What Is An Application Server?

Java-Based, Microsoft Windows and Others

Man looking at wall of servers
What Is an Application Server?. Colorblind / Getty Images

Question:

What is an application server?

Answer:

In computer networking, an application server supplies shared capabilities to software applications on client server networks. Popular types of application servers, software applications in their own right, fall into three categories:

  • Java-based, including Oracle WebLogic and IBM WebSphere (supporting the database and the Web client)
  • Microsoft Windows Server-based
  • Others, often built using open source technologies

The purpose of an application server is to provide software abstractions for commonly used services. Many application ​servers accept network requests from Web browsers and manage connections to large databases. Typically found in business environments, application servers often run on the same network hardware as Web servers. Some application servers also handle things like load-balancing (distributing the workload) and failover (automatically switching to a standby system if the current application fails).