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Application Server Vs. Web Server

What is an Application Server?

An application server is a software framework, which is dedicated to the efficient execution of programs, routines, or scripts to support the construction of various applications. This term was originally used to describe client-server applications and servers, which ran SQL services and middleware servers, so as to be able to differentiate them from file servers. It was later that the term came to be used in the context of web applications. However, it has evolved into a more comprehensive service layer. An application server is nothing but a set of components, which are accessible to the software developer through an API defined by the platform itself. In web applications, these components are often in the same machine as the web server as its main job is to support the construction of dynamic pages. However, now they do not just target the generation of web pages, they also implement services like clustering, fail-over, and load balancing. Due to this, developers can focus their energies on implementing business logic.

What is a Web Server?

A web server is a computer program which delivers content, like web pages, using the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP), over the World Wide Web. The term may also stand for a computer or a virtual machine, which runs a program. The primary objective of a web server is to deliver web pages to clients. Such a delivery consists of HTML documents or any additional content which may be included in the document, like images, style sheets, and JavaScript. The communication is initiated by the client, commonly called a web browser or web crawler. By making request for a specific bit of information using HTTP, the request is met with a response by the server and the content is sent over. In case of a problem, an error message is sent back. The server also receives content from clients. Such a feature is often used for submitting web forms and for uploading files.

Application Server Vs. Web Server

Like there is confusion about application software and system software, there is also confusion about web servers and application servers. The basic difference between these is that the web server serves pages for viewing in a web browser, whereas an application server gives the required methods that can be called by client applications. In other words, HTTP requests are handled by web servers and business logic is served to application programs through a number of protocols by the application server. In an application server, a client can use GUI’s and web servers, whereas in web servers the client can use HTML or HTTP. If any functionality is to be added, an application adds the same, however, the same is not the case with web servers.