What Is the Difference Between Application Server and Web Server With Example?


Angela Bailey

What Is the Difference Between Application Server and Web Server With Example?

When it comes to web development, two terms often come up – application server and web server. While they both play important roles in serving web applications, they have distinct differences. Let’s explore these differences with an example.

Web Server

A web server is a software that handles HTTP requests sent by clients (usually web browsers) and responds with HTML pages, images, or other static content. It acts as a mediator between the client and the requested resources on the server.

An example of a web server is Apache HTTP Server, commonly known as Apache. It is widely used due to its flexibility and extensive features.

Let’s say you have developed a simple website with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files. When a user visits your website, their browser sends an HTTP request to the web server (Apache). The web server retrieves the requested files from its file system and sends them back to the client’s browser for rendering.

Application Server

An application server, on the other hand, is responsible for executing business logic and processing dynamic content. It provides an environment for running applications written in various programming languages such as Java, Python, or PHP.

Let’s take an example to understand this better. Suppose you are building an e-commerce website that requires user authentication and database access to display personalized product recommendations. In this case, you would need an application server like Apache Tomcat or Java EE container (such as WildFly or JBoss) running your Java-based application.

The application server takes care of managing database connections, session management, security features, and other complex tasks involved in building dynamic web applications. It interacts with databases, external services, and other components to generate the required response for the client’s request.

Differences Between Web Server and Application Server

Now that we have seen the basic definitions and examples of web servers and application servers, let’s summarize their key differences:

  • Functionality: Web servers primarily serve static content (HTML, CSS, images) to clients, while application servers execute dynamic code and handle complex business logic.
  • Language Support: Web servers are language-agnostic and can serve content written in any language. Application servers are designed to support specific programming languages or frameworks.
  • Application Lifecycle: Web servers do not manage the lifecycle of applications.

    They simply respond to requests. Application servers handle application deployment, scalability, load balancing, and other application-specific features.

  • Complexity: Web server setups are generally simpler compared to application server setups. Application servers involve more configuration and management due to their extensive features.

In Conclusion

In summary, web servers focus on serving static content to clients, while application servers handle dynamic code execution, database access, and complex business logic. Understanding the differences between these two types of server is crucial for building scalable and efficient web applications.

If you found this article helpful, stay tuned for more informative tutorials on HTML coding!

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