How Does WebSphere Integrate With Apache Web Server?


Larry Thompson

WebSphere and Apache Web Server are both powerful tools used for web application development and deployment. While they serve different purposes, they can be integrated to enhance the performance and functionality of web applications. In this article, we will explore how WebSphere integrates with Apache Web Server and the benefits of this integration.

What is WebSphere?

WebSphere is a Java-based application server developed by IBM. It provides a runtime environment for Java EE (Enterprise Edition) applications, allowing developers to build scalable and reliable web applications. With features like load balancing, clustering, and session management, WebSphere ensures high availability and fault tolerance for web applications.

What is Apache Web Server?

Apache Web Server, often referred to as Apache HTTP Server, is an open-source web server developed by the Apache Software Foundation. It is one of the most popular web servers globally due to its flexibility, security, and robustness. Apache supports various programming languages such as PHP, Perl, and Python, making it compatible with a wide range of web applications.

The Need for Integration

While both WebSphere and Apache Web Server are capable of handling web application requests independently, integrating them can provide significant advantages:

  • Performance: Apache is known for its efficient handling of static content requests while WebSphere excels at executing dynamic content. By integrating the two servers, static content can be served directly by Apache while dynamic requests are forwarded to WebSphere.

    This division of labor improves overall application performance.

  • Security: Apache has robust security features such as SSL/TLS encryption and access control mechanisms. By placing Apache in front of WebSphere in an integration setup known as a reverse proxy, Apache can handle SSL termination and protect WebSphere from direct external access, thereby enhancing security.
  • Scalability: WebSphere supports clustering, which enables the distribution of application load across multiple instances. By integrating Apache as a load balancer in front of the WebSphere cluster, incoming requests can be efficiently distributed to different instances, allowing for horizontal scalability.

Integration Options

There are multiple ways to integrate WebSphere with Apache Web Server:

1. IBM HTTP Server (IHS)

IBM HTTP Server (IHS) is a web server based on Apache HTTP Server that comes bundled with WebSphere. It is pre-configured to work seamlessly with WebSphere and provides enhanced performance and security features. By using IHS, developers can easily integrate the two servers without additional setup.

2. Mod Proxy

Mod Proxy is an Apache module that enables reverse proxy functionality. It allows Apache to forward requests to backend servers like WebSphere based on specific rules and configurations. Mod Proxy provides flexibility in integrating different web servers with Apache and is widely used for integrating with WebSphere.

Configuration Steps

The configuration steps for integrating WebSphere with Apache using IHS or Mod Proxy may vary depending on the specific setup and requirements. However, here are some general steps:

  1. IHS Integration:
    1. Install IHS if not already bundled with WebSphere.
    2. Create a new IHS server instance.
    3. Edit the httpd.conf file to configure the necessary modules and settings.
    4. Add directives in the httpd.conf file to proxy requests to WebSphere.
    5. Restart the IHS server for the changes to take effect.
  2. Mod Proxy Integration:
    1. Enable the mod_proxy module in Apache.
    2. Add configuration directives in the httpd.conf or virtual host configuration file to define proxy rules.
    3. Specify the backend WebSphere server URL or IP address in the proxy configuration.
    4. Restart Apache for the changes to take effect.

Note: It is essential to consult the official documentation and resources specific to your version of WebSphere and Apache for detailed configuration steps and troubleshooting guidance.


In conclusion, integrating WebSphere with Apache Web Server can bring numerous benefits, including improved performance, enhanced security, and scalability. Whether you choose IBM HTTP Server or Mod Proxy as your integration option, careful configuration and setup are crucial for a successful integration. By combining the strengths of both servers, developers can build robust and efficient web applications that meet their business requirements.

Happy integrating!

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