Websites and web systems consist of many hardware and software such as mail servers, web servers, web application servers, database servers, and transaction servers.
The word “server” is used in both hardware and software, but do you know what the differences are between servers?
The server software ” Web application server ” is one of the components called Web 3-tier configuration, and plays an important role in a website that processes a large number of requests at high speed.
This time, we will introduce the outline and mechanism of the Web application server, the differences from the Web server, and the merits.
table of contents
- 1. What is a web application server?
- 2. Differences between web application servers and web servers
- 3. How the web application server works
- 4. Benefits of web application server
- 5. Aim for a quick response with a 3-layer Web application server
What is a web application server?
One of the reasons why servers are difficult to understand is that they have both hardware and software meanings. What kind of function does the Web application server provide in the configuration of the website?
When you hear the word server, you might imagine a large group of computers in a cool server room. It’s a server, of course, but a web application server is a piece of software. Refers to an application server that uses a web browser.
The server software has a function that connects users with business systems such as databases. As of 2017, Web application servers are the mainstream of server software.
The basic functions of the Web application server are dynamic processing such as database connection control, security management, and user authentication processing. It is mainly used in business systems within companies, ordering systems for online shops, and websites that generate a lot of dynamic processing such as electronic commerce between companies.
Differences between web application servers and web servers
Web application servers and web servers are often confused because they have many similar names and functions. I will explain the functional difference between the two servers.
Websites are requested by users from web browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. For example, a request to “view company information” or a request to “view a list of products with a narrowed brand name or size” for apparel e-commerce sites.
When the webserver accepts the request, it returns the result to the web browser. If it is a static page with only text information such as a company profile page, data such as HTML, CSS, and images will be sent as it is.
On the other hand, if the received content is dynamic processing such as narrowing down the brand name or size, the Web server requests the processing request from the Web application server and sends the returned processing as data to the Web browser as well.
Well-known Web servers include the open-source “Apache HTTP Server” and “Nginx”, and “Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS)” provided by Microsoft.
● Web application server
The web application server processes the requests received from the web server by executing programming languages such as Java, PHP, and Ruby. Then, the result of the execution is returned to the Web server.
The open-source “Apache Tomcat” is famous for Java application servers. “Apache Tomcat” is one of the servlet containers that run Java Servlet, but it is also widely used because it also functions as a simple Web server.
How the web application server works
We will introduce an overview of the Web3 layer configuration adopted by many websites and Web systems and the mechanism of the Web application server.
● 3-layer configuration
The three-tier structure is also called a “three-tier system” or “Web three-tier structure”.
The web server is on the front end and is the server that interacts directly with the user. It accepts and processes the content requested by the user from the web browser.
<Web application server>
The web application server processes requests from the web server by executing Java, Ruby, PHP, etc. In some cases, it accesses the database and requests data.
The database is a backend that mainly manages data and stores user data and product data required for websites. The web application accesses the database and performs the necessary data extraction and processing.
● 2-layer configuration
The two-layer configuration was a method that was often used in websites and web systems before the three-layer configuration became mainstream. There is no web application server in the two-layer structure, business logic is implemented on the user side and backend side, and the webserver performs all processing including processing such as Java, PHP, Ruby, etc…
Benefits of web application server
What are the merits of building a Web system that uses a Web application server?
● Easy to install and maintain
In the previous system, when a new user was added or a PC was replaced, it was necessary to install a new system for each PC. However, by utilizing the Web system, it is no longer necessary to install it on the PC used by the user, and the system can be used simply by connecting to the Internet environment from a PC equipped with a Web browser.
During the system maintenance, all previously installed PCs had to be updated. However, changes and updates need only be made to the web server, web application server, and database, making operational work easier.
● Reduces the load of information processing
With the widespread use of smartphones and tablets, users have more opportunities to access websites and web systems daily. As a result, today’s websites and web systems need to efficiently handle large numbers of requests and return responses.
In the conventional two-layer structure, the Web server handles everything from receiving requests to processing information. As a result, the load on the webserver was overloaded, and the problem was that the response was slow and the webserver stopped. Therefore, by separating the Web server and the Web application server, the information processing load on the Web server can be reduced and a large amount of processing can be performed efficiently.
The speed at which information is processed also affects the conversion rate and bounce rate of your website. Improving response speed is essential for website operations.
Aiming for a quick response with a 3-layer Web application server
In addition to improving response speed by reducing the load of information processing, Web application servers have many advantages such as ease of installation and maintenance.
If you’re building a good website but still have problems with slow response speeds, low bounce rates, low conversion rates, etc., you may still be using a two-tier structure. ..
Let’s check the server and modify it to a three-tiered website that utilizes the web application server.
Also, when developing a new website, utilize the web application server and aim for a high-quality site with fast response speed.
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