Web Hosting Web Servers: How it Works, Functions, and Examples

Web Servers: How it Works, Functions, and Examples

Web Servers: How it Works, Functions, and Examples

A web server is a series of devices that make it easier for users to access websites. A web server consists of hardware and software that accepts HTTP/HTTPS requests from clients or web browsers. After that, the web server sends a response to the request back to the client in the form of a web page.

When you search on the internet, you will enter keywords first. Then the web server will receive your request and will respond by presenting a web page. That’s a brief description of a web server, easy to understand, right? More about the web server will be discussed in more depth here. Let’s see!

Definition of Web Servers

A web server is a series of hardware (hardware) and software (software) on a serverFrom the software side, which functions as a medium for receiving requests in the form of web pages in the HTTP or HTTPS protocol. After receiving the request, the web server will load and send the requested page to be presented in the user’s browser, for example, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and so on.

Meanwhile, from the hardware side, the web server is connected to the internet to exchange information (data or files) between other connected devices. The data in question can be HTML files, images, JavaScript files, or CSS stylesheets. Web server hardware also functions to store web server software.

Also Read:  What Is LiteSpeed Web Server and its Advantages

How Web Servers Work

Least, there are seven stages of how the web server works, from searching to displaying web pages. Here’s the explanation:

  1. The user enters a request via the browser
  2. The browser gets the IP address of the domain and looks it up to the DNS server
  3. The browser requests the required data via HTTP/HTTPS
  4. The web server looks for the data requested by the browser on the hosting
  5. The browser then connects to the web server and sends the requested web file request via HTTP
  6. The web server receives the request and responds by sending the requested web file via the HTTP protocol. However, if the data is not found, the web server will send an error page
  7. The browser displays information to the user

Also Read: Reduce Server Response Time and How to Measure It

Web Server Functions

Here are some of the main functions of a web server that you need to know:

1. Transfer the data requested by the user

If you want to dissect deeper, the main function of a web server is to transfer files users request.

Usually, a web page consists of various kinds of information in various forms, such as text, video, images, audio, or documents. These files will later be sent to your browser upon request.

In practice immediately, the web server will respond to the request that you write in the address bar and the information you requested earlier will be displayed to your browser.

If your request cannot be searched, the web server will send it back in the form of a rejection by providing information known as the ‘ 404 ‘ code, meaning that the keyword you are looking for cannot be found.

So, for those of you who own or just manage a website, this software is needed so that your website can be accessed. Therefore, you must ensure the speed and security of the web server used.

2. Clear cache

Another function of the web server is to clear the cache on storage and documents that are no longer used on the website.

Clearing the cache can affect the website’s speed in loading web pages. The reason is, the web server has a web cache system.

The more web cache, the more it takes up storage space. This is where the function of the web server is to sort out which cache is unused and can be deleted.

Also Read: Why optimize the loading time of a website

3. Check the security of HTTP requests

In addition, the web server functions to check the security system of HTTP requests requested by clients or web browsers. The web server uses HTTP/HTTPS as an intermediary to connect the website to the web server. The data transfer process that is carried out is private and cannot be accessed carelessly by the public.

Also Read: How To Increase VPS Security | Top Tips VPS

Example Web Server

At least, there are four (4) types or examples of web servers, including:

1. Apache

Apache is the most popular and most widely used web server. This server provides several supports for the continuity of your website, such as PHP, SSL, and access control. There are several advantages of Apache, for example, an easier setting system and a wide user community so you can easily find fellow Apache users for free.

2. IIS (Internet Information Services)

Internet Information Services (IIS) is an HTTP service used in the Windows operating system. This software is supported by several components, such as the DNS protocol, TCP/IP, and some software that can be used to create websites. Apart from that, IIS is also supported by other protocols such as FTP, HTTP, NNTP, SMTP, and SSL.

Given the large number of Windows users, IIS is easier to use and access. Another plus, IIS is also fully supported by Windows. In addition, some features can check errors and use PHP which is much more stable. Unfortunately, you have to pay to use IIS.

3. Nginx

Nginx (pronounced ‘ engine x’) is software with an open-source system; of course, it’s free. Compared to equally free Apache, Nginx is better able to handle high-traffic web servers. Another advantage is that Nginx is lighter, has many features, is stable, and has high performance.

Also read: 10 Ways to Optimize On-Page SEO to Increase Website Traffic

4. Lighttpd

This web server is based on open-source which means it’s free and free to be used and developed by anyone. Lighttpd was created to support Linux and Unix systems.

Lighttpd is known for its speed, has a small memory footprint, and uses less CPU power.

This web server also has several advantages based on additional features available, such as FastCGi, Output-Compression, FastCGi, and URL Writing.

Also Read: What Are Servers? Types, Functions, & How It Works!

The knot

A web server is an important element on a website that functions to receive HTTP/HTTPS requests from clients or web browsers.

Without a web server, devices, browsers, and the internet, you will not be able to access a page on the internet, including websites.

Other web server functions include clearing the cache and checking the security of “HTTP requests”.

Examples of web servers are Apache, IIS, Nginx, and Lighttpd.

A quality web server is of course supported by the type of device, browser, adequate internet speed, and quality cloud hosting.

Thus, this article, I hope it’s helpful! You can also read a collection of other informative articles on TechBriefers.

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