When I faced with a decision of what web server I am going to roll out with, I usually end up picking between two web servers: Apache and Cherokee.
Apache is like your grandfather. He is 80 years old, and He has been around for a while. He is not always the guy you go to when you want something done quickly, but when you want it done reliably, you would not even think of going to anyone else.
Cherokee is like a kid out of Uni. Sure, he is still only a little baby, but he is packed full of the latest knowledge and has been taught how to do the job. Quick. He is also much better then his Granddaddy at doing the easier things, such as giving you the same document over and over and over again.
The way that Apache is written, it does use up a lot of memory, however, there is also the benefit with Apache that if you want to do it, you can. There is literally any type of module you would ever want for Apache. There are more then 400 modules to download, compile, install and try.
Cherokee on the other hand has a much smaller selection of modules you can choose to run with, but don’t let this scare you! If you run pretty much stock standard Apache setups (such as I do for timg.ws and sharesource.org), then Cherokee will be able to come to the table with everything you need and more.
The really cool benefit that you get from using Cherokee is the fact that, it does more out of the box with all its modules.
At the moment, I really like the development that is going into Cherokee. They do look very hard at security, such as this the new spawning mechanism introduced into Cherokee earlier this year.
But really, there is a lot of hype over the whole “lightweight” httpds in some sense. Sure, lighttpd and Cherokee are really fast to deliver static files, but are they really faster then for anything else? In all honestly, not that much faster.
I hear about people doing a lot of really interesting things when it comes to web servers, like Apache+nginx+fastcgi, and then I wonder, couldn’t you just pick one product and stick with it? It’s not like the extra milliseconds are going to save you $200,000 a year.
I usually choose Cherokee now for new installations, simply because it does everything and I don’t need to actually do that much hunting around to make it ‘just work’. Not only that, but it has a nice web interface for administrating it that would even make my Dad happy (yes, literally).