What Is the Difference Between Web Server and Local Server?


Scott Campbell

A web server and a local server are both crucial components in the process of hosting and accessing websites. While they share some similarities, there are significant differences between the two. In this article, we will explore these differences and understand their respective roles in the world of web development.

The Basics

A web server is a computer or a software application that delivers web content to clients over the internet. It responds to requests from web browsers by sending HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other files necessary for displaying a website.

A local server, on the other hand, refers to a server that is installed and configured on your own computer or within your local network. It is used primarily for development purposes to test websites before they are deployed to a live web server.

Differences in Functionality

One of the key differences between a web server and a local server lies in their functionality:

  • Web Server: A web server is designed to handle multiple simultaneous requests from clients all over the internet. It utilizes robust hardware and high-speed internet connections to ensure optimal performance for users accessing websites remotely.
  • Local Server: A local server is typically used by developers during website development.

    It allows them to test their code, experiment with different configurations, and debug issues locally without affecting the live website. Since it operates within a closed network environment, it may not have the same level of performance as a dedicated web server.

Accessing Websites

The way websites hosted on web servers and local servers are accessed also differs:

  • Web Server: Websites hosted on a web server can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. Users simply need to enter the website’s URL in their web browser to view its content.
  • Local Server: Websites hosted on a local server can only be accessed within the same network. This means that users outside the network cannot view the website unless it is deployed to a live web server.

Deployment and Security

When it comes to deployment and security, there are notable distinctions between web servers and local servers:

  • Web Server: Deploying a website on a web server requires uploading the necessary files via FTP or using a control panel provided by the hosting provider. Web servers are typically equipped with security measures such as firewalls, SSL certificates, and intrusion detection systems to protect websites from unauthorized access.
  • Local Server: Since local servers are primarily used for development purposes, they do not require elaborate deployment processes. However, it is still important to ensure proper security measures are in place when accessing websites on a local server, especially if they contain sensitive information.


In summary, while both web servers and local servers play important roles in hosting and accessing websites, they differ significantly in terms of functionality, accessibility, and deployment processes. Understanding these differences is crucial for web developers as it helps them make informed decisions during various stages of website development.

So whether you’re setting up a live website on a web server or testing your code on a local server, knowing the distinction between the two will undoubtedly enhance your understanding of how websites function in different environments.

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