Most of the heavyweight Linux distributions come with Apache as its web-server. Unless you are using this as your production server, it is often overkill. Apache web-server is one very powerful server application! However, it does eat up resources, i.e., the more modules you use, the more resources are needed. If you do not need the power of Apache, you can use Lighttpd, a lightweight web-server.
Here's a howtoforge tutorial on installing lighttpd on 7. For hobbyist web application developer, the tutorial even included PHP and mySQL support. :P