By Stephen Bucaro
A Web server is similar to a LAN server except for the fact that it can be accessed over the
Internet and it runs specific services related to the Internet. The most common service
running on a Web server is Web site hosting service. With Web site hosting service a
Web server can host one or many different web sites. Each Web site will have a different
IP address. The main function of the Web site hosting service is to support Hypertext
Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which serves up Web pages coded with HyperText Markup
When a Web user desires to access a Web site, they do so by entering, into an application
called a Web browser, the IP address of the Web site with the name of the web page they
wish to access, or they can enter the domain name of the Web site with the name of the
Web page. If they enter the domain name, special servers running Domain Name System
(DNS) service will translate the domain name to the IP address.
For example if you enter http://bucarotechelp.com in your Web browser, this sends a request
to a DNS server to translate the domain name bucarotechelp.com to its IP address. The
current IP address related to bucarotechelp.com is 22.214.171.124. A Web site may change
to a different Web site host, and therefore change its IP address, but its domain name
will stay the same. The DNS servers on the Internet will simply update their tables to reflect
the new IP address.
Note that when you enter a Web site's domain name without identifying a specific page,
the Web host service will send the Web site's default Web page (usually named index.html
Most Web servers will also be running File Transfer Protocol (FTP), which allows users to
download files and webmasters to maintain their Web site remotely. Most web servers will
also be running an email protocol such as Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), allowing
the server to send and receive mail messages.
There are several different Web server software applications. The most popular Web server
software is Apache, which is usually run on the Unix or Linux operating system. A close
second popular Web server software is Internet Information Server (IIS) which is usually
run on the Microsoft Windows operating system.
Web server software also supports several programming languages. This allows webmasters
to develop active websites that may generate Web pages “on the fly”, rather than just serve
up static HTML Web pages. The most common programming language used on Apache Web
servers is PHP (which originally stood for Personal Home Page. The most common programming
language used on IIS is Visual Basic, which is used to create Active Server Pages (ASP).