What is a Web Server? Understanding Functions and Types

What is a Web Server? Understanding Functions and Types

By Published On: February 14, 2023Categories: Article

As we know, website is a page compiled of information or tools that can be accessed through the internet via browser, just like the EDGE DC website that you are viewing now. A server, on the other hand, is a computer system used for storing data, making it accessible to those who require it.

When these two terms are combined, does the term “Web Server” hold the same meaning as the above terms? Despite the common usage of the term “Website” and “Server,” in this article, we will provide a more in-depth understanding of the definition, functions, and various types of a Web Server.

Understanding Web Server

A Web Server is a dedicated computer system that is responsible for storing, processing, and delivering website files to browsers when requested by clients. 

The Web Server consists of two components, hardware and software. It uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to respond to client requests.

By utilizing this system, the Web Server can process and deliver data to browsers such as Opera, Mozilla, and Chrome that request its access. 

In addition to data storage, the hardware component is also used to store various Web Server software that is used to manage how users access files on the hardware. This hardware component will later be connected via the internet to enable file exchanges with other connected devices.

Web Server Functions

From the definition above, you may have already known some of the functions or benefits of a Web Server. To make it clearer, here is a summary of its functions:

  • Data storage: The first function is to store or place data from websites or applications. Data here includes a variety of things, ranging from text, video, images, to source code such as JavaScript, CSS, HTML, etc.
  • FTP Processing: FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a service that has the function to organize files, whether for download or upload.
  • Email Application: A Web Server can also be used for sending and receiving emails, like Gmail or Yahoo services, and you can even make adjustments to the email address. For example – connect@edge.id.

Web Server Types

When discussing types of Web Servers, there are at least 4 software that are commonly used by many people. And here are those:

  • Apache: Apache is deemed to be the most popular web server software that has reached 31% of the total market share. This is because it is the first open-source Web Server that can be used for free and supports many OS (Operating Systems) such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
  • Nginx: The next type of web server is Nginx, an open-source software that is known as one of the Web Servers that can handle high traffic loads. In the past, Nginx could only be used on HTTP websites, but now it can also be used as a Reverse Proxy, Email Proxy, and HTTP Load Balancer.
  • IIS: IIS is a web server software that stands for Microsoft Internet Information Services. If you ask who is behind this software, the answer is of course Microsoft. IIS is developed by Microsoft as one of the exclusive Web Servers that is widely used on the Windows OS.
  • Lighttpd: Lastly, there is the Lighttpd Web Server, which is also open-source and has the advantage of sending data fast. Lighttpd is also known for its low CPU power and memory footprint.

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