Web Server

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A Web Server is the combination of computer hardware and computer software which can serve web pages to a Web Browser.

Almost any computer equipment (hardware) can act as a web server. Because of the ubiquity of the web browser, most server hardware also contain small web servers, e.g.

  • Firewall hardware
  • Load balancing hardware
  • Personal home router
  • Networking switches

However, for most intents and purposes, a dedicated web server consists of:

  • Server hardware (from HP, Dell, IBM, Sun, Apple, etc.)
  • An operating system (Linux, NetBSD, FreeBSD, Debian, Mandrake, Windows Server, etc.)
  • Web server software (Apache, or Microsoft Internet Information Server)

Note that a web server can refer to the hardware/software platform to deliver web pages to a Web browser, or just the software itself.