What Is Web Server Application?


Angela Bailey

A web server application is a software program that enables the delivery of web content to clients over the internet. It acts as a mediator between the client’s web browser and the requested web pages or resources.

Web server applications are an essential part of the World Wide Web infrastructure, as they handle requests for websites and deliver the requested content to users. They play a crucial role in making websites accessible and available to users worldwide.

Understanding how web server applications work

When a user enters a website address or URL in their browser, a request is sent to the appropriate web server application. The web server then processes this request and retrieves the necessary files or resources associated with that specific URL.

The retrieved files may include HTML documents, images, videos, CSS stylesheets, JavaScript files, and more. The web server application ensures that all these files are delivered to the user’s browser in a format that can be understood and rendered correctly.

The role of HTTP in web server applications

Web server applications use the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to communicate with clients. HTTP is an application protocol that defines how data is exchanged between clients and servers over the internet.

HTTP operates on a request-response model. When a client sends an HTTP request to a web server application, it expects an HTTP response containing the requested content or an appropriate error message if something goes wrong.

Web servers can handle different types of requests, such as GET (retrieve data), POST (submit data), PUT (update data), DELETE (remove data), and more. These requests allow clients to interact with various functionalities provided by web server applications.

Types of Web Server Applications

There are several popular web server applications available today, each offering unique features and capabilities. Some of these include:

  • Apache HTTP Server: Apache is one of the most widely used open-source web servers. It is known for its stability, security, and flexibility, making it a popular choice for hosting websites.
  • NGINX: NGINX is a high-performance web server that excels at handling concurrent connections efficiently.

    It is often used as a reverse proxy server or load balancer.

  • Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS): IIS is Microsoft’s web server application for Windows-based servers. It integrates well with other Microsoft technologies and offers robust features for hosting ASP.NET applications.
  • Node.js: Although Node.js is primarily known as a JavaScript runtime, it can also function as a web server. With its event-driven architecture and non-blocking I/O, Node.js enables highly scalable and real-time web applications.

The importance of web server security

Web server security is of utmost importance to protect websites and their users’ data from malicious attacks or unauthorized access. Web server applications implement various security measures to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the hosted content.

Some essential security practices include:

  • SSL/TLS encryption: Implementing SSL/TLS certificates helps encrypt the communication between clients and servers, ensuring data privacy and preventing eavesdropping.
  • Firewalls: Web servers can be protected using firewalls to filter incoming traffic and block potential threats or suspicious activities.
  • Patch management: Regularly updating the web server application and associated software components helps address known vulnerabilities and protect against exploitation.
  • Access control: Configuring proper access controls ensures that only authorized individuals have permission to modify or access the web server’s files or settings.


In conclusion, a web server application is a vital component in the delivery of web content to users. It acts as an intermediary between clients and websites, ensuring that requested resources are delivered efficiently and securely. Understanding the role of web server applications and their importance in website accessibility and security is crucial for anyone involved in web development or hosting.

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