Web servers are a remote computers or computer programs that delivers web content (like web pages, etc.) to the end user over the internet upon request through a web browser. It comprises a computer and a server program. Every web server will have an internet protocol(IP) address and domain name through which it is identified over the internet.
Many web servers run on high speed internet connection. The basic function of a web server is to host websites and to deliver web content from its hosted websites over the internet. During the delivery of web pages, web servers follow a network protocol known as hyper text transfer protocol (HTTP).
Web hosting service providers uses web servers to host multiple websites. Web servers need a continuous power supply and necessary cooling for them to function efficiently.
There are two types of web servers – shared web servers and dedicated web servers.
*In a shared web server, a web server is assigned to many clients and it is shared among all the clients.
*In a dedicated web server, one web server is dedicated to a single user. This is suitable for websites with more web traffic.
Features of web servers
Following are some key features of web servers
*Large data storage support: Data storage support is one of the primary feature of web server. Every web server supports large storage space for storing data of multiple web sites.
*Bandwidth controlling to regulate network traffic: It is a feature available in web server to minimize excess network traffic. Web Hosts can set bandwidth values to regulate the rate of data transmission over the internet. This feature avoids the down time caused by high web traffic.
*Virtual hosting: Virtual Hosting is a type of web hosting service in which a web server is used to host other software based virtual web-servers web sites, data, applications and other services. Virtualized Web servers do possess this feature to provide virtual hosting.
*Server side web scripting: This feature of web server enables the user to create dynamic web pages. The popular server side scripting languages include Perl, Ruby, Python, PHP and ASP etc. Advantages of server side scripting features are:
*Users do not require downloading plugins
*Website loads faster
*User can configure the website to use content management system that simplifies the functions of editing, adding of images, publishing etc.
Role of web servers in web hosting
Hosting websites refers to placing websites on web servers to bring them into access by people over internet. Web servers play a significant role in web hosting services as they form the key elements. Following are few functions performed by web servers in hosting:
*Stores and secures website data: In web hosting services, a web server stores all website data and secures it from unauthorized users when it is properly configured.
*Provides web database access: A web server’s responsibility is to provide access to websites that are hosted. Web hosting service providers own some web servers that are used in variable ways to provide different web hosting services, such as backend database servers.
*Serve the end user requests: Web servers accept requests from different users connected over the internet and serve them accordingly.