A web server is a computer that stores and serves website files to other computers over the internet. It’s kind of like a library that has all of the books (websites) and gives them to people (computers) who want to read them.
When someone (like you) wants to see a website, your computer sends a request to the web server to give it the website files. The web server then sends those files back to your computer, which displays the website on your screen.
Web servers are an important part of how the internet works, because they help us to access and share information with other people all around the world.
A Simple Analogy
A web server can be thought of as a restaurant’s kitchen. Just like a kitchen receives orders from the waitstaff (client computers), processes them (prepares the food), and sends them back out to the waitstaff to be delivered to the customers (web browsers), a web server receives requests from client computers (via web browsers), processes those requests (such as by retrieving a webpage or data from a database) and sends the resulting data back to the client computer to be displayed in the web browser.
In both cases, the kitchen (web server) is responsible for receiving and fulfilling requests, while the waitstaff (client computers and web browsers) handle the communication with the customers (users).
Bonus: What is web hosting? (Click to Expand)
So if that’s a web server, what’s web hosting? Here’s our super simple explanation!