Despite being called two different things, application server and web server, these two terms are continuously mistaken for each other by website users every day. In fact, they aren’t entirely different, though they are still unique and important in their own right, which is why they must be recognised as individual components. 

What is a web server?

The web server is implemented to handle all requests from clients for static content from a website to the web browser – with a few key examples including HTML pages, files and images. This is often completed with the use of an HTTP request, at which point it will respond with an HTTP response such as the examples made above. 

When looking at web servers to host websites, there are several options available depending on your specific requirements, most notably, the resources needed. In this instance, you must research the most suitable plan for you, where managed services might be ideal to ensure the best results.

What is an application server?

The application server operates hand in hand with the web server, where it provides access to business logic for the use of client application programmes – ultimately meaning whatever the web server can do, so can the application server. However, the key difference is that the application server creates dynamic content, which can sometimes take the form of the popular HTTP messages, but it’s not necessarily required due to other prototypes being implemented. 

How they work together

If you haven’t worked out already, the web server and application server work together to guarantee that all of the content stored within these managed servers are displayed dynamically. It’s often the case that a reverse proxy or load balancer will be the front face of these servers, at which point the two operating systems will analyse the type of content being requested, as well as the configured load balance algorithm. 

The content is then displayed in the appropriate approach on your web browser – all of which is conducted in a matter of seconds so that the website that you are attempting to reach is visible for you to access. 


  • The web server without an application server

To give you a better understanding of how the web application and server function work, we have created this guide featuring the different operations that you can see the differences, as well as making it obvious of how each server she is used in regards to their difference.

Starting with using a web server without the application for an online store, the web server will have the capability to provide the store’s functionality such as the pricing using a flat file or database. In the example of the store, the server-side programming will look up pricing information and formulate it using an HTML. 

  • The web server with an application server

Continuing with the same example of an online store, the application server is implemented to adapt and improve the quality of the online store. Using business logic for the pricing price once more, the script that is usually already loaded can contact the application server so that the information generated is much more refreshing, as well as reusable between applications. 

Require assistance from an expert?

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