Log in from a computer to take this course

You'll need to log in from a computer to start Learn Node.js. But you can practice or keep up your coding streak with the Codecademy Go app. Download the app to get started.

apple storegoogle store
Learn

We talked about how the front-end consists of the information sent to a client so that a user can see and interact with a website, but where does the information come from? The answer is a web server.

The word “server” can mean a lot of things in computing, but we’re going to focus on web servers specifically. A web server is a process running on a computer that listens for incoming requests for information over the internet and sends back responses. Each time a user navigates to a website on their browser, the browser makes a request to the web server of that website. Every website has at least one web server. A large company like Facebook has thousands of powerful computers running web servers in facilities located all around the world which are listening for requests, but we could also run a simple web server from our own computer!

The specific format of a request (and the resulting response) is called the protocol. You might be familiar with the protocol used to access websites: HTTP. When a visitor navigates to a website on their browser, similarly to how one places an order for takeout, they make an HTTP request for the resources that make up that site.

For the simplest websites, a client makes a single request. The web server receives that request and sends the client a response containing everything needed to view the website. This is called a static website. This doesn’t mean the website is not interactive. As with the individual static assets, a website is static because once those files are received, they don’t change or move. A static website might be a good choice for a simple personal website with a short bio and family photos. A user navigating Twitter, however, wants access to new content as it’s created, which a static website couldn’t provide.

A static website is like ordering takeout, but modern web applications are like dining in person at a sit-down restaurant. A restaurant patron might order drinks, different courses, make substitutions, or ask questions of the waiter. To accomplish this level of complexity, an equally complex back-end is required.

Take this course for free

Mini Info Outline Icon
By signing up for Codecademy, you agree to Codecademy's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Or sign up using:

Already have an account?