I am creating a multiplayer Javascript/canvas game that utilizes WebSockets to speak player positions and states etc. I am comfortable coding this in Javascript, but it is the server-side websockets items that I am getting challenge with.

I've no clue the way i should implement WebSocket support beyond the client side Javascript. Will I give a module to Apache? Will I get it done in PHP? Will I use something similar to node.js? So far as I understand node.js has gotten lots of praise relating to this kind of stuff, however i have no clue exactly what it is apart from an internet server.

I would suggest using nodejs, together with socket.io, the industry mix-browser compatible web electrical sockets style library. It causes it to be rather easy to create code which conveys using the server (==nodejs) instantly. It uses web electrical sockets in browsers which support them, or any other technologies in browsers which don't.

Only a note regarding PHP because you pointed out it... It's not so appropriate with this for me, since, to be sure, a PHP script only lives the amount of the request. This behavior causes it to be hard to implement real-time communication, unless of course you roll your personal server with PHP, missing Apache or such entirely.

Another alternative might be using Python, and possibly something similar to Twisted, although you may want to implement websockets or such yourself.