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How Web Servers Work

The Basic Process

Let's say that you are sitting at your computer, surfing the Web, and you get a call from a friend who says, "I just read a great article! Type in this URL and check it out. It's at https://www.howstuffworks.com/web-server.htm." So you type that URL into your browser and press return. And magically, no matter where in the world that URL lives, the page pops up on your screen.

At the most basic level possible, the following diagram shows the steps that brought that page to your screen:

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Your browser formed a connection to a Web server, requested a page and received it.

On the next page, we'll dig a bit deeper.

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