What is Web Server and types
What is Web Server and types
Jan 25, 2023 3:51 PM

What is a web server? The web server definition is worded as the specialized computers dedicated to hosting web pages. Webservers are significant; the internet would not be possible without them.

In general, the purpose of a web server is to store, process, and deliver online pages to users. Its software program is primarily responsible for displaying the webpage content correctly.

Web servers are the main component of a website. They are responsible for hosting content, providing information to visitors, and, most importantly, responding to requests from browsers.

A browser goes through a series of processes while requesting a document from a web server, beginning with a user entering the URL in a web browser. The web browser will then looks for the IP address in its cache or translate the URL through the DNS (Domain Name System). The browser will access a web server as a result, and the appropriate file will then be requested by the browser via an HTTP request to the web server. The web server will transmit the requested page to the browser through HTTP in response to the request. A web server will respond with an error message if the requested page is unavailable or something goes wrong.

Some uses for web servers

Web servers frequently are bundled with other internet- and intranet-related software tools that are used for:

  • Sending and receiving emails
  • Making and publishing webpages
  • Requesting and downloading files via File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

In addition to server-side scripting, which scripts on a web server that can alter the answer to the client, many simple web servers also enable this feature. Server-side scripting executed on the machine has database access as one of its many features.

Web servers and their types

The network or web on the internet is spun out of web servers. Major Websites and online companies run on them.

Different types of web server include static and dynamic ones. Static web servers serve content that does not change very often, like simple HTML pages and images.

Dynamic web servers serve with frequent content changes like database-driven websites and e-Commerce sites. Most websites use a combination of both static and dynamic content.

Apache and IIS are two of the most widely held web servers.

Some significant web server list

Apache- It is the second largest used web server. This Linux-based server software is created by the Apache Software Foundation. It is compatible with many operating systems, including Mac OS x, windows, Linux, Free BSD, and UNIX due to its open-source nature. It is easy to set up with its modular design thus, this flexibility allows adding new models quickly that provide more open opportunities compared to older versions. Apache is reliable and more dependable than many servers for management because its issues are simple to fix.

IIS Web Server- Although developed by Microsoft, it has all the functionalities of Apache, except it is not open source. Customizing or adding your own modules on this server is complicated. IIS web server is suitable for any system running on the windows operating system.

Nginx Web Server- Following Apache, Nginx is the second open-source server software that runs on Linux. It includes IMAP/POP3 proxy server. The pros of Nginx are being highly reliable, low consumption of resources, high performance, and easy configuration.

LiteSpeed Web Server-

LiteSpeed is known for its high performance and low running costs. Some popular Apache features, such as mod-rewrite, .htaccess, and mod security are supported by the LiteSpeed web server and can replace Apache in just 15 minutes without any downtime. LiteSpeed substitutes all of the Apache functionalities that other front-end proxy solutions, enabling a quick and painless migration from Apache. Miles Web VPS Hosting offers higher website performance thanks to LiteSpeed Web Servers.

Apache tomcat- The basis for a web server is an open-source Java servlet container known as Apache Tomcat. Java software called a Java servlet expands a server’s functionality. Although servlets can reply to a wide range of requests, web-based applications are where they are most frequently utilized. These web servlets with both interactive web content technologies are PHP and ASP.NET’s Java analogs. Tomcat was donated to the Apache Software Foundation by Sun Microsystems in 1999. It was promoted to the rank of a top-level Apache project in 2005. Less than 1% of websites now use it.
Apache Tomcat, a Java application server, is governed by the Apache License version 2. However, it may be expanded to work as a typical web server using Coyote, delivering local files as HTTP documents.

Apache Tomcat is frequently featured next to other open-source Java application servers for web servers. Examples include Wildfly, JBoss, and Glassfish.

Node. js- A server-side scripting language is called Node.js.

Network applications like web servers frequently employ Node.js, a server-side JavaScript environment. Ryan Dahl first released it in 2009. Despite having a smaller market share, 0.2% of websites use Node.js. The Node.js community, which is managed by the Node.js Foundation, is helped by the Collaborative Projects platform of the Linux Foundation. Unlike other popular web servers, Node.js focuses on being a cross-platform runtime framework for creating network applications. Node.js has an event-driven architecture and supports asynchronous I/O.

These design choices enhance the throughput and scalability of web applications, making it simpler to host browser games and real-time communication.
Node.js is merely a component of the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript stack, whereas Apache and NGINX are parts of other software stacks, it also helps to distinguish between various web development stacks.

There are numerous licenses available for Node.js.

Lighttpd- The name Lighttpd, pronounced “lightly,” was made public in March 2003. Approximately 0.1% of all websites powered by it are distributed under a BSD license. Due to its minimal CPU burden, tiny memory footprint, and speed optimizations, Lighttpd differs from all other web servers concerning the features like FastCGI, Auth, Output-compression, SCGI, URL-rewriting, and many others. This is an advantage of an event-driven architecture built for many simultaneous connections.

It is a well-known web server for frameworks like Catalyst and Ruby on Rails.

Sun Java System Web Server-  This Sun Microsystems webserver is appropriate for medium-sized and big websites. Despite being free, the server is not open source. But it works with Windows, Linux, and Unix systems. Sun Java System Web Server contains comprehensive information on this server.

Jigsaw Server- The World Wide Web Consortium is the source of Jigsaw (W3C’s Server). It is compatible with several operating systems, including Linux, UNIX, Windows, Mac OS X, and Free BSD. It is open-source, unrestricted, and available in these flavors: Java-based Jigsaw can execute CGI scripts and PHP programs.

On the internet, there are also more server kinds, a few of them include:

Mail Server: A mail server offers network users a centrally located pool of storage space where they can store, send, and receive emails containing different documents. Since all the data is maintained on a single device, administrators need to back up files from one device.

Application Server: It is a group of elements that a platform-specified API allows a software developer to access. These components often operate in a setting similar to the webserver or webservers for web applications. Their principal duty is to assist with the creation of interactive pages.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Server:

The client and server are connected by separate control and data lines when using FTP. The users should use a username and password to authenticate themselves. However, they can speak via aliases if the server is configured to prevent this. The login and password must be secured using FTP and SSL for transmission security.

Database Server: A database server is a computer program that uses client-server principles to provide database services to other computer programs or computers. Some DBMSs (like MySQL, for instance) rely on the client-server approach for database access. This type of server can be accessed via a “front end” that runs on the user’s computer and manages requests. It can also be run on a “back end” that controls data processing and storage.

Domain Name System (DNS) Server:

A name server is a computer server that manages a network service for responding to inquiries. A numerical identification or an addressing component can be mapped using it. The server takes this action to react to a network service protocol request.

These DNS servers are in charge of translating host and domain names. Humans can read them as numerical Internet protocol (IP) addresses. The Internet namespace is also made easier to recognize with the help of DNS.

Web Server

Working on a web server

A browser can make an HTTP request anytime it wants a file stored on a web server. The correct web server receives the request, which is then accepted by the appropriate HTTP server. It then locates the requested document and returns it to the browser over HTTP. Web server software can be accessed through the domain names of websites. It guarantees that the user who requests the site’s content will receive it. A web server is a piece of hardware with web server software that contains HTML text, images, and JavaScript files, among other website-related resources. The web browser will utilize HTTP to request a file from a web server and use it as an example. HTTP server accepts this request then, finds the requested material, and sends it back to the browser using HTTP.

Features of a web server

  • The ability of the webserver to enable expanded data storage means that it can create several websites.
  • Simple log file configuration allows for where to store all log files.
  • The downtime caused by high-volume web traffic can be avoided by regulating network traffic with bandwidth control.
  • FTP websites are simple to create since they make it easier to transfer enormous files from one site to another.
  • Simple directory security and website configuration
  • Virtual directories are simple to create and can be mapped alongside actual ones.

Also Read: Managed Hosting Vs VPS Hosting

Why do we use web servers?

Web servers are a significant component of the internet as they are the key to delivering content on the web. The concept of the internet would be impossible without them.

They bridge the gap between you and the outside world by connecting to the internet, allowing you to access websites, send emails, and more. Many types of web servers can be used for various purposes. All of the searches we do regularly are only possible with the help of web servers. They connect us to the rest of the world and help to stay updated about any part of the world.

The most important thing for a web server is that it can serve up content quickly and efficiently. Web servers rely on several different technologies to do this.
Some of the most vital technologies for web servers include:

– HTTP: This protocol governs how information is transmitted on the internet.

– HTML: This is the language that is used to create web pages.

– CSS: It is the style sheet language that is used to style web pages.

– JavaScript: This is the programming language used to create interactive web pages.

Webservers can deliver content to users because they can store and serve files. When a user requests a web page, the web server will send the appropriate files to the user’s computer.

The types of files that a web server can store and serve include:

– HTML files: These are the most common type of file served by a web server. HTML files are the building blocks of the internet.

– CSS files: These files are used to style HTML files.

– JavaScript files: These files are used to create interactive web pages.

– Image files: These files provide images on web pages.

– Audio files: These files provide audio on web pages.

Advantages of webserver

The webserver is enabled to match your coding style. The structure of your website can be represented as your preset routes rather than your computer system’s directory structure.

  • It might help to give you relevant information for communicating with your hosting provider.
  • This is more versatile and controllable.
  • It also provides the most accurate view of HTTP transmission.

Disadvantages of webserver

  • It might cost more than using electronic website hosting.
  • More challenging to customize hosting services
  • Your website may go down at any time due to server overload.

Sites need additional security measures, such as requiring credit cards at the site’s server for online stores that do business.

Also Read: Benefits Of Cloud Hosting

Final thoughts

Web server is a crucial part of the internet system, and we often overlook their importance. As it is the internal working structure of the web, it is most likely to be attacked by online threats like hackers. Keeping up with the maintenance routine of the web server is crucial to prevent malfunctions and maintain their security.


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