A web server is a computer programs that delivers (serves) content, such as Web pages, using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), over the World Wide Web. The term Web server can also refer to the computer or virtual machine running the program. In large commercial deployments, a server computer running a Web server can be rack-mounted in a server rack or cabinet with other servers to’ operate a Web farm.
Types of Server
Every Web site sits on a computer known as a Web server. This server is always connected to the internet. Every Web server that is connected to the Internet is given a unique address made up of a series of four numbers between 0 and 256 separated by periods. For example; 188.8.131.52 or 184.108.40.206. When you register a Web address, also known as a domain name, you have to specify the IP address of the Web server that will host the site. There are four leading web browsers: Apache, IIS, lighttpd and Jagsaw.
Apache HTTP Server: This is the most popular web server in the world developed by the Apache Software Foundation. Apache web server is an open source software and can be installed on almost all operating systems including Linux, Unix, Windows, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and more. About 60% of the web server machines run the Apache Web Server.
Internet Information Services: The Internet Infonnation Server (lIS) is a high performance Web Server from Microsoft. This web server runs on Windows NT/2000 and 2003 platforms (and may be on upcoming new Windows version also). IIS comes bundled with Windows NT/20aO and 2003; Because IIS is tightly integrated with the operating system so it is relatively easy to administer it.
Lighttpd: The lighttpd, pronounced lighty is also a free web server that is distributed with the FreeBSD operating system. This open source web server is fast, secure and consumes much less CPU power. Lighttpd can also run on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Solaris operating systems.
Sun Java System Web Server: This web server from Sun Microsystems is suited for medium and large web sites. Though the server is free it is not open source. It however, runs on Windows, Linux and UNIX platforms. The Sun Java System web server supports various languages, scripts and technologies required for Web 2.0 such as JSP, Java Servlets, PHP, Perl, Python, and Ruby on Rails, ASP and ColdFusion etc.
Jigsaw Server: Jigsaw (W3C’s Server) comes from the World Wide Web Consortium. It is open source and free and can run on various platforms like Linux, UNIX, Windows, and Mac OS X Free BSD etc. Jigsaw has been written in Java and can run CGI scripts and PHP programs.