A web server stores and delivers the content for a website – such as text, images, video, and application data – to clients that request it. The most common type of client is a web browser program, which requests data from your website when a user clicks on a link or downloads a document on a page displayed in the browser.

A web server communicates with a web browser using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The content of most web pages is encoded in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). The content can be static (for example, text and images) or dynamic (for example, a computed price or the list of items a customer has marked for purchase). To deliver dynamic content, most web servers support server‑side scripting languages to encode business logic into the communication. Commonly supported languages include Active Server Pages (ASP), Javascript, PHP, Python, and Ruby.

A web server might also cache content to speed delivery of commonly requested content. This process is also known as web acceleration.

A web server can host a single website or multiple websites using the same software and hardware resources, which is known as virtual hosting. Web servers can also limit the speed of response to different clients so as to prevent a single client from dominating resources that are better used to satisfy requests from a large number of clients.

While web servers typically host websites that are accessible on the Internet, they can also be used to communicate between web clients and servers in local area networks such as a company’s intranet. A web server can even be embedded in a device such a digital camera so that the users can communicate with the device via any commonly available Web browser.

How Can NGINX Plus Help?

NGINX Plus and NGINX are the best-in-class load‑balancing solutions used by high‑traffic websites such as Dropbox, Netflix, and Zynga. More than 350 million websites worldwide rely on NGINX Plus and NGINX Open Source to deliver their content quickly, reliably, and securely.

NGINX Plus was developed specifically to solve the speed limitations inherent in web applications and platforms. It combines multiple functions in one flexible, cost‑effective solution for delivering static and dynamic content in a fast and reliable manner that boosts customer satisfaction and revenue: