A web server can be a computer program that accepts requests from web browsers and provides the users with responses in the form of data options for them to explore. The term also refers to a computer that runs the applicable web browser program. All web servers share some common features, such as:
- HTTP – the web server translates the request typed into a web browser into computer language
- Returns a HTML document as a response to a request
- Logs client information so that webmasters can collect statistics
- Password – some or all of the operations need a user name and password for authentication purposes
- Content compression to allow content to fit the screen of the computer
- Virtual hosting so that many websites can use one IP address
- Large file support
- Bandwidth throttling to give speedy results for requests
When you type in a search item in your web browser, this sends a request to the web server. If the information you request already exists on the server, then the origin of the content is static. If the information comes from some other application, then the origin of the content is said to be dynamic.
Web servers map the path of a URL (Uniform Resource Locator). This is the web address of the site providing you with the information on the Internet. Sometimes a web server has load limits and you may not be able to log on. This may be true of online banking during a peak period and you will get a message telling you to try back later because the server is too busy. When the server gets overloaded you won’t get a response. There may be too much web traffic in general or too much traffic on a particular site that you are trying to access.
You can manage overloads on web servers when you have a firewall installed that will help you manage unwanted traffic. If you have several web servers connected it will seem as if it is only one large server and will not have as much difficulty connecting to the Internet.