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.