What Is Application Server in Web?


Angela Bailey

An application server is a software framework or platform that allows for the execution of application programs. It provides an environment where applications can run and interact with other software components, such as databases and web servers. In the context of web development, an application server plays a crucial role in delivering dynamic content to users over the internet.

How Does an Application Server Work?

When a user requests a web page or performs an action on a website, the request is sent to the web server. The web server then forwards this request to the application server. The application server processes the request, executes the necessary code, interacts with databases if needed, and generates a response.

Once the response is generated by the application server, it is sent back to the web server. Finally, the web server delivers this response to the user’s browser for display.

Key Features of an Application Server

An application server provides various features that are essential for developing and deploying web applications:

  • Scalability: Application servers are designed to handle multiple concurrent requests efficiently. They can scale horizontally by adding more servers or vertically by adding more resources to existing servers.
  • Load Balancing: To distribute incoming requests evenly across multiple servers, an application server typically supports load balancing.

    This ensures optimal utilization of resources and improves performance.

  • Session Management: Web applications often require session management capabilities to maintain stateful interactions with users. An application server provides mechanisms for session tracking and management.
  • Security: Application servers offer built-in security features like authentication and authorization mechanisms to protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access.

Types of Application Servers

There are various types of application servers available, each catering to different requirements:

Java Application Servers

Java application servers, such as Apache Tomcat, JBoss, and WebSphere, are specifically designed to execute Java-based applications. They provide a runtime environment for Java applications and support the Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) specification.

.NET Application Servers

.NET application servers, like Microsoft IIS and ASP.NET Core, enable the deployment and execution of applications built using the Microsoft .NET framework. They provide integration with various Microsoft technologies and libraries.

Open-source Application Servers

Open-source application servers, such as Apache HTTP Server and Nginx, offer flexibility and customization options. They support multiple programming languages and frameworks, making them suitable for a wide range of web applications.


An application server is an essential component in web development that enables the execution of web applications. It provides a runtime environment, scalability options, session management capabilities, security features, and much more. Understanding the role of an application server is crucial for building robust and efficient web applications.

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