Is Flask a Web Server or Application Server?


Larry Thompson

Is Flask a Web Server or Application Server?

When it comes to developing web applications using Python, Flask is a popular choice among developers. However, there is often confusion about whether Flask is a web server or an application server. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two terms and clarify the role of Flask in web development.

Understanding Web Servers

In simple terms, a web server is responsible for handling HTTP requests and serving web pages to clients. It listens for incoming requests and responds with the appropriate HTML content. Examples of popular web servers include Apache HTTP Server and Nginx.

Web servers are designed to handle the low-level details of network communication and file serving, allowing developers to focus on building the actual application logic. They are typically optimized for performance and can handle multiple concurrent connections efficiently.

What About Application Servers?

An application server, on the other hand, provides a higher-level environment for running web applications. It typically includes additional features like session management, database connectivity, and security mechanisms.

Application servers are designed to execute code written in specific programming languages or frameworks, such as Java EE or Ruby on Rails. They provide an abstraction layer that simplifies application development by providing pre-built components and services.

The Role of Flask

Now that we understand the difference between web servers and application servers, let’s talk about where Flask fits into this picture.

Flask is a micro-framework for building web applications in Python. It is not a web server or an application server by itself. Instead, it allows developers to create their own web applications by providing them with tools and libraries for handling routing, request/response handling, and template rendering.

When you write a Flask application, you still need a web server to handle the low-level details of network communication. Flask applications are usually deployed on web servers like Apache or Nginx, which act as intermediaries between the clients and the Flask application.

Flask is often used in conjunction with a web server, where the web server forwards requests to the Flask application, and Flask processes those requests and generates appropriate responses.


In conclusion, Flask is neither a web server nor an application server. It is a Python micro-framework that provides developers with the necessary tools to build web applications. While Flask simplifies the process of developing web applications, it still requires a separate web server to handle network communication.

By understanding these distinctions, developers can make informed decisions when choosing the right tools for their web development projects. Whether it’s building simple websites or complex web applications, Flask remains a versatile choice for Python developers.

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