How Does A Web Server Works Information Technology Essay

Web Servers are programs or computers with a connection to the Internet that will deliver the web pages to the web users. By using client/server model and the HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) over the World Wide Web (www), Web Server will deliver the web pages to the web users as well as other files to the web-based application. (Wikipedia, 2010)

How does a Web Server works?

When a personal computer connected to the internet, Internet Service Provider (ISP) will assign a unique IP address to the computer so that, the other computer will know where to find it on the vast network. This IP address will identify the computer’s location on the network.

The responsibility for a Web Server is to store and exchange the information with other. Because of this reason, at least two parties are required while the process is happening. The two parties are client which characteristic is requested the information and a server which characteristic is to stores the request. (Smith, n.d.)

For client they need software like web browser such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox to exchange the information. For server, the software that able to run is depends on the Operating System (OS) that chosen for the server. For example: Apache Web Server or Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS). Normally the client will communicate with the Web Server by using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

Case #1 of the client-server architecture – Client requests for static HTML pages Figure 1.1

Based on Figure 1.1, it shows the basic operation of web-server. While the user opens a web browser and type in the URL, browser will separate the URL into three parts which are protocol, server name and the file’s name. For example: the URL that user key in is “”, “http” will be the protocol, “” will be the server name and the “web-server.htm” will be the file name.

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After the browser determines which protocol should be used, then the browser will use the DNS system to translate the server name “” into an IP Address, which is use to connect to the server machine. When the browser connects to the correct server, the HTTP protocol will send a GET request to the server and request for the file “web-server.htm”.

While the server gets the “web-server.htm” file, the server will send back the HTML text for the Web page to the browser. Web browser will format the page onto the screen to the user. (Marshall, B., 2000) If the server cannot allocate the file, an error message will send back to the client and inform the client to retry. After the browser get the response from the server, the browser will translates the data to HTML and display for the client in graphic form. (Smith, ud.)

Apache Web Server

According to the research from “”, Apache Web Server is the most popular Web Server in the world. Apache Web Server also can be named as Apache HTTP Server is a most popular web server on the world and it provides access to most of the web sites on the internet. Part of the reason for the public widely use for the Apache HTTP Server is because it is freely available. Besides that, it is reliable and easy to set up and configure. The most important thing is, it can provide most of the requirement for a web site. (Young, 1999)

Apache is developed by a group of about 20 volunteer programmers, called the Apache Group. The first version of Apache Server which developed by the Apache Group is based on the NCSA HTTPd (National Center for Supercomputing Application). Most of the people will think that, this web server will called “Apache” is because it was developed from the existing NCSA code and several of patchy, so it name is called “a patchy server” or Apache Server. (QuinStreet Inc, 2010)

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Apache is an open-source web server platform. Apache Server application is available for a widely popular modern web platforms/operating systems such as UNIX, Microsoft Windows, LINUX, Mac OS X and etc.

Internet Information Server (IIS)

“” also states that, IIS is the second most popular web server which is just behind of the industry leader Apache HTTP Server. IIS can be a web server in your computer which can help you to develop a dynamic website and you can publish the website on your own server.

Different with the Apache, IIS is only used to run on Windows platform which is comes to bundled with Windows NT platforms and above version. Internet Information Services (IIS) has a low system administration cost to help an organization to increase Web site and application availability. (Kranthi KumarVerroju, 2006). Besides that, by using IIS, a set of programs for building and administering Web sites, a search engine, and support for writing Web-based applications that access database will be included by Microsoft. (Dodge, 1999)

In the process of IIS, it is similar with other process of web server. IIS will receive the request from the client and executes the required file and send result back to the client. Besides that, IIS server also provides the services of SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol) and FrontPage server extension. The client can use to send the email and use the dynamic feather like form handler of FrontPage extension. (WikiAnswer, n.d.)

Application of Apache HTTP Server and IIS Web Server

Advantages and Disadvantages of Apache Web Server and IIS Web Server

Advantages for Apache Web Server

Open Source

The reason why Apache Web Server will become the top one web server as per the research in “” in the world is because it is open source software and it is free to download for everyone in the world. Programmers can download the Apache Web Server from the relevant website, view or edit it. The programmer can create a custom solution based on the core Apache program, or add on some feather and function to suit to the business requirement.

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Besides that, programmers who are come from worldwide will constantly contribute to improve the Apache Web Server which is available to use by everyone. Every improvement for the Apache will be upgrade in the official website and the version of the Apache will be updated. User may not need to wait for the full version of the software to be released; it can be installed in its official website as soon as they are available.


Different with others Web Server which having the user support at only one location, Apache Web Server had a large user support community who is spread throughout multiple locations, companies and forums. While you are facing the problem with the feathers of the Apache Web Server, you can post your problem in the relevant webpage or forums, the programmers who are from all around the world will leave you the comment or suggestion to help you to solve your problem. By using this kind of communication, user can obtain the answer from the technician as soon as possible, no matter where they are located.


Apache Web Server is portable software. It can be run on various operating system include Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows and etc. (Arie, 2010)

Disadvantages for Apache Web Server

Compare and Contrast of Apache Web Server and IIS Web Server




OS Support


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