What Is the Difference Between Web Server and Web Service?


Heather Bennett

What Is the Difference Between Web Server and Web Service?

When it comes to web development, two terms that are often used interchangeably are web server and web service. While they both play crucial roles in serving web applications, they serve different purposes and have distinct functionalities. Let’s dive into the details to understand their differences.

Web Server

A web server is a software application or a computer system that hosts and delivers web content to clients over HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) or HTTPS (HTTP Secure). It acts as a mediator between the client’s web browser and the requested web pages or resources. The primary function of a web server is to respond to incoming requests from clients by providing them with the requested content.

A web server typically handles tasks like:

  • Serving static files: Web servers are responsible for delivering HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, videos, and other static files to clients.
  • Processing server-side scripts: In addition to serving static files, a web server can also execute server-side scripts written in languages like PHP, Python, or Ruby.
  • Maintaining connection: It establishes and maintains connections with clients using protocols like TCP/IP.
  • Handling security: Web servers can handle SSL/TLS encryption for secure communication over HTTPS. They can also enforce access control rules through authentication mechanisms.

Web Service

A web service, on the other hand, is an application or software component that enables communication between different systems over a network using standard protocols. Its primary purpose is to provide interoperability between various applications running on different platforms or programming languages.

Web services can perform various tasks, such as:

  • Data exchange: Web services allow applications to exchange data in a standardized format, typically using XML or JSON.
  • Application integration: They enable seamless integration between different software systems, allowing them to communicate and share data.
  • Remote procedure calls: Web services facilitate the execution of remote procedures or methods on a server, allowing clients to access the server’s functionality without having to implement it locally.
  • Service discovery: Web services can be discovered and accessed through standard protocols like SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) or REST (Representational State Transfer).

Differences Between Web Server and Web Service

1. Purpose:

A web server’s primary purpose is to serve static files, execute server-side scripts, maintain connections, and handle security aspects. On the other hand, a web service’s primary purpose is to enable communication and interoperability between different applications.

2. Content Delivery vs. Data Exchange:

A web server delivers web content in response to client requests. It serves HTML pages, images, videos, etc. In contrast, a web service facilitates data exchange between applications by providing an interface that allows them to communicate and share information.

3. Client Interaction:

A web server interacts directly with the client’s web browser by responding to HTTP requests for web content. A web service primarily interacts with other software systems or applications over a network using standardized protocols.

4. Execution Environment:

A web server executes within an operating system environment and handles HTTP/HTTPS requests from clients. A web service typically runs on a server or in the cloud and provides functionality that can be accessed and utilized by other applications.


In summary, while web servers and web services are closely related to web development, they have distinct roles and functionalities. Web servers deliver web content to clients, handle connections, and provide security features.

Web services enable communication between different applications, facilitate data exchange, and allow for seamless integration. Understanding the difference between these two is essential for building robust web applications that leverage their respective capabilities.

Discord Server - Web Server - Private Server - DNS Server - Object-Oriented Programming - Scripting - Data Types - Data Structures

Privacy Policy