A web server accepts and fulfills requests from clients for static content (i.e., HTML pages, files, images, and videos) from a website. Web servers handle HTTP requests and responses only.
An application server exposes business logic to the clients, which generates dynamic content. It is a software framework that transforms data to provide the specialized functionality offered by a business, service, or application. Application servers enhance the interactive parts of a website that can appear differently depending on the context of the request.
The illustration below highlights the difference in their architecture:
The columns below summarize the key differences between the two types of servers:
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