What Tools Would You Use to Test Web Server Security?


Scott Campbell

Testing web server security is crucial to ensure that your website is protected against potential threats. Attackers are constantly evolving their techniques, so it’s essential to have the right tools in place to identify vulnerabilities and strengthen your server’s defenses. In this article, we will explore some of the top tools that can help you test the security of your web server.

1. Nmap

Nmap, short for “Network Mapper,” is a powerful and versatile tool used for network exploration and security auditing.

It allows you to scan networks and identify open ports, services running on those ports, and potential vulnerabilities associated with them. Nmap can be used to test the security of web servers by scanning for common vulnerabilities like open ports, outdated software versions, or misconfigurations.

2. Nikto

Nikto is an open-source web server scanner that focuses on identifying potential vulnerabilities in web servers.

It performs comprehensive tests against various elements of a web server, including outdated software versions, default files and configurations, misconfigurations, and known vulnerabilities in plugins or scripts installed on the server. Nikto provides detailed reports highlighting any weaknesses found during the scanning process.

3. Burp Suite

Burp Suite is a popular suite of tools used for web application security testing.

It includes several modules that can be utilized to assess different aspects of a web server’s security. The Proxy module allows you to intercept requests between your browser and the server, giving you control over traffic flow and enabling you to analyze requests/responses for any vulnerabilities or weaknesses. The Scanner module automates vulnerability scanning by identifying common flaws like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), or insecure direct object references (IDOR).

4. OpenVAS

OpenVAS (Open Vulnerability Assessment System) is an open-source vulnerability scanner that helps identify potential security issues in web servers.

It performs comprehensive scans by using a database of known vulnerabilities and checks if any of them are present on the Target server. OpenVAS is highly customizable, allowing you to tailor scans based on specific requirements and generate detailed reports.


OWASP ZAP (Zed Attack Proxy) is another widely used tool for web application security testing.

It provides an easy-to-use interface for scanning web servers and identifying potential vulnerabilities. OWASP ZAP can intercept requests/responses, analyze them for security flaws, and even automatically exploit some vulnerabilities to demonstrate their impact. It also includes features like active and passive scanning, fuzzing, and spidering to ensure comprehensive coverage during testing.

6. Metasploit

Metasploit is a penetration testing framework that allows you to simulate real-world attacks against your web server.

While it’s primarily focused on exploiting vulnerabilities in systems, it can also be utilized to test the security of web servers by emulating different attack scenarios. Metasploit provides a vast collection of exploits, payloads, and auxiliary modules that can help you identify weaknesses in your server’s defenses.


Testing the security of your web server should be an ongoing process to stay one step ahead of attackers. By utilizing tools like Nmap, Nikto, Burp Suite, OpenVAS, OWASP ZAP, and Metasploit, you can identify potential vulnerabilities in your web server and take appropriate measures to enhance its security. Remember that no tool can guarantee complete protection; it’s essential to combine these tools with regular updates, patches, secure coding practices, and a strong defense-in-depth strategy to create a robust security posture for your web server.

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