I have been through most of what you need to know to understand how you
view a page on the internet. You should by now appreciate that a client pc
request a page they may want to look at and that a server computer somewhere
on the internet sends the file (webpage that is asked for back to the client.
I now want to go into a bit more detail about the processes the webserver goes through to make this happen. And talk about what you would need to set one up yourself.
What they are
A webserver has both hardware and software so its a computer running a piece of software (a web server application) that sits on the internet with a load of webpages on it waiting (listening)for requests from other clients on the internet it then serves up the files that are asked for. Er thats it.
What software applications are available
THe big noise in webservers . is Apache, 70% of webservers use it Apache has some advantages over its competitors.
- Its free, well opensource which is free as near as makes no difference. Its written for nerds by nerds it is a development of the first webserver built bt Tim Berners Lee (Internet Godfather). It is called Apache because as it was developed it was modified (patched) a lot and so we ended up with "a patchy" server.
- It will run on many different operating system. Windows, Mac OS, Unix, Linux there are versions for most every computer you might want to use as a web server.
- Server speed is no problem. It will run well on a pretty poor pentium 3 which is a machine that was state of the art in about 1997.
- 4Mb of memory is enough a bit more is probably better.
- Spports all major database (dynamic)
- It is rock solid on most platforms, It does not crash much, Good.
Predictaly Microsoft have a poduct IIS (Internet Information Services) this is included with windows so again to a lot of people it is "free" IIS is the other major player.
- Microsoft specify a 550Mz processor for IIS so it does need a faster machine than Apache but you would do well to buy a machine this slow these days
- IIS needs 512Mb of memory most of that is probably needed for windows
- IIs runs on windows boxes. Er thats it.
- Supports all major dynamic (database) components. Except microsoft .net framework. More on these later.
- Again later versions are rock solid
- In summary both good. If you have a windows box IIS might be the one. Otherwise Apache runing on a unix or linux box with there proven security record has the security edge at least until Vista appears.