Web Server vs Database Server
A Web Server and a Database Server is something that’s been confused by a lot of people. This is because, as an overview, most people find them to serve similar purposes. In essence, both Database server and Web server provides services to facilitate the infrastructure underlying the internet. We will talk about these separately and identify the difference between them.
A web server can be either a software unit or a hardware unit. We will talk about both of these counterparts together. In layman’s terms, a web server is a place where you store the content of a website. When you type in www.differencebetween.com in your web browser, the address gets translated to the IP address of the server where the files of the DB are stored. This storage facility is in essence the web server and facilitates serving dynamic HTML content to any client who is requesting it.
The history of the web servers run back to 1990, when Tim Berners Lee coded the first ever web browser and the web server. This was called CERN htttpd, and facilitated the ease of use of internet. The idea behind it was to create a mechanism to exchange data between a web server and a web browser in a convenient and consistent manner. Thus, the communication happens through HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) calls. In late 1994s, Tim Barnes Lee constituted World Wide Web Consortium in order to regulate and standardize the development of web technologies including web servers.
With the recent developments, Web Server can serve dynamic content using server side scripting languages like PHP, ASP or JSP, as well. They serve a variety of clients including web browsers of the PCs, routers, printers, web cams etc. Another feature that can be seen in the web servers is the ability to acquire information from the clients using mechanisms such as forms or uploading. For instance, when you comment on this article, the web server acquires the content you used to comment and stores it.
A database server is more of a software component than a hardware component. It can provide database services to other programs residing in the same computer or any other network. A database server works in the client-server architecture, and this is ensured by the Database Management System you use. Thus, a database server is always ready to offer information sought by its clients.
There are some distinct advantages of using a database server like being able to store all the data in one location, the ability to manage the security measurements seamlessly, the added advantage of the database management services, the ability to access the database simultaneously etc. Most importantly, a database server ensures fast update and retrieval of your data, which is integral for the performance. Thus, a database server is inherently more efficient and effective than a simple file server used to store data.
A database server and a web server offer different services although they seem to do the same. If you look closely, you can identify instances of them working together. Look at a scenario like this. You check the differencebetween.com and want to find out the articles written by a specific writer. When you first type in the address, the HTTP request is received by the web server, and it provides the HTML page you see as the home page of DB. When you click on a specific writer to retrieve his articles, the scripting language that is used in the web server (PHP/ASP or JSP) accesses the database server using the language of the database (MySQL/ MSSQL or Oracle) to retrieve and deliver the necessary content to the web server. The web server then sends this information to you via HTTP using HTML.
Thus in summary, a database server deals with databases while the web server deals with serving static or dynamic content as web pages to clients.