How Do Web Servers Work?
The term web server can refer to hardware or software or both of them working together.
- On the hardware side, a web server is a computer that stores web server software and a website’s files.
- On the Software side, a web server includes several parts that control how the user access hosted files.
A web server connects to the internet and supports physical data interchange with other devices connected to the web and delivers the content of it’s hosted websites to the end user’s device.
At the most basic level, whenever a browser needs a file, it requests the file from the correct web server (Hardware), the HTTP server (Software) accepts the request, finds the requested document, and sends the response back to the browser.
Static & Dynamic
A static web server consists of a computer with an HTTP server and it sends it’s hosted files as-is to your browser.
A dynamic web server consists of a static web server plus extra software, such as an app server and a database, and it updates the hosted files before sending content to your browser.
At a minimum, web server software is an HTTP server. An HTTP server is a software that understands URLs and HTTP (the protocol your browser uses to view webpages) and can be accessed through the domain names of the websites it stores.
A web server has to store all HTML, CSS and JS files, images, fonts, etc. Technically, you could host those files on your computer, but It’s more convenient to store them on a dedicated web server because a web server is more available, It’s always connected to the internet, and it can have the same IP address all the time.