A public facing web server is a crucial component of any website that needs to be accessible to the general public. It is responsible for handling incoming requests from users and delivering the requested content back to them.
What is a web server?
A web server is a software application that runs on a computer and manages the delivery of web pages to clients (such as web browsers) over the internet. It acts as an intermediary between the client and the website’s files, processing incoming requests and sending back the appropriate responses.
Types of web servers:
There are several types of web servers available, but in this article, we will focus on public facing web servers. These are specifically designed to handle requests from external users on the internet.
Characteristics of a public facing web server:
- Accessibility: A public facing web server must be reachable from any location with an internet connection. This requires proper network configuration and firewall settings.
- Security: As it faces the public, security is of utmost importance.
Public facing servers should have robust security measures in place, such as firewalls, encryption protocols, and regular security updates.
- Reliability: The server must be available and responsive at all times. Downtime can result in loss of revenue, reputation damage, and dissatisfied users.
- Scalability: Public websites often experience varying levels of traffic. A well-designed public facing server should be able to handle high traffic loads by scaling resources up or down as needed.
Components of a public facing web server:
1. Operating System:
The operating system (OS) is the foundation on which the web server software runs. Popular choices for public facing servers include Linux distributions like Ubuntu, CentOS, or Debian, as well as Windows Server.
2. Web Server Software:
The web server software is responsible for processing incoming requests and serving the appropriate content. Some popular web server software options include Apache HTTP Server, Nginx, and Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS).
3. Domain Name System (DNS) Configuration:
A public facing web server needs to have a domain name associated with it so that users can access it through a human-readable URL. DNS configuration maps the domain name to the IP address of the server.
4. Security Measures:
To protect against unauthorized access and ensure data integrity, public facing servers employ various security measures such as SSL/TLS certificates for secure communication over HTTPS, firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and regular security audits.
In summary, a public facing web server is a vital component of any website that needs to be accessible to the general public. It requires careful configuration and administration to ensure accessibility, security, reliability, and scalability.
By understanding the components and characteristics of a public facing web server, you can better appreciate the complexity involved in delivering websites to millions of users worldwide.