Is Jenkins a Web Server?


Larry Thompson

Is Jenkins a Web Server?

If you are new to the world of continuous integration and automation, you might have come across the term “Jenkins” quite often. But what exactly is Jenkins?

Is it a web server? In this article, we will explore the nature of Jenkins and clarify any misconceptions surrounding its functionality.

Understanding Jenkins

Jenkins is an open-source automation server that helps streamline software development practices through continuous integration and delivery. It acts as a powerful tool for automating various tasks such as building, testing, and deploying applications. However, it is important to note that Jenkins itself is not a web server.

What is a Web Server?

A web server is software that handles incoming requests over HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) from clients, such as web browsers, and serves them with the requested resources. It processes these requests and responds by sending back HTML pages or other types of data to be displayed in the browser. Examples of popular web servers include Apache HTTP Server, Nginx, and Microsoft IIS.

Jenkins as a Web Application

Although Jenkins is not a web server in itself, it can be accessed through a web browser using its built-in web interface. When you install Jenkins on your machine or set it up on a server, it automatically starts an embedded web application that provides the user interface for managing jobs, configuring settings, and viewing build reports.

This web application runs on an embedded Jetty servlet container by default. Jetty acts as the actual web server within Jenkins that handles incoming HTTP requests from clients and serves the corresponding responses back to them.

Accessing Jenkins

To access the Jenkins web interface, you need to know the URL where it is hosted. By default, Jenkins runs on port 8080, so you can access it by navigating to http://your-server-ip:8080 in your web browser. Once you are connected, you can log in and start using the Jenkins interface to manage your projects and build pipelines.

Jenkins Plugins

Jenkins provides a vast ecosystem of plugins that extend its functionality and allow integration with various tools and technologies. Some plugins even enable Jenkins to act as a web server by hosting static websites or serving files over HTTP.

For example, the “Publish Over FTP” plugin allows Jenkins to upload build artifacts to an FTP server, effectively turning it into an FTP server for file hosting. Similarly, the “HTML Publisher” plugin allows Jenkins to publish HTML reports as part of the build process.

In Conclusion

In summary, while Jenkins is not a web server itself, it does provide a web application that can be accessed via a browser. It uses an embedded Jetty servlet container to handle incoming HTTP requests and serve responses back to clients. This web application allows users to manage their projects, configure settings, and view build reports through an intuitive user interface.

So the next time someone asks if Jenkins is a web server, you can confidently explain its true nature and how it fits into the continuous integration landscape.

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