What is a Web Server? An Overview


A web server is used to store and to deliver the website content. These could be images, texts, application data, videos, and many more as per the request of the client. The web browser asks for data from the website, which happens when the user clicks on a particular link or clicks to download a document that has been displayed on the browser. Read below to understand what is a web server is in detail.

  1. What is a Web Server?
  2. How Does a Web Server Work?
  3. Uses of Web Server?
  4. Dynamic and Static Web Servers

1. What is a Web Server?

A web server is nothing but software and hardware that uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, commonly known as HTTP, and some other protocols that respond to request from clients made on the World Wide Web. The main job that the webserver performs is to display the content of the website, which it does by storing, then processing, and eventually delivering the webpages to the user who has requested it. The web server also supports Simple Mail Transfer Protocol or SMTP and File Transfer Protocol or FTP and HTTP. These are used to transfer files for emailing and even for storage.

The web server hardware gets connected to the internet, allowing the exchange of data with the other devices related to it. The web server software controls how the user assesses the files that have been hosted. The web server process is basically a client and server model example. All the computers that host websites should have the webserver software. Web serves find use in web hosting or the hosting of data for websites as well as for all kinds of web-based applications. This is the complete explanation of what is a web server.

2. How Does a Web Server Work?

The web server software gets accessed using the domain name of a website. This then ensures that the content of the site gets delivered to the user who has requested it. The software part of the webserver is also made up of various components and has at least a single HTTP server. The HTTP server understands the URLs and the HTTP.

The web server hardware is basically a computer that will store the webserver software as well as the files that are related to the website. These include documents, HTML, JavaScript files, and images.

Here is the answer to how does a web server works? When any web browser, say Firefox or Google Chrome, requests for a file that is hosted on the web server, the browser will ask for the file using HTTP. The web server receives the right, and then the HTTP server accepts the request. It finds the content asked for and sends it using HTTP back to the browser.

Basically, when a browser asks for a page through the web server, then the process goes through many steps. The person specifies the URL in the address bar of the web browser, and then the web browser gets the IP address of the domain name. This is done by either translating the URL using the Domain Name System or DNS, or it is done by searching through the cache. This brings the browser to the webserver.

The browser then asks for a particular file from a web server, which is done by sending an HTTP request. The web server then responds and sends the requested page to the browser, which is done using HTTP again. In case the page asked for does not exist or if there is something amiss, then the web servers get back with a message stating that there is an error. The browser then displays the webpage.

The web server is also capable of hosting many domains.

3. Uses of Web Server?

Here are some examples of the uses of web servers.

The web server is basically a part of a large internet package. It also offers many programs that are related to the intranet. The web server is used to:

  • Send and receive emails.
  • Download the file transfer protocol or FTP request
  • Build and publish webpages.

The basic kinds of web servers are capable of supporting the scripting on the server-side, which is used to employ the scripts on the webserver. This can be customized as per the request of the client. The serve side scripting works on the server machine, and this comes with a broad feature set that offers access to the database. The server-side scripting makes use of Active Server Pages or ASP, Hypertext Pre-processor or PHP, and many other scripting languages. The process also lets the HTML documents to get created.

4. Dynamic and Static Web Servers

A web server may be used as static or dynamic content. The static content is the one that is fixed. The emotional content is something that can be changed and updated. The static web server contains HTTP software and computer. This is static because the server sends hosted files as is present to the browser.

On the other hand, the dynamic web browser will have the webserver and the software like the database and the applications server. This is dynamic because the application server is used to update the files hosted before these are sent to the browser. The web server generates content when the database requests it. The process is flexible but complicated too.


A web server is capable of hosting a single website or many websites with the help of the same software and hardware resource. This is called virtual hosting. The answer to what is the role of a web server is hereWeb servers are also capable of limiting the speed of the response to various clients, which in turn does not allow a single client to dominate the resources. This is used to satisfy the requests of many clients.

The web servers will typically host the websites that are internet accessible. These can also be used to communicate between the web clients and the servers in the local network area. This could be like through the intranet of a company. The web server could be embedded in a device like a digital camera. This lets the users communicate with the device using a commonly available web browser.

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