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I have often wondered why Apache is installed on my Macbook. I have been working with web development for several years and often wondered; why does Apple install Apache on a Macbook.

Recently I have run into several issues with setting up an Apache based local development environment, and I would like to know if I can replace Apache entirely, or is my Macbook Pro relying on it being installed?

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You can install other web server software like, for example, nginx using brew.

Personally I would just turn Apache off, I wouldn't try to remove it. Off the top of my head I can't think of any places where the OS depends on it being there, but given that it is installed as part of the OS, if you remove it there is a good chance that a future software update will just reinstate it.

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Actually there is one thing (that I know of) that relies on the built in Apache server. That would be the built-in web interface to CUPS, the Common Unix Printing System, that lies at the heart of the Mac printing subsystem.

Honestly most people don't know it's there and even fewer have ever done anything with it. Go to locahhost:631 in Safari and you will either get this error "The web interface is currently disabled. Run "cupsctl WebInterface=yes" to enable it." or you'll get the CUPS web interface.

But Alistair is correct, don't remove it, there may be other dependencies. But you can install other versions of Apache or Nginx or whatever you like side by side with the shipping Apache version with no problems.

In Yosemite and I think Mavericks too Apache is turned off by default and you have to start it from shell commands, if you need a general purpose web server, as the GUI switches have been removed from the Sharing preferences panel.

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