Saturday, March 14, 2009

Which Operating System is My Web Server Running?

Occasionally you may want to install some new software (perl/php/python/ruby etc) in your web hosting account. The developer you're working with may ask you which OS (operating system) your account is hosted on. You can actually use the WunderCounter to help figure this out.

If you have a Premium account, log in to the WunderCounter. Click "More Stats" -> "Advanced" -> "Server Headers"

Now, enter the domain name of your site and you'll get detailed information which is broadcast by your web server to the world (via HTTP headers).

Let's try a couple of examples. If you enter:

You'll find the following information:

Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.0

OK, so that makes sense. Microsoft is using it's own products.

How about:

Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0

So, Myspace is also using Microsoft software, albeit an older version.

Now, how about:

Server: Apache/2.0.52 (Red Hat)

Now, that's getting better. Wired is running off Red Hat Linux and Apache2. Now, that's an older release of Apache, but it's nice to see them using Open Source software.

Lastly, let's have a look at my favourite flavour of Linux:

Server: Apache/2.0.55 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.1.2 mod_ssl/2.0.55 OpenSSL/0.9.8a

So, that's a good sign. Ubuntu is running Ubuntu Linux. :) They have a recent version of PHP compiled in with the Apache web server as well as SSL for serving secure web pages.

You can use this feature to get lots of other interesting info from web servers (like the kinds of cookies they set etc). Feel free to play around with it and see what you might learn. Also, feel free to use this tool when trying to dig up information on your own web host as well.

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