A web server can be a program or the computer itself which receives the requests from various other browsers and responds to those requests. These requests are all HTTP requests that are being sent for some HTTP documents. There are two kinds of web servers available. The web server program and the web server computer are two different devices.
A web server computer accepts larger amount of requests and is usually used to receive many requests at a time. It is a public computer present on the internet. The web server program is software program that runs on a computer and serves requests locally. For both kinds of web servers a web master has to look into the functionality and the logging aspects of it.
Web Server Features
A web server works by accepting HTTP requests and sending HTTP responses to the client servers. The HTTP requests and the responses are simple HTML pages which are exchanged on the internet. Other forms of requests can be files like, wav, image and raw files.
The web servers are capable of logging their entire functions in a detailed format and these are called log files that are created by the web servers.
The web server can authenticate and authorize the requests that are being received by it.
The web servers can handle both static and dynamic content.
Web Server Functionality
A web server is nothing but a simple computer or a computer program that delivers the web pages to the computers that requested the page. For example if there is a web site called www.exforsys.com and anybody who is requesting for www.exforsys.com by typing it in their browser which is a HTML page are actually sending a request to the web server called www.exforsys.com. Now this server receives the requests processes it authenticates it, and then sends the requested information back to the computer that requested in the same HTML format.
Any computer can be converted into a web server by installing web server software to the computer and then hosting the website on the computer. All it needs is a permanent IP address so that all the web requests are sent to the web server through this IP address.
A web server cannot have a dynamic IP address or function on a dial up connection. It needs to have a static IP address and a permanent connection to the internet in order to be accessible 24 hours a day. This IP address is also called the domain name.
Obviously if people have to remember complicated 32 bit IP addresses to remember a websites name then they probably will not be able to remember it, that is why these domain names are actually given meaningful English names so that it is easy for people to remember and access it, whereas the actual address is the IP number allotted as the domain name.
The web server is capable of processing several requests at the same time. Even of thousands of computers are asking for the same webpage at the same time it can still send the information to all the computers.
There are several ways through which the web server will receive information, it may be through another URL or directly, and in any case the request is still processed by the server.
Once a host computer has already requested HTML page from the web server a connection between the host and the web server is establishes and as long as the host computer is sending the requests to the same web server the connection is kept alive. The connection is terminated only when the host computer completely exits by closing the window.