firewalls are one of the most common types of security software used to protect servers. They help to prevent unauthorized access to a network by blocking traffic from unknown sources. In addition to firewalls, intrusion detection systems are also necessary security software. These systems monitor network traffic for signs of an attack and can alert administrators if anything unusual is detected. Finally, antivirus software is also essential for protecting servers. This software helps to detect and remove malicious software that could compromise the security of a server. By using a combination of these security software tools, you can help to ensure that your server remains secure and protected from attack.

Monitoring software

Monitoring software is essential for businesses and organizations that rely on servers to deliver customer service. With monitoring software, you can keep track of your server's performance and receive notifications if any issues arise. This allows you to quickly address any problems and minimize downtime, ensuring that your customers have a seamless experience with your services.

One of the key benefits of monitoring software is that it provides real-time updates on the performance and health of your server. This allows you to identify any potential issues before they become significant problems and take proactive steps to prevent downtime and service interruptions. With the ability to monitor CPU usage, memory usage, and network traffic, you can gain valuable insights into your server's performance and make informed decisions about optimizing your infrastructure.


In conclusion, the must-install software on your Linux server can vary depending on your specific needs and requirements. However, some essential software and tools will ensure the smooth running of your server. These include a reliable firewall, a web server, and a database management system, among others. Installing and configuring these tools properly will not only improve your server's performance but also increase its security and stability. It's essential to keep in mind that the software needs to be updated regularly to ensure optimal performance.

However, do remember that this list is not exhaustive and may vary depending on your specific service needs. Ultimately, it's important to prioritize security, reliability, and efficiency when selecting software for your Linux server to ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently. Though not strictly to the point, here are some tools that you could install on your Linux web server.

Aayush Nair has been a passionate freelance WordPress designer for the past eight years. He likes to share his knowledge to help and enrich the community in his free time.

We use cookies. Please see our Privacy Policy.