How Web Servers Work

Extras: Dynamic Pages

But what about the Web pages that are dynamic? For example:

  • Any guest book allows you to enter a message in an HTML form, and the next time the guest book is viewed, the page will contain the new entry.
  • The whois form at Network Solutions allows you to enter a domain name on a form, and the page returned is different depending on the domain name entered.
  • Any search engine lets you enter keywords on an HTML form, and then it dynamically creates a page based on the keywords you enter.

In all of these cases, the Web server is not simply "looking up a file." It is actually processing information and generating a page based on the specifics of the query. In almost all cases, the Web server is using something called CGI scripts to accomplish this feat. CGI scripts are a topic unto themselves, and are described in the HowStuffWorks article How CGI Scripting Work.


For more information on Web servers and related topics, check out the links below.

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