Welcome to the Server-side
For students who have taken Creating, Styling, and Validating Web Forms
If you have already taken our Creating, Styling, and Validating Web Forms course, the rest of the content in this reading will be familiar to you. You are welcome to review it or skip ahead to the next activity.
What is a web server?
Dynamic websites are websites that do more than just fetch and return files. They have software on the server that reviews the client request before deciding what to do. Depending on the client request, the server may just return a static file or it may perform any number of processes on the server before returning a dynamically created file to the client. Here are some examples of what a dynamic site might do when it receives a request:
- Perform a database search and return a list of search results.
- Log a user into a website by checking the database for the user's credentials.
- Redirect the user to a login page if the user requests a members-only page.
- Record a user's support request in a database, email the user a friendly "we-will-be-in-touch-soon" message and the auto-generated support ticket number, email the support team letting them know a new request has come in, and return a dynamically created HTML page with a friendly "we-will-be-in-touch-soon" message and the auto-generated support ticket number.
Web servers can have access to all sorts of software on the computer on which they sit and can even reach across networks to make requests of other servers, so the variety of tasks they can perform is infinite. Follow the numbers in the diagram below to see how a dynamic website works:
At the time of this writing, are:
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