How do Web Servers Work?


How do Web Servers Work?

You have undoubtedly made your way on to our website to avail web hosting services or look for a suitable web server. But are you aware of how these hosting machines actually operate? It is a good idea to have some information about the product or service you are looking for before you make a decision.

This is essentially a two-sided story. Web servers are responsible for storing and exchanging data with other devices. Therefore, as a minimum, two participants are needed for each exchange of data: a client that requests the data, and a server that stores it. Each side additionally needs a piece of software to facilitate the exchange of information. A browser like Internet Explorer or Google Chrome is used in the case of the client.

Things, however, are not as simple on the server-side. There are numerous software options available, even though they all perform the same task which is to facilitate information transfer between the client and server by way of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) – the communication protocol of the web. What type of server software you are able to run depends on the Operating System chosen for the server. For instance, Microsoft Internet Information Server is a popular choice for Windows NT, while many UNIX fans choose the Apache Web server.

Aside from the functions listed above, the Web server also has an additional number of responsibilities. Whereas a Web browser simply translates and displays data it is fed, a Web server is responsible for distinguishing between various error and data types. A Web server must, for example, designate the proper code for any sort of internal error and send that back to the browser immediately after it occurs. It also has to distinguish between various elements on a Web page (such as JPEGS and audio files) so that the browser knows which files are saved in which format. Depending on the site’s function, a Web server may also have numerous additional tasks to handle, including logging statistics, handling security and encryption, serving images for other sites, generating dynamic content, or managing e-commerce functions.
Now that you’ve had a behind-the-scenes tour of a Web server, you can appreciate all the work that goes in to delivering a single page of content to your computer screen. Use this knowledge to your advantage, and keep it in mind when shopping around for your next host.