[thelist] Whats the difference between an Application Server and a Web Server?

Chris Johnston fuzzylizard at gmail.com
Fri Dec 2 16:15:54 CST 2005

On 12/2/05, Manektala, Udit <Udit.Manektala at pioneer.com> wrote:
> Whats the difference between an Application Server and a Web Server?
> So an app Server handles the middle-tier business logic and the web
> server only handles the web requests. Is that right?. So is Apache
> TomCat a Web Server or a an App Server?..coz Apache has what they call
> an HTTP Server, which im presuming is a Web Server, so then whats the
> difference between Tomcat and the Apache HTTP Server ?. The definition
> for Tomcat says it is a servlet container which confuses me even more..
> is this a third category altogether or is it a polite way of saying "App
> Server for J2EE" ?
Tomcat is a servlet container. This means that it can server up Java/J2EE
Servlets and JSP pages. However, Tomcat also contains a web server so it can
also serve up static html pages.

Application Server usually refers to a server that is able to handle the
entire J2EE specification (JSP, Servlets, EJBs, etc). Most Application
Servers also contain web servers.

My definition of a web server is something that is able to respond to http
requests over tcp/ip and server up static html pages along with graphics.
This is what Apache's HTTP server does. All it servers is HTML pages and
really nothing else. If you want php or Perl, you need to add components to

This is a very quick explanation. Hope it helps,



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