A server is a central repository where data and computer programs are stored and accessed by the clients in the network. Web server and Application server are types of the server where former is used to deliver web pages, and the latter handles all application operations between users an organisation’s back-end business applications or databases.
A Web Server is a program that accepts requests for information and sends the required documents. An application server could be a program or a computer running a program in a distributed network.
Content: Web server and Application server
|Basis for comparison||Web server||Application server|
|Basic||Web servers are suitable for static content.||Application servers are suitable for dynamic content.|
|Features||Contain only web or servlet container and cant be used for EJB.||Could contain a web server as an integral part of them and also contain web and EJB containers.|
|Supports scripting languages through plugins such as Perl, PHP, ASP, JSP etc.||Supports application level services such as connection pooling, object pooling, transaction support, messaging services etc.|
|Multithreading||Not supported||Supports multithreading|
|Uses||HTML and HTTP||Graphical user interface, HTTP, RPC/RMI.|
|Provides environment to run||Web application||Enterprise application|
Definition of Web server
A web browser present at the client side usually initiates communication by sending a request for the specific web content using HTTP request. Then the web server sends the response along with content. In case of error occurrence, the server sends the error message. A web server can also receive contents from the client side, for example uploading files.
Definition of Application server
An application server is software framework dedicated to the efficient execution of programs, routines as scripts to supports the construction of various applications. It serves both types of applications, web-based applications and enterprise based applications. An application server may contain web servers, that is the reason it is considered more superior than a web server.
It is 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 on the same machine as the web server as its main job is to support the construction of dynamic pages. It not only targets generation of web pages, but it also employs services like clustering failover and load balancing which facilitates developers to invest all the focus on implementing business logic.
Key Differences Between Web server and Application server
- Web servers are suitable for static content whereas application servers are appropriate for the dynamic content.
- Web servers support scripting languages like Perl, PHP, ASP, JSP, etc. As against, application server supports scripting languages as well as application level services such as connection pooling, object pooling, transaction support, messaging services etc.
- Application server contains web and EJB containers and a web server as an incorporated part of them. In contrast, a web server only contains web or servlet container and can employ EJB.
- Web server does not support multithreading whereas application server supports multithreading and distributed transaction.
- Web server uses HTML and HTTP protocol. On the other hand, the application server could use graphical user interface and protocols like RPC/RMI including HTTP.
- Load Limit or capacity is higher in case of the application server as compared to the web server.
- The web server provides an environment to run a web application and features like caching and scalability. On the contrary, the application server provides an environment to run web with enterprise applications.
Web servers are primarily designed to serve HTTP content whereas Application server can also serve HTTP content but is not restricted to just HTTP and supports protocol such as RMI/RPC. An application server can contain web server in it, which means it can perform operations performed by a web server as well as it has additional components and features to support connection pooling, object pooling, transaction support, messaging services, etcetera.