Application Server: Understanding Their Role In Modern Tech

6 min read

Applications exist in a variety of sizes, forms, and use cases. An Application server is a powerful component that provides app resources to clients and web browsers in a world in which we rely on many App servers to serve as platforms to install, run, and host programs.

The number of apps delivered to the internet increased dramatically in the early days of server applications. With the need for adding a growing number of functions to the program, such applications grew in size and complexity to operate and maintain. There was a requirement for some form of network program that would exchange application abilities effectively and coordinately.

Continue reading to learn more about app servers and what are the primary roles of these server applications.

What is an Application Server?

A recent type of platform software is a server application. It is the software that sits between the computer’s operating system (OS) on one side, outside resources (like the database management system [DBMS], telecommunications and internet services) on the other, and user-facing applications on the third. The app server’s job is to serve as the host (or container) for the user’s company logic while simplifying access to and execution of the business application.

The app server has to operate despite the fluctuating and competing visitors of client inquiries, software, and hardware failures, the dispersed nature of larger-scale programs, and the potential variation of information and computational resources required to meet the applications’ company standards.

A luxurious online transaction-processing-style app server ensures the performance, accessibility, and integrity of corporate applications. An app server additionally supports numerous application design patterns, depending on the type of business app and industry standards for which the program was created.

It often supports a variety of programming dialects and deployment systems. However, most prefer one or two of them. Some app servers, such as Java Business Edition (Java EE), implementing standard app interfaces and ports, are wholly proprietary.

What Does an App Server Work?

To properly grasp an app server’s overall operation, it’s vital to understand its role in a network. It is ranked with each customer and the database. It accepts and answers HTTP queries but may also issue servlet queries and handle the results.

One of the primary distinctions between an app browser and a web server is this. We go into further detail on how the two approaches vary in the pairing of web servers and app servers. An application server software and a web server collaborate in the following ways:

  • A user wishes to access a website. They launch a browser and go to the webpage.
  • The request generated by the HTTP protocol is forwarded to the web server, which processes it and provides the requested webpage to the client. It does so as long as the queries are static.
  • The technique is the same if a tool that interacts exists instead, but the website’s server will not directly print the result.
  • You can send the query to the database.
  • The database server executes the request and returns to the app server with a servlet reply.
  • The server application finally delivers the servlet form to the web server. Then the reply converts to HTTP and becomes available to the client.

As we observe, they usually connect with the webserver to serve any client requests. The client initially sends a demand to the web server. Then, the web server forwards it to the middle tier, the app server software, which obtains information from the third tier (e.g., the database server) and passes it back to the website server.

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What Are the Main Uses of Application Servers?

It enables clients to handle requests by linking to the database and sending data to web servers.

The following are the primary functions of the application server:

  • A technique for minimizing client program complexity and size.
  • For the requirement to cache and manage data flow to improve performance.
  • A method for implementing data and end-user traffic security.

What Are the Main Advantages of App Servers?

What Are the Main Advantages of App Servers

Here are the main advantages of  using an application server:

  • Provides a framework for managing all components and operating services, such as session management and synchronous and asynchronous client alerts.
  • It becomes straightforward to install programs in one location.
  • Any configuration change, such as altering the Database server, arises centrally from a single place.
  • They make it simple to deliver patches and security upgrades
  • It allows you to route requests to other servers according to their availability. Load balancing employs this process to accomplish.
  • It ensures the security of applications.
  • The Server Application allows fault tolerance by allowing for recovery/failover recovery.
  • It saves us a lot of time if we manually install a duplicate of settings on each machine.
  • It has transaction support.
  • Because it is on the client-server concept, the app server dramatically enhances the performance of applications.

Understanding these app’s server advantages gives insight into the real-life applications of a web app architecture, demonstrating how many components collaborate in order to build resilient, scalable, and efficient online applications.

Businesses may construct safe apps by streamlining the development process and improving the scalability of the app servers. Moreover, if you want to learn more about the fundamental framework of these apps, check out our page on what is web application design for a thorough explanation.

Also Read: Cloud Based Server Cost: Tips For Budget Friendly Solutions

What Are the Main Drawbacks of App Servers?

However, there are several drawbacks to employing an application server. The following are noteworthy:

  • Additional Expenses

The setup and upkeep of an app server are both costly and time-consuming. You should think about if the implementation is essential. You must address the additional expenses in this scenario.

  • Delays Are Possible.

Delays in the setting up of an app server are possible. It is particularly true if the setup is carried out behind a firewall.

  • Programming That Is Demanding

An app server has more programming needs. As a result, prior experience and expertise are desirable.

  • Bandwidth

You can use numerous big applications concurrently. Moreover, the speed and general efficiency suffer when multiple people use them.

  • Problems And Glitches Have An Impact.

While bundling is a benefit of utilizing an app server, it also magnifies difficulties and bugs. Because many customers rely on a single origin, issues with a single software component affect many participants. Such problems frequently have more intricate solutions.

Why Do We Need App Servers?

Every day, trillions of web clients send HTTP requests, anticipating rapid entry to you-name-the-app. Whether it’s Head Space for the morning ritual, Google Documents for the lengthy report, or Twitter marketing during a cup of Java, the program is being retrieved from an app server and presented via the internet.

Web servers are in charge of replying to HTTP requests from web clients. The web server layout, in contrast to app servers, is small enough to handle static data queries for various apps (or websites) while preserving security. Dynamic demands, frequently in the form of programs, need further help.

Examples of App Servers

Examples of App Servers

There are several application servers to select from. Among the most well-known and popular sellers and models are:

  • Apache Geronimo: Java EE-compatible
  • For Servlets or JavaServer Pages (JSP), use Apache Tomcat.
  • ColdFusion is the first application server.
  • GlassFish is a freely available Java EE solution.
  • Jetty is a JSP and servlet container.
  • Resin is a Java and PHP5 framework.
  • WEBrick: Ruby-based solution
  • Zope is a Python-based server application.

Web Server Vs. App Server

A Web server’s primary role is to receive and fulfill client requests for static material from an online presence (HTML pages, files, photos, footage, and so on). The client is usually a browser or smartphone app, and the request, like the web server’s response, takes the shape of the HTTP protocol message.

The primary goal of an app server is to give its clients access to what is usually referred to as business logic, which provides dynamic content, that is, code that changes data to provide the specific functionality offered by an organization, service, or application. Clients of an app server are frequently programs themselves and may include website servers and other software servers. HTTP messages may be used to communicate between the app’s server and its users, although this is unnecessary, as it is for websites and their customers. Many more protocols, especially CGI versions, are widely used.

Read More: Web Server VS Application Server | Understanding The Differences


As the app server market evolves, high performance becomes a more critical requirement, and suppliers that now provide extensions to app servers, such as severe transaction processing and event-based processor capabilities, have been included in this market category.

An application server simplifies creating, implementing, and maintaining commercial applications and online services by providing scalability, performance enhancement, and strong security. Developers may focus on designing application features and business logic by deploying app servers, resulting in improved efficiency and more effective resource use.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q#1: What Is An Example Of An Application Server?

Today, a large number of app servers are in use. Here are some of the examples:

  • Weblogic (JBoss)
  • Websphere
  • Apache Glassfish Tcat Server Geronimo
  • Oracle OC4J JRun
  • SAP Sun GlassFish Corporate Server AS Netweaver
  • Sybase Enterprise app Server

Q#2: Is Windows An Application Server?

Microsoft’s .NET Framework capabilities act as an app server for its middle-tier services and applications architecture in the Windows Server OS and the .NET Framework capabilities. The Windows App Server role includes IIS, or Internet Information Services, to offer web server capability.

Q#3: Why Is Application Server Used?

Application servers are intended to supply the essentials that applications require to be effective and efficient. Security, enhanced availability, complicated use of databases, transaction assistance, and email services are some services offered by applications.

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