A web server is a software application that serves web pages to clients over the internet. It processes incoming requests from clients and delivers the requested resources, such as HTML documents, images, or videos. In simpler terms, a web server is like a waiter in a restaurant who takes orders from customers and brings them their food.
How Does a Web Server Work?
When you type a website’s URL into your browser’s address bar and hit enter, your browser sends an HTTP request to the web server hosting that website. The web server then receives the request and processes it.
The web server retrieves the requested resource from its storage (such as hard drives or databases) and sends it back to the client’s browser in the form of an HTTP response. This response contains information about the requested resource and any additional instructions for the client.
Example of a Web Server
One popular example of a web server is Apache HTTP Server. It is an open-source software that powers millions of websites on the internet. Apache is known for its stability, security, and flexibility.
- Stability: Apache has been around since 1995 and has gone through many iterations, making it one of the most stable web servers available.
- Security: Apache provides various security modules and features to protect websites from common attacks like cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection.
- Flexibility: Apache supports multiple operating systems and can be easily configured to serve different types of content, such as static HTML pages or dynamic websites built with scripting languages like PHP or Python.
Note: While Apache is just one example of a web server, there are other popular web servers available, such as Nginx, Microsoft IIS, and LiteSpeed.
A web server is a crucial component of the internet infrastructure. It enables the delivery of web resources to clients and plays a vital role in making websites accessible to users worldwide. Understanding how web servers work and being familiar with popular examples like Apache can help you navigate the intricacies of website development and deployment.