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All About Web Servers

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I''m a C/C++ programmer looking to learn more about webdev in general. I''m having a tough time finding answers to some pretty basic questions, so maybe you all could help me some. I understand that one way to have your own website is to host it yourself which involves having your own web server installed on the host machine. This is the approach I am inquiring about as going through an outside hosting service does not interest me, even if it is cheaper. I also understand that the web server''s function is to communicate with web browsers in sending them the website''s HTML and other resources. 1. Let''s say my host machine (hardware server) has a database on it as well as several other server-side programs that will all interact with client-side programs downloaded by the users from our site. Do the client applications communicate to their server counterparts *through* the web server? That is - does the webserver also act as a bottleneck-middleman through which all incoming/outgoing information (regardless of code; HTML, SQL, etc.) is transmitted? 2. I''ve heard Apache (though free and Windows-configurable) is primarily for Linux platforms, and that it doesn''t handle well under heavy traffic stress. Since I am interested in Windows as a platform, I have heard that Microsoft''s IIS web server is much more desirable. Does anyone know where I can find an easy-to-understand features list of the IIS, and does anybody know if one can purchase IIS independent of Server 2003? Price with commercial license? Thanks! Foogal

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Hi there!

1.) Yes, every single package has to pass the WebServer first (because he''s the one that forwards it to the specific plugins / servlets / extensions / whatever you have).

2.) I don''t know what "heavy traffic" is for you. As a "normal" home-webserver Apache should do well. And if you''re planning to build up a huge server providing several services to thousands of users at a time, you might probably consider hiring a company for that purpose

Features-list of IIS: try google on that one. I''m pretty sure you
''ll find something useful
Same goes for price (although a commercial license won''t be cheap, I guess).

Hope that helped a little!


Indeterminatus

--si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses--

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oh yeah and I would consider a Unix-based system (such as Linux) having as OS on the Server. Sure there are people who do not take Linux for a good desktop environment - but as Server it''s better than Windows - I''m convinced. No offense, don''t want to reactivate the old "Linux vs. Windows" topic, so please don''t start flaming... Gotta go to bed now. Nightynight!



Indeterminatus

--si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses--

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quote:
Original post by Foogal
1. Let''s say my host machine (hardware server) has a database on it as well as several other server-side programs that will all interact with client-side programs downloaded by the users from our site. Do the client applications communicate to their server counterparts *through* the web server? That is - does the webserver also act as a bottleneck-middleman through which all incoming/outgoing information (regardless of code; HTML, SQL, etc.) is transmitted?



It depends. If you''re describing a user accessing the website to download a separate program that tries to access a different server program on your host, then no. If it''s something like dynamically generated PHP pages that access SQL on your host, then yes.
The user''s system does not necessarily have to connect to the webserver program to access other server programs, it could just connect straight to the other server program which should be on a different port than HTTP server.
There''s all sort of different ways to set these things up.

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Yeah, you''re right, Doc. I forgot to mention that. Assumed that everything would go via HTTP and only one webserver listening......something that''s quite rare in daily life, afaik (since most servers on the net are "multi-purposed" acting as router, ftp / http server and so on).



Indeterminatus

--si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses--

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Hi!

Indeterminatus & Doc -- thank you both so much for the thorough responses. I am only now just learning PHP/MySQL, and so there was one area of your post, Doc, that I am uncertain about and perhaps you (or anyone else) could be so kind as to fill me in:

Doc:
"...if it''s something like dynamically generated PHP pages that access SQL on your host, then yes."

1. What do you mean by "dynamically generated" PHP "pages"?

2. I thought SQL was a programming language, or did you mean the database that runs on SQL?

3. Why would this (above) setup be implemented differently than a client accessing another server on my host?

Also, more "in-general" questions:
4. If I wanted "http://www.foogal.com," what else besides a web server and a registered domain name would I need (and besides a website with content!)?

5. Where do domain name registration firms get the privilege to sell/delegate domain names from?

6. Why did Indeterminatus suggest I go with professional company if I am expecting high-traffic volume to my site? Is it because I would need: (a) highspeed internet connections like T-1/T-3 lines, (b) severs with massive databases and other permanent memory storage devices, and (c) state of the art security and net administration technolgies, just to name a few? Or is it something less obvious? :-)

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quote:
Original post by Foogal
Hi!

Indeterminatus & Doc -- thank you both so much for the thorough responses. I am only now just learning PHP/MySQL, and so there was one area of your post, Doc, that I am uncertain about and perhaps you (or anyone else) could be so kind as to fill me in:

Doc:
"...if it''s something like dynamically generated PHP pages that access SQL on your host, then yes."

1. What do you mean by "dynamically generated" PHP "pages"?


Pages that are created on the fly by a script, this is an example:
load_data_from_db();
print_data();
print_some_static_data();

yey :D

quote:
Original post by Foogal
Also, more "in-general" questions:
4. If I wanted "http://www.foogal.com," what else besides a web server and a registered domain name would I need (and besides a website with content!)?


Nothing?

quote:
Original post by Foogal
5. Where do domain name registration firms get the privilege to sell/delegate domain names from?


The guys that own the internet, Bill Gates, God and some more. Or alternatively the NIC of the second level domains.

quote:
Original post by Foogal
6. Why did Indeterminatus suggest I go with professional company if I am expecting high-traffic volume to my site? Is it because I would need: (a) highspeed internet connections like T-1/T-3 lines, (b) severs with massive databases and other permanent memory storage devices, and (c) state of the art security and net administration technolgies, just to name a few? Or is it something less obvious? :-)


T-3 is enough for a home site with maybe 3 visitors a year, for something with more traffic you''ll need an OC-255 or the like.

Hardware is nothing you can''t buy yourself, but the administration and security they provide will be invaluable. Just think about it, what would you do if you got DDoSed by the hackers on Slashdot?

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quote:

4. If I wanted "http://www.foogal.com," what else besides a web server and a registered domain name would I need (and besides a website with content!)?


You''ll also need DNS (Domain Name Server I believe), but many domain name registration firms will provide this service.

quote:

2. I thought SQL was a programming language, or did you mean the database that runs on SQL?


An SQL database, a common one being mySQL.

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quote:
Original post by Leffe
T-3 is enough for a home site with maybe 3 visitors a year, for something with more traffic you''ll need an OC-255 or the like.



A T3 is a metric crapload of bandwidth.

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