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A web server is a computer that manages websites. It’s a computer program that allocates web pages as they are requested. The primary objective of the web server is to save, handle and distribute web pages to the users. This transmission is done using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
Most of the web pages are constant structures including HTML documents, images, style sheets, test, etc. Aside from HTTP, web servers sustain SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) for emailing and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) for file transmission and repository.
The primary task of a web server is to show the website details. If a web server is private and is used internally, then it is called Intranet Server. When someone searches for a website by adding the URL or web address on a web browser’s address bar, the browser issues a request to the internet for viewing the corresponding web page for that address. A Domain Name Server (DNS) translates this URL to an IP Address, which in turn leads to a web server.
The web server is asked to post the content website to the user’s browser. All websites on the internet have a specific identifier in terms of an IP address. This Internet Protocol address is used to interface between different servers across the internet. Today, Apache server is the most common web server in the market. Apache is an open source software that administers almost 70 percent of all websites available today.
Apache is used as the automatic web server environment of most of the web-based applications. Another commonly available web server is Internet Information Service (IIS), which is developed by Microsoft.
A web server is a computer that carries web pages. Each web server has an IP address and a domain name. Any computer can be made into a web server by setting up server software and linking the machine to the internet. There are many web server software applications, which include public domain software and commercial packages.
Web servers mostly are part of a bigger suite of internet and intranet-connected software for emails, FTP files and creating web pages. There are several factors to consider in choosing a web server like how well it fits with the operating system and other servers, its capacity to handle server-side programming, security features and the specific publishing, search engine and site building tools that come with it.
A web server is carries content or services to end users over the internet. A web server is composed of the following:
- Physical server
- Server operating system
- Software used to enable HTTP communication.
A web server is also called an internet server.
Types of Web Servers
- Apache – is the most common web server in the market developed by the Apache Foundation. It is an open source software that can be installed on multiple platforms including Linux, Windows, UNIX, Mac OSX and more.
- Internet Information Service (IIS) – is a high-speed web server developed by Microsoft which runs on Windows NT/2000 and 2003 platforms.
- NGINX – is a lightweight and robust server, recognised for its high speed, security, easy configuration and low resource usage.
- LiteSpeed – is a high-speed web server that can replace Apache. It is now the 4th most commonly used server across the internet. It is popular for its enhanced performance and low cost.
- Lighttpd – is an open-source web server intended for speed-critical environment, while maintaining compliance, security and flexibility. It was originally written to target the c10k problem, like the NGINX, but has become a popular server worldwide.
- Jigsaw – is an open-source web server launched by the World Wide Web Consortium. Intended to test your applications.