Is Spring a Web Server?


Angela Bailey

Is Spring a Web Server?

There seems to be some confusion around the role of Spring in web development. While Spring is a powerful framework that can be used for building web applications, it is important to clarify that Spring itself is not a web server.

In fact, Spring works in conjunction with a web server to handle HTTP requests and responses.

What is a Web Server?

Before diving into the details, let’s first clarify what exactly a web server is. Simply put, a web server is a software application that receives HTTP requests from clients (such as web browsers) and responds with HTML pages or other resources.

It acts as an intermediary between the client and the application running on the server.

How Does Spring Fit into the Picture?

Spring provides a robust framework for building Java-based web applications. It offers various modules and components that simplify the development process and provide solutions for common challenges faced by developers.

Some of these modules include Spring MVC (Model-View-Controller), Spring Boot, and Spring Security.

When using Spring MVC, for example, developers define controllers to handle incoming HTTP requests and return appropriate responses. These controllers are responsible for processing user input, interacting with data sources, and generating dynamic content to be sent back to the client.

Integration with Web Servers

To make these Spring-powered applications accessible over the internet, they need to be deployed on a web server. A popular choice when working with Java-based applications is Apache Tomcat.

Other options include Jetty and Undertow.

These web servers provide the necessary infrastructure for handling HTTP requests and managing servlets (components that process requests). They also take care of managing connections, thread pools, security configurations, and other low-level tasks.

The web server acts as the bridge between the client and the Spring application.

Deployment Process

When deploying a Spring application, it is typically packaged as a WAR (Web Application Archive) file or a JAR (Java Archive) file. This package contains all the necessary files and dependencies required to run the application on a web server.

Once deployed, the web server takes care of initializing the Spring application context and mapping incoming requests to the appropriate controllers. It passes the request to Spring, which then handles it and generates a response accordingly.

The response is then sent back to the client via the web server.


In summary, while Spring is not a web server itself, it plays a crucial role in building web applications. It provides a powerful framework for handling HTTP requests and responses, along with various other features that simplify development.

To make these applications accessible over the internet, they need to be deployed on a web server such as Apache Tomcat. So, think of Spring as a valuable tool that works hand-in-hand with web servers to deliver robust and scalable web applications.

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