Almost every webmaster deals with a server. So if he has a question regarding his server (like the following example), which site should he ask on: webmasters.stackexchange OR ServerFault.

Example question: "Is it better to use lighthttpd+mysqllite instead of apache+mysql on low memory systems. I want to know from memory footprint point of view, not performance (request per second)?... etc"

4 Answers 4


Sorry I missed this one - I'm the webmasters mod that sysadmin1138 referred to in their answer.

They are absolutally correct that we define a webmaster in a fairly narrow scope, but there's a very good reason for that - Server Fault is a better place to get answers about configuring web servers.

Additionally, it's not true that "Almost every webmaster deals with a server" - if that were true then CPanel would just be a small footnote of a failed project in the history of the internet. The real fact is that 90% of the sysadmins we're dealing with are using a commercial hosting package from GoDaddy or somewhere like that. With such a small footprint of server administering webmasters, we will never reach the critical mass required to provide the awesome answers that Server Fault provides.

So we drew a clear concise line in the sand. Server related - Server Fault. Not server related - Webmasters.stackexchange.com

There are a lot of people (like myself) where I play sysadmin AND webmaster, and when I need to ask questions about Apache or IIS or Sharepoint I ask on Server Fault. And when I want to know about transparent PNGs or the hateful piece of software that is QuickTime I ask on Webmasters.

  • This is a very nice answer. Thanks.
    – JP19
    Commented Jan 17, 2011 at 5:27

We've had a few discussions about this before. In fact, we had a webmasters.se mod drop by (OK, he's also an SF regular) and clarify some things:

mod_rewrite/htaccess/etc. questions - migrate?

Our definition of a webmaster is someone who takes care of the day to day running of a website, which does NOT include:

  • Server configuration
  • Apache/IIS installation
  • Apache/IIS configuration

As these are generally taken care of by a sysadmin. Basically, if it's something your hosting provider takes care of for you, then it's not a webmaster problem.

They define 'webmaster' differently than we do.

  • Gigantic +1 for "They define 'webmaster' differently than we do".
    – Chris S
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 18:22
  • Well that's a problem isn't it? If the webmasters site defines the term differently from us then that surely leaves a very large crack for things to fall into.
    – Rob Moir
    Commented Jan 13, 2011 at 10:27
  • @RobertMoir Sadly not unique, though. The sheer number of questions we get shipped from SO that get re-shipped to SU or closed outright shows we have divisions even within the original trilogy.
    – sysadmin1138 Mod
    Commented Jan 13, 2011 at 15:13

Since you are specifically talking about the memory footprint of these I think SF is a good place for this question personally. Some overlap of information across sites it perfectly fine though -- and questions can be moved between webmasters and serverfault.


Almost every webmaster deals with a server.

Well yes but so do users. It's not a matter of whether they "deal" with servers or not, it's really about the degree. The problem I see is that we don't have even a vague definition of "webmaster".

I believe that most people see a webmaster as someone who maintains the web site itself. i.e. The actual content that's seen when you visit the site. They should not be allowed to fiddle with anything lower down the filesystem tree than the documents directory.

Unfortunately (in more than one sense), many of us on SF suffer from the problem that we are also involved in other roles, including that of webmaster, which gives us a very tilted view.

I think the definition quoted by sysadmin1138 is a very good one, as it draws some pretty neat lines that I think reflect realty for most people.

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