What Is Application Server and Web Server With Example?


Heather Bennett

In the world of web development, two important components play a crucial role in delivering dynamic and interactive web applications – Application Server and Web Server. These servers work together to process and deliver web content to users. Let’s dive deeper into what these servers are and how they differ from each other with the help of some examples.

Web Server

A Web Server is responsible for handling HTTP requests from clients (usually web browsers) and serving static web content. It acts as an intermediary between clients and the requested resources, such as HTML pages, images, CSS files, or JavaScript files. The primary function of a web server is to deliver these static resources to clients upon request.

A popular example of a web server is Apache HTTP Server. It supports various operating systems and is widely used due to its stability, security, and flexibility. Other examples include Nginx, Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Services), and LiteSpeed.

Application Server

An Application Server, on the other hand, is responsible for executing dynamic application logic. It provides an environment for running server-side applications written in languages such as Java, PHP, Python, or .NET. Unlike a web server that serves static content only, an application server can generate dynamic content based on user interactions or database queries.

An example of an application server is Apache Tomcat, which is used for hosting Java-based web applications. It provides support for Java Servlets, JavaServer Pages (JSP), and other Java technologies. Another popular application server is Node.js, which allows developers to build scalable network applications using JavaScript on the server-side.

Differences Between Web Server and Application Server

The main differences between a web server and an application server can be summarized as follows:

  • Functionality: A web server primarily serves static content, while an application server executes dynamic application logic.
  • Supported Technologies: Web servers support HTTP protocol and serve static files, while application servers support additional technologies like Java, PHP, Python, or .
  • Deployment: Web servers deploy static files directly, while application servers require packaging applications into deployable archives.
  • Scalability and Performance: Application servers are designed to handle complex business logic and high traffic loads efficiently, whereas web servers are optimized for serving static content quickly.


In summary, a web server is responsible for serving static content like HTML pages and images to clients, while an application server executes dynamic code and generates dynamic content based on user interactions or database queries. Understanding the differences between these two types of servers is essential for building robust and scalable web applications.

By using the appropriate combination of web servers and application servers, developers can create powerful web applications that provide an excellent user experience. So whether you’re serving static content or executing complex business logic, knowing the distinctions between these two servers will help you make informed decisions when it comes to building your next web project.

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