What Is a Web Server Software?


Heather Bennett

A web server software is a crucial component of the World Wide Web. It is responsible for delivering web pages to users who request them via their web browser. A web server software acts as an intermediary between the user’s device and the websites they want to access, handling the communication and transfer of data.

What does a web server software do?

A web server software performs several key functions:

  • Handling HTTP requests: When a user types a URL into their browser or clicks on a link, a request is sent to the web server. The web server software processes this request and retrieves the requested resources, such as HTML files, images, or scripts.
  • Serving static content: Web servers are responsible for serving static content directly to users. Static content refers to files that do not change frequently, such as HTML pages or images. The web server retrieves these files and sends them back to the user’s browser for display.
  • Executing dynamic content: In addition to serving static content, a web server software can also execute dynamic content. Dynamic content refers to files or scripts that generate customized responses based on user input or other factors. Common examples include PHP scripts or database-driven websites.
  • Handling security: Web servers play a crucial role in ensuring the security of data transmitted between the user’s browser and the website. They can enforce secure connections using protocols like HTTPS and manage access control through authentication mechanisms.

Popular web server software:

There are several popular web server software options available today, each with its own unique features and advantages:

1. Apache HTTP Server

The Apache HTTP Server, commonly referred to as Apache, is one of the most widely used web server software.

It is known for its stability, security, and flexibility. Apache supports various platforms and can handle a large number of concurrent requests efficiently.


NGINX is a lightweight and high-performance web server software.

It excels in handling concurrent connections and is often used as a reverse proxy or load balancer in front of other web servers. NGINX is known for its speed and efficiency in serving static content.

3. Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS)

IIS is the web server software developed by Microsoft for Windows operating systems. It integrates well with other Microsoft technologies and offers features like support for ASP.NET, Windows authentication, and easy management through a graphical user interface.


A web server software is an essential component of the internet infrastructure, responsible for delivering web pages to users around the world. It handles HTTP requests, serves static and dynamic content, ensures security, and plays a vital role in website performance. Understanding different web server software options allows developers to choose the most suitable solution based on their requirements.

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