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Introduction to Web Servers – Understanding Web Content Delivery

Web servers are crucial for delivering content on the internet. We provide you with a thematic introduction to help you choose the right web server for your project.

Understanding Web Servers

They play a vital role in serving web pages for websites, making them accessible on the internet. A web page can consist of a single HTML file or a complex collection of resources. In many cases, if you want to host your web application on the internet, you’ll need a web server.

Common Use Cases

A web server processes requests on the internet using the HTTP and HTTPS protocols, often referred to as an HTTP server. Web servers differ from other types of servers because they specialize in handling these HTTP and HTTPS requests. Here are some common tasks performed by web servers:

  • Serving HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.
  • Serving images and videos.
  • Handling HTTP error messages.
  • Processing user requests, often simultaneously.
  • Redirecting and rewriting URLs.
  • Processing and serving dynamic content.
  • Compressing content for optimized data usage and speed.
  • Enabling browser caching for static content.


Web servers cater to an audience that expects fast loading times, availability, reliability, and more. They share the common goal of providing content on the internet, and to be considered a suitable web server solution, the following aspects must be considered:

  • Availability: A web server must be online and operational. Websites should be continuously accessible to serve users, and planned downtime for updates or maintenance should be the exception.
  • Speed: Web pages should load as quickly as possible. Slow load times can cause users to leave the site, which should be avoided.
  • Parallel Processing: Web servers must efficiently handle multiple concurrent requests to prevent bottlenecks.
  • Scalability: Web servers should be scalable, allowing the addition of more resources as the user base grows.
  • Easy Setup: A simple and repeatable installation method is crucial for quickly getting projects up and running.
  • Documentation: Good documentation is essential for developing tailored solutions to meet specific requirements.
  • Developer Support: Developer support is vital in both the short and long term.
  • Community Support: An active community can be helpful in problem-solving and providing resources.

Choosing a Solution

Currently, the two most popular open-source web servers are Apache and Nginx. Both web servers have different approaches to solving the same problems. The choice of the right web server depends on the specific requirements of your project.

There are key differentiators, such as the structure of configuration files, handling parallel requests, serving static and dynamic content, and the ability to function as a reverse proxy. Understanding Web Content Delivery

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