Review – What are Web Servers and Why Do We Need Them?

web servers

Quick guide to Web Servers

It really is quite clear that some people are unsure about web servers and why you need them. In this review we’re going to take a look at different types of web servers and the pros and cons of different web servers. We’re also going to explore the setup of web servers and how to use them. These posts are intended to help beginners better understand more about websites and how they operate. Afterall. if you’re going to have a website, you should know something about how it works. First, let’s go over a little history for anybody who isn’t quite sure just what a web server is.

Browsers and Site Addresses

When you type an address into a browser (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Microsoft Edge), that address tells your personal computer where you want to load a webpage from. It’s exactly like if you wished to search for a friend. You tell a taxi driver your friend’s address, and the taxi goes to your friend’s apartment building. When you reach your friend’s apartment building, then what? Your friend doesn’t just know you’re there, which means you use, and in this example, you talk with the doorman.

Tell the Web Servers Which Page to Load

You inform them you are there to see your friend, and so the doorman invites you in, and tells you your friend is upstairs or your friend is in the garden. In this example, the web server is like the knowledge the doorman has. When you go to the desk, the doorman should ask whom you’re visiting. This is a necessary security precaution to ensure that unauthorized persons are not let into the building. Like the doorman, the web server also knows that it needs to ask whom you are there to see. The web server also inspects to see whether they’re available. In the web server’s case, it needs to know which file you want to see, whether it’s the home page, a style sheet, a JavaScript file or anything else.

The web server checks whether the file, or friend, is available. If so, it gives you the information you wanted, which your computer then downloads, and displays as a web page. You can, of course, load web pages without running a webserver. Without the doorman, you might be able to find the individual person you’re looking for, but you don’t necessarily know where they live. You might find them wandering a corridor, for example.

Web Servers Know Which Files are Connected

This is especially important when you’re working with JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) in particular. You need to know that JSON files are actually intended to be connected to other files. If the browser doesn’t know that multiple files are all part of the one website, it’s likely to not load them properly to avoid things like cross-site scripting attacks. (Cross Scripting is a type of computer security vulnerability typically found in web applications. This type of attack allows someone with malicious intent to inject a code or script into a web page being viewed by someone else.) So now we know what a web server does, what web servers are available, and why should you use one instead of another?

Production and Development Web Servers

In general, web servers fall into 2 categories. The first one is production web servers,. They are the web servers that all websites on the internet are hosted on. Development web servers are used off-line during the development procedure for sites that will eventually be transferred onto creation servers when the web site goes live.

Debug Mode – Creating Websites Off-Line

Because development web servers are used if you are creating websites, you’ll get a great deal of opinions about the code you are writing. This is called debug mode. During this process you learn things used to make your site run better. Whenever your website is live though, you don’t want to spend your time with all of this opinions from your server. Problems must have been fixed through the development process. Therefore, debug mode is generally disabled on creation servers making them run quicker.

Three Main Web Servers

web servers

NGinx Web servers

Now, let’s examine some of the net servers out there. In the creation server world, there are three main different programs used as web servers: Apache, NGinx, and IIS. There are a couple of hundred, if not hundreds, of other creation servers. However, these three are the primary ones used right now, and they’re the ones mentioned in this review. NGinx was created from the bottom up to be super-fast when offering static webpages. That’s things such as html and JavaScript – things it can just share with your browser and just forget about.

PHP and Apache Web Servers

Apache, on the other hands continues to be quick, but it is a lot more about pre-processing web pages. If you write a PHP website, the PHP document never actually comes back to your browser. PHP means Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is a widely-used open source, general-purpose scripting vocabulary that is particularly fitted to web development and can be inlayed into HTML. PHP is one of the easiest server-side dialects out there for web designers. A lot of sites are designed with WordPress, a CMS (content management system) constructed with PHP. The file is actually simply a group of instructions that your web server must follow to create a website. It really is that generated web-page which is given to your browser. The fact that Apache is better at doing all of these pre-processing jobs makes it slower than NGinx.

Microsoft’s IIS Web Servers

Microsoft’s IIS is similar to Apache, in that it’s more about pre-processing than NGinx. However, the real reason people use IIS is because it’s a Microsoft product. That means that if something goes wrong, you can call Microsoft, and they’ll help you fix it. The same is not true for Apache or NGinx.

In the developmental web server world, we also have apache, NGinx and IIS. However, the settings are tweaked to be more useful for designers. There are also a LOT more specialty web servers out there. However, in order not to make this review more complex, we’ll end it here.

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