What Is A Web Server?
The term web server can refer to either a computer program that is responsible for accepting HTTP requests from clients and serving them HTTP responses along with optional data contents; or a computer that runs a computer program as described above.
In the second case, web servers are computers on the Internet that host websites, serving pages to viewers upon request. This service is referred to as web hosting.
Every web server has a unique address so that other computers connected to the Internet know where to find it on the vast network. The IP (Internet Protocol) address looks something like this: 188.8.131.52. This address maps to a more human friendly address, such as prominentweb.com
Web hosts rent out space on their web servers to people or businesses to set up their own websites. The web server allocates a unique website address to each website it hosts.
When you connect to the Internet, your personal computer also receives a unique IP address assigned by your ISP (Internet service provider). This address identifies your computer’s location on the network. When you click on a link to visit a website, like www.prominentweb.com, your browser sends out a request to prominentweb’s IP address. This request includes return information and functions like a postal letter sent across town, but in this case the information is transferred across a network. This then passes through several computers on the way to prominentweb, each routing it closer to its ultimate destination.
When your request reaches its destination, the web server that hosts prominentweb’s website sends the page in HTML code to your IP address. This information then travels back through the network. Your computer receives the code and your browser interprets the HTML code then displays the page for you in graphic form.
The more powerful the server, the faster it can serve up website pages. High traffic can slow down servers that are not powerful enough to handle high volumes of data exchange.
Theoretically, web servers are always connected to the Internet. In practice, they experience occasional downtime due to maintenance and technical problems.
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