Everything You Need To Know About Web Servers & Types Of Web Servers
A web server is a computer system that processes requests via the internet or an intranet. Web servers are designed to store, process, and send information over the World Wide Web using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). There are many different types of web servers but they all have a similar function. The main difference between them is their location, configuration and capacity. Whether you have an e-commerce site or a blog, you should know about the various types of servers available. It will ensure that your site effectively handles traffic flow.
This post will talk about web servers, why it is essential, and the types of web servers, namely Apache, Nginx, LiteSpeed web server, Lighttpd, and IIS. Let’s dive in!
What is a web server?
A web server is a computer system with application software that delivers website content to the user. Generally, the type of web server depends on the platform used to create your website. A web server can also use multiple operating systems and application stacks to run different websites on the same machine.
Web servers must respond quickly and deliver large files, especially when transferring complex multimedia objects like images or video clips. Web servers accept requests from clients (web browsers) and respond by serving the appropriate files as quickly as possible. The first computers used for this purpose were single-tasking models; this implies that they could complete one application at a time and then move on to the next.
As demand grew, multi-tasking models became necessary, with additional processing power to run multiple tasks simultaneously. Still, even those had limitations, which led to the development of dedicated servers such as Apache and IIS.
Why do you need a web server in your system?
Web server is the primary component that holds your website together. It’s like a road that keeps you connected with everyone who comes to visit your site. Your web browser sends requests for information (pulls) to the web server, and it responds by sending files back (pushes). It all takes place in just fractions of seconds!
Every website you see gets stored inside a computer, which serves as your web server. That’s why if it goes down, the site will be inaccessible until it is back up again.
In general, a web server runs all the time, allowing your users to request information from it. Once a user has asked for a file from your website, the server will send it back to them. While there are several different web servers out there, all of them do the same thing. They handle the requests differently. So let’s dive into the different types of servers.
Types of Web Servers
There are different types of web servers, all with their strengths and weaknesses. Here we will look at the different types: Apache, Nginx (pronounced Engine-X), IIS, LiteSpeed, and Lighttpd.
Apache is the most popular web server on the internet. It was created as an open-source solution to replace the existing Unix web server, called HTTP. What’s unique about Apache is that it works with all major operating systems and is compatible with a wide range of technologies.
Large corporations widely use Apache to power their websites, thus also making it the most hacked web server. It’s a bit slower than Nginx and IIS, but there are still reasons why it can be a good fit for you, depending on your website’s needs. For example, it has better support for the Tomcat and GlassFish app servers. This web server is widely-used with PHP, Python, and WSGI technologies. Because of this, Microsoft maintains this product and works with every Windows Operating System Platform. It’s compatible with a wide range of server technologies and has built-in support for managing SSL certificates.
Nginx is an open-source web server solution growing in popularity over the past few years. It’s almost as famous as Apache, and some industry experts predict it will eventually overtake it on the internet due to its better performance and architecture. Nginx uses the asynchronous event-driven model (instead of process-based like Apache).
This model is more efficient and uses about 50% less memory than Apache. Nginx offers advanced caching options for static content, which makes it a great choice if your website relies heavily on lots of multimedia. Thanks to its extremely lightweight design and low memory consumption, it’s also an excellent option for hosting multiple websites from one server.
Microsoft’s IIS (Internet Information Services) web server is the default choice for Windows servers. It works with major operating systems and offers better support for Microsoft technologies like ASP, .NET, or SQL Server.
IIS is usually deployed with Microsoft’s web application development framework .NET, making it a natural fit for sites developed in C# or VB.Net. You can also use it to host PHP (via FastCGI), Ruby on Rails, and NodeJS apps, although you might want to use something like Nginx to handle static requests and reverse proxying.
- LiteSpeed Web Server
LiteSpeed is a commercial-grade web server that offers enterprise features like load balancing and clustering. It claims to be both more secure and faster than Apache.
LiteSpeed can integrate with CloudLinux, making it possible to use it on most hosting providers. It’s compatible with most operating systems and application servers (including all Apache technologies). LiteSpeed isn’t open-source, but it is free for personal usage (non-commercial).
Lighttpd is a speedy and lightweight web server. It’s simple to set up and works on most systems, although it has limited support for Linux commands. It doesn’t offer as many options as Apache or Nginx, but thanks to its impressive speed and low memory requirements, it’s still used by some large sites like Wikipedia.
Many small files can be faster than Nginx because of the single process per request model. No need to rewrite existing scripts, though the performance of PHP may not be optimal.
Web servers are used by all brands, businesses, and companies with an online presence. They provide a service by hosting websites to access them from anywhere with an internet connection. Many different kinds of web servers are available, each giving something unique for your business needs.
We hope this blog post has aided you with a better understanding of what web servers are, the types of web servers, and how they work.