Web Server


Exhibit 21.3 Dell’s PowerEdge T430 web server.

Web servers are computers that host and serve web pages. They are located by means of an IP (internet protocol) address (e.g. 116.15.164.127).

Most servers use domain names that are easy to recall (e.g. ashokcharan.com) to map IP addresses.

Typing the URL https://www.ashokcharan.com into a browser’s address bar sends a request to the web server whose domain name is ashokcharan.com to serve the default page (e.g. index.html, index.php) to the browser.

A computer can become a web server by installing server software and connecting it to the internet. An old laptop for instance, may be transformed into a server, and one can find instructions on how to do this on the internet. While this may be convenient for learning or testing purposes, commercial servers such as the Dell T430, shown in Exhibit 21.3, tend to be more powerful and heavier duty compared to ordinary personal computers.

The most popular server operating system (OS) is Linux (a Unix-like OS) which comes in a few hundred versions or distributions. Most common among these include Ubuntu, a freeware that is notably easy to use, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) (and its free version CentOS), Fedora (sponsored by RHEL) and Debian, also a free, open-source software, that is reputed to be slow to release new version, and therefore relatively more stable.

Other than Linux, popular server OS include the Windows Server and Mac OS X Server.

Apache, IIS and Nginx are the most widely used web server software.

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