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Learn web servers with online courses and programs

Understanding web servers can provide you with the skills and knowledge to design, deploy, and manage the servers efficiently. Advance your career by learning about web servers with courses delivered through edX.

What are web servers?

Web servers are computer systems used to host, store, manage, and distribute websites, web applications, and other digital content. Web servers use the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) to communicate with web browsers. When a user types in the URL of your website, the browser locates your server, reads the client request, and processes the data.

Web servers are a necessary backbone for countless everyday tasks across the web. They are used to host e-commerce websites, deploy web applications for data management, and to distribute multimedia content like videos and images.

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Web servers tutorial curriculum

Web server courses are available for anyone from beginners to advanced users. It can be beneficial if you have knowledge about internet protocols like HTTP or TCP/IP, as well as a basic grasp of HTML and CSS web design.


An introductory web servers course can cover topics such as: 

  • How web application servers work

  • How HTTP connects servers and browsers

  • How web servers are used

  • What server-side scripting is

  • How to choose a web server for your organization

  • What the differences are between static web servers and dynamic web servers

More advanced courses may include modules on web servers security. For example, you can learn how to protect web servers from vulnerabilities, use a firewall and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and monitor networks to check for unauthorized access.

Some lessons may also require knowledge of programming languages like JavaScript or server-side scripting languages like PHP. Start building the knowledge you need with edX. From accelerated boot camps to comprehensive programs that allow you to earn a bachelor’s degree or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree, there are a range of options available to fit your needs. Busy professionals can take advantage of executive education courses tailored to those in leadership and management positions.

Explore jobs that use web servers

A number of professional roles can utilize web server knowledge including, but are not limited to:

  • Webmasters: Maintain and manage websites, configure settings, monitor performance, and have expertise in web server technologies.Footnote 1

  • Software testers: Evaluate and review the web hosting server’s functionality and ensure that it meets the client’s requirements.Footnote 2

  • Front-end developers: Build the user interface and experience for a website and are usually proficient in HTML, CSS stylesheets, JavaScript, and design principles.Footnote 3

  • Full-stack developers: Design and create both the front-end and back-end of web applications and use a variety of programming languages, web technologies, and frameworks.Footnote 4

For many of these roles, you may need coding knowledge which you can build with coding boot camps delivered through edX. Some employers may also prefer to hire candidates who hold a degree such as a bachelor's degree in computer science. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the roles you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your professional aspirations. 

How to use web servers in your career

Professionals who are responsible for maintaining the health and performance of web servers may need to complete tasks such as configuring web server settings, monitoring running servers, troubleshooting web server issues, and securing web applications against cyberattacks. 

Other duties can include:

  • Collaborating with web developers and designers to ensure web server software designs are optimized for web applications.

  • Communicating with stakeholders, including clients and team members, about web server performance, status, and user experience.

  • Performing routine backups and maintenance tasks to ensure web servers run smoothly.

  • Physically troubleshooting and upgrading server machines and other hardware resources.

  • Setting up Mac web servers and other local web server software models. 

  • Using web hosting dedicated servers, which are apt for more privacy and control.

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