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Web Server: What is it and What is Web Server For?

Web Server: What is it and What is Web Server For?

What is web server? – The primary duty or function of a web server is to supply users with the data they seek (web pages). A web server is a computer or server that stores, processes, and transmits website files to client browsers.


According to wikipedia, “a web server is computer software and underlying hardware that accepts requests via HTTP (the network protocol created to distribute web content) or its secure variant HTTPS.”


In other words, the program enables people to access the internet and read pages in their browsers whenever they choose.


Web servers, which can be either software- or hardware-based, employ the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to respond to requests from Internet users.


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Browser, example Google Chrome, receives the requested page from a web server once loaded.


The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) are used by web servers for processing files for emailing or storing (FTP).


Because of its online connection, a web server can share information and files with other devices that are also online. This information could be presented in several different file types, such as HTML, image, JavaScript, or CSS, to name a few. Server hardware is where you’ll find the software used to manage your website.


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To what extent web users can access files hosted on a server is a function of the software that runs on web servers. The most crucial component is an HTTP server, although there are others. The term “HTTP server” refers to software processing HTTP requests and handling Uniform Resource Locators.


How a web server functions

To use a web server, we need a client that can communicate with the server via a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari), sending an HTTP or HTTPS request. Furthermore, we require a server to store the data transmitted to the web client.

what is web server? what is web server for


The procedure would be as follows:

  • A connection between the DNS server and the computer that makes the query or request is created after the user has sent their initial inquiry to a website. This might also be stated as the “request.” This DNS server provides a response that contains the accurate IP address of the web server that is hosting the material that was requested. 
  • A web browser can get an IP address for a requested website by either looking in its cache or        using the Domain Name System to translate the URLs of the requested pages (DNS). As a result of this  method, the location of the web server housing the site’s files can be determined.
  • The web server accepts the HTTP request and then processes it using its internal HTTP server. The HTTP server will look for the requested information in its storage once it receives and processes the request.
  • The web server will send the requested site’s files to the requesting browser. Website content is subsequently presented to the user.

However, an error notice will be sent to the browser if the HTTP server cannot find or process the requested files. The 404 error is the most prevalent, although a 403 error may also appear if there are authorization issues.


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But a 504 error occurs when a web server does not receive a timely response from another server that is acting as a proxy or gateway.


What is Web Server For?

What is Web Server for, and why do we need it? A client, such as the web browser, sends a request to a web server, which sends the requested content to the client. HTTP/HTTPS is the protocol used for communication between a web browser and a web server.

what is web server for?


A computer containing software that is designed to receive requests via HTTP/HTTPS and other protocols, process those requests, and provide the data that has been requested is known as a web server.


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A web server is also capable of performing a variety of different services, including the following:

Server-side web scripting: Server-side web scripting is a feature that allows users to construct dynamic web pages by utilizing scripting languages such as Ruby, Python, and PHP. This capability is referred to as “server-side web scripting.”


Store and protect website data: The data of a website can be stored on a web server, where it will also be protected against access by users who are not permitted to access it.


Virtual hosting: Web servers can also be configured to function as virtual servers, allowing them to simultaneously host various applications, websites, data, and other services.


Control bandwidth to regulate network traffic: A web server can assist in removing the downtime that is brought on by heavy online traffic by controlling the bandwidth and regulating the network traffic. Web hosts can adjust bandwidth to control the rate at which data is transmitted over the internet and cut down on unnecessary levels of network traffic.


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Types of Web Server For Quality Web Hosting

A wide variety of choices are available for web servers, including free and commercial services. The most widely used ones are Apache, Nginx, LiteSpeed, and Microsoft’s enterprise solutions, known as Microsoft IIS.

Your application has the option of being hosted on a shared or dedicated web server when you are hosting a website. The project’s scope, requirements, and resources should all be considered before making a decision.


web server


The commonest type of web hosting available today is shared hosting. It works because your website is housed on a server along with several other websites that belong to other customers. Imagine that your application is one of the flats in a building and that there are several different applications located nearby.


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The low cost is the primary benefit, as renting this kind of lodging is far less expensive than other types. The capacity to scale up is yet another advantage of this solution.

Scalability refers to the hosting service’s capacity to adjust to changing demands from users.


Shared hosting is an outstanding choice for websites that utilize a well-known content management system (CMS), such as WordPress or Joomla. Because this kind of Web Server typically supports the most widely employed technologies, such as PHP, MySQL, and Content Managers.


A dedicated hosting plan ensures that your website or application is hosted on a server that is dedicated solely to it. It works particularly well for websites or blogs with a significant number of visits daily. Hosting dedicated to a single website is quicker and more accessible.


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For instance, one site’s high traffic levels could slow down the operation of a “neighboring site” on the same server. When using dedicated hosting, where all available resources are allocated to a single application, this issue does not arise.


There are many different web servers so we will cover the most well-known ones here.

This chart below shows the distribution of sites that host on different servers. 

Nginx is used by 34.2% of all websites that employ web servers, whereas Apache is used by just 31%.

Web server usage by percentage
Courtesy: w3techs.com


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Below are popular Web Servers:


Nginx - Web server

Also notable for its outstanding performance is that it is both open source and free (although a commercial version is available).


It employs a reverse proxy to hide the servers’ true identities and fortify the data they store. It can be set up quickly and in various ways, and it uses minimal resources while doing so. Its main drawback is that it does not offer native support for PHP integration.


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Apache web server:


This server is universally recognized as the best and most widely used worldwide. Despite new competitors stealing market share from it, it has remained the unchallenged leader for the past 25 years.


The fact that it is free is probably its most significant selling point since it can be used on virtually any OS. Its primary flaw is its old architecture in comparison to modern servers.


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litespeed web server:

One of the most reliable and productive servers online. Compared to other options, its strength lies in its capacity to support big workloads.


Its architecture, which is built on an event system, eliminates the needless creation of duplicate processes seen in other servers. The primary drawback is that you have to go via the box to get a license to use the proprietary software.


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microsoft web server

It’s a web server developed by Microsoft for the Windows platform. As a result, its primary benefit is that it is fully compatible with all technologies used by the American conglomerate.


This is also its most significant weakness, which means fewer languages and technologies may be combined.


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Factors to consider while choosing a web server:

In all cases, our goals will determine the web server we use. A low-traffic website is very different from a high-volume online store. Static HTML pages aren’t any better than dynamic ones.


 It is critical to specify the goals for your website, the features you require, the volume of visitors you anticipate, and the software you intend to employ. If we can get answers to these questions, we’ll be in a solid position to move forward.


 The cost is always a factor, but you shouldn’t put the price ahead of the performance. The function of technical assistance is also crucial.  It’s impossible to predict when a server issue might arise, but rest assured that it will be fixed promptly.


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When working with shared servers, it is essential to consider the available space. The scope of the work and the volume of visitors will determine which solution is best. Since the goal is expansion, scalable technologies should be prioritized.


Last but not least, it just makes sense to think about security. As the frequency of cyber-attacks rises, it would be unwise to assume that you are immune to one. When you sign up for our Online Backup service, you have the peace of mind of knowing that you can always retrieve all of your company data, no matter what.


Final Thoughts

Web server: It is a computer that host, process, and transmit website files to users. The hardware and software components are essential to the overall operation, with each serving a specific purpose in handling data.


Moreover, a browser can receive either static or dynamic material from various web servers. The primary purpose of these servers is to store data, handle HTTP requests, and send data to users’ browsers. Therefore, you’ll need a personal server or web hosting to make your website publicly available.


If you use the latter option, a web host will maintain and safeguard the server on your behalf. Doing this gives you more time to focus on other areas of your business and website.


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Most Frequently Asked Questions on Web Server

What is a web server used for?

A web server is a computer that can connect to the Internet and facilitate the exchange of data physically between computers.

A web server’s software consists of various components that manage file access for visitors to the server. This is, at the very least, an HTTP server.


 Do we need a web server? What do we need web server for?

Whether the network is used by a huge corporation or only a few individuals, a server is crucial to the smooth operation of all connected devices.

Servers’ centralized file storage and easy accessibility make them ideal for sharing amongst users on the same network.


What is the difference between web server and Web browser?

Simply said, a web browser is a piece of software that displays websites when we visit them. On the other hand, a web server is a computer program that serves web pages to visitors.


What is the difference between an application server and a Web server?

When an application server receives a request, it feeds the business logic to the program using one of many protocols, while a Web server only handles HTTP requests.


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What is Web Server for? Do we actually need it? Leave your responses in the corresponding comment sections.

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