Apache supports a variety of features, many implemented as compiled modules which extend the core functionality. These can range from server-side programming language support to authentication schemes. Some common language interfaces support Perl, Python, Tcl, and PHP. Popular authentication modules include mod_access, mod_auth, mod_digest, and mod_auth_digest, the successor to mod_digest. A sample of other features include Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security support (mod_ssl), a proxy module (mod_proxy), a URL rewriter (mod_rewrite), custom log files (mod_log_config), and filtering support (mod_include and mod_ext_filter).
Popular compression methods on Apache include the external extension module, mod_gzip, implemented to help with reduction of the size (weight) of web pages served over HTTP. ModSecurity is an open source intrusion detection and prevention engine for web applications. Apache logs can be analyzed through a web browser using free scripts such as AWStats/W3Perl or Visitors.
Virtual hosting allows one Apache installation to serve many different actual websites. For example, one machine with one Apache installation could simultaneously serve www.example.com, www.example.org, test47.test-server.example.edu, etc.
Because the source code is freely available, anyone can adapt the server for specific needs, and there is a large public library of Apache add-ons.
The open source software movement has received enormous attention in the last several years. It is often characterized as a fundamentally new way to develop software that poses a serious challenge to the commercial software businesses that dominate most software markets today.