What’s a Web Server?

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

o, you want to take your first steps into Web Development. Why don’t we start by talking about Web Servers?

Before talking about the software nature of Web Servers, let’s briefly explain what a Server is.

A Server is a machine designed to compute requests and deliver data across a network. You’ve most likely already seen a server, maybe from some TV Show or on the Internet. Data centers contain tons of servers, which usually look like big shiny boxes full of LEDs.

Photo by Massimo Botturi on Unsplash

In other words, Servers are highly efficient and powerful computers that can handle thousands of requests for numerous devices across a network.

However, Servers can also be software. You can run a Server on your computer. That piece of software will handle requests and deliver the desired service. Dedicated Servers are used when there’s a high demand for performances.

Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other corporations use dedicated servers to run their business. Smaller companies often rent servers from services such as AWS (Amazon) or Azure (Microsoft), but many also manage some physical servers independently.

Let’s go back to Web Servers. As said before, Servers handle requests.

Web servers handle requests from Clients and return Web Pages in HTML, which browsers can read.

Web Servers use the HTTP protocol to deliver files over the Network. HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, one of the most important protocols of the Internet.

Every website you see on the Internet runs on a Web Server. Yet, a Website doesn’t need to run on a dedicated server. Most providers run multiple virtualized OS on a singular Server, allowing numerous customers to use the same physical server without interfering with each other.

About building a Web Server…

Building a simple Web Server is relatively easy; you can use pretty much any programming language. What’s difficult about building Web Servers is security and traffic handling.

Sending data over the Internet can cause all sorts of security-related problems. We’ve seen so many attacks over the Internet; we cannot even keep track of them.

Data is the most valuable commodity in the 21st century; that’s also why Privacy is always a more significant concern.

Moreover, when working with Web Servers, we need to think about solutions to make things run smoothly. How many times you visited a Website and found infinite loading screens or various error codes?

Handling traffic is another huge concern. Services like AWS help with that by allowing you to buy more computational power when in need. Nevertheless, the software plays a big part in optimization.

Bad code equals an even worst user experience.

Photo by Collin Armstrong on Unsplash

Conclusion

This post serves as an introductory guide about Web Development by giving general information about Web Servers.

If you wish to start learning about writing Servers, you can start with any language. Lately, the most commonly used languages are NodeJS, C#, and Python.

Web Developer, passionate reader, human being.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store