What is a Web Server? How It Works and More

What is a Web Server

What is a Web Server?

A Web Server is a machine that stores, processes, and transmits website files to web browsers, in basic terms.

Web servers are hardware and software that react to web users’ requests via the World Wide Web using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

Web servers employ this procedure to load and deliver the requested page to the user’s browser, such as Google Chrome.

To process files for email or storage, web servers employ the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

So, what are the components of a web server? A web server connects to the internet on the hardware side, allowing it to exchange data and files with other devices that are also connected. HTML files, pictures, JavaScript files, and CSS stylesheets are all examples of data types. Web server software is also stored on the hardware.

How web users access hosted files is controlled by web server software. It is made up of numerous parts, one of which is an HTTP server. An HTTP server is a piece of software that can process HTTP requests and URLs.

Continue reading to learn more about how a web server works, why we need them, and some common instances.

How Does a Web Server Work?

web server by host

Client-server architecture is used by web servers. One program, usually known as the client, requests a resource or service from another program, the server, in this framework.

To process web clients’ requests, web servers follow a few steps:

  • When an online user wants to view the content of a website, their web browser sends an internet request. This is referred to as an HTTP request. The web browser looks for the requested website’s IP address by using the Domain Name System (DNS) to translate the URL of the web pages or browsing its cache. This procedure locates the web server that houses the site’s files.
  • The HTTP request is received by the web server, which then processes it through its HTTP server. When the HTTP server receives the request, it searches the server files for the information it needs.
  • The web server then sends the site files back to the web browser that made the request. The website content is then shown to the online user.

Static vs. Dynamic Web Server

Static and dynamic content can be served by web servers. A computer and HTTP software make up a static web server. Static web servers return the files of a website to a web browser unchanged.

A Dynamic web server is made up of a static web server as well as additional applications. An application server and databases are the most popular pieces of supplementary software.

Dynamic web servers, on the other hand, change hosted files before sending them over HTTP. It can then build and send dynamic content to a web browser as a result of this.

Web Server Features

Most web servers include the following common functionality in addition to supporting HTTP protocols for processing incoming requests and responses:

  • File logging. Requests, security, and error logs are only some of the events and actions that web servers record in log files. A new line of text is added to the log each time a web server receives a new request.
  • Authentication. Before granting partial or entire access to a website’s resources, many servers provide this option. Authorization requests — when a username and password are requested – are frequently used in authentication features.
  • Bandwidth limiting. The quantity of data a web server can send or process at any given time is referred to as bandwidth. Bandwidth limitation regulates response times to ensure that a network is not overburdened and that files are delivered quickly.
  • Storage space. It refers to the quantity of disc space available for storing files on a web server, which decides whether it can host a website.

Why Do We Use a Web Server?

There are three main purposes for web servers:

  • Multiple websites or online apps can be hosted.
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol) requests are processed.
  • Emails can be sent and received.

Websites are hosted on web servers and can be accessed via the internet. This is why the capabilities and functions of a web server are geared toward developing and maintaining a hosting environment.

You’ll need access to a web server if you want to construct and publish a website. Web hosting is the most convenient way to achieve this.

Web hosting is a service that allows you to store your website’s files, assets, and databases on a server.

A web hosting provider’s responsibility also includes ensuring that servers perform smoothly. Backups, caching, security monitoring, and general maintenance are all part of the job.

The following are some of the primary advantages of having a web host monitor and manage the webserver where your website is hosted:

  • Uptime and performance are at their peak. A web host is responsible for hardware maintenance and software updates, which aids website performance and uptime.
  • Servers that are safe. Effective security protocols are implemented by web hosts to eliminate vulnerabilities and safeguard hosted websites from viruses and assaults.
  • Various hosting plans are available. Depending on their demands, site owners can select a hosting package with various features and capabilities.
  • Cost-effective. Instead of maintaining a dedicated server, site owners can choose for a hosting plan that includes the necessary server resources.
  • Flexibility. Scalable plans are available from web hosts, allowing website owners to add additional hosting resources such as storage or bandwidth as needed.


A web server is a computer that stores, processes, and distributes files for websites. It is made up of two parts: hardware and software, each of which performs a different function in the processing of information.

Furthermore, several types of web servers can send dynamic or static content to a browser. Web servers, regardless of their type, include the following features:

  • File logging
  • Authentication
  • Bandwidth limiting
  • Storage space

They are responsible for hosting websites, processing HTTP requests, and delivering web content to users. As a result, you’ll either need your own server or web hosting to make your website visible online.

After you’ve decided on the latter, a web host will be in charge of the server, ensuring its security and performance. This allows you to devote more time to other parts of your business and website growth.