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Web Servers and URLs. And Domain Names. WWW vs. Internet. World Wide Web. Internet. Existed before the WWW Refers mostly to physical network, i.e., hardware, computers, etc. Network of Network concept Unique features TCP/IP protocol Packet Switching.

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web servers and urls

Web Servers and URLs

And Domain Names

www vs internet
WWW vs. Internet

World Wide Web


Existed before the WWW

Refers mostly to physical network, i.e., hardware, computers, etc.

Network of Network concept

Unique features

TCP/IP protocol

Packet Switching

  • An application layer built using the Internet
  • Refers mostly to protocols and content
    • http
    • ftp
    • Email: pop, imail, etc.
  • Anything accessible via a URL.
mac address vs ip address
MAC Address vs. IP Address
  • On a network, a device has a unique manufactures address.
  • Via TCP/IP an IP Address is “mapped” to specific MAC addresses, specific device.
  • The IP Address is like an extended zip code (12211-1462) that helps “find” a device on the Internet.
ip address vs url
IP Address vs. URL
  • IP Address can only specify a device.
  • A URL (uniform resource locator) specifies a device, an application protocol, and the file location of a resource.
  • http://www.cs.siena.edu/facilities/map.jpg

Folder Path

File Name


Server Name


Domain Name


important www protocols
Important WWW protocols
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP): Early file sharing
  • Telnet: Early remote access
  • POP, SMTP, IMAP, MIME: Electronic Mail
  • Modern Protocols:
    • Gnutella
    • Bit Torrent
  • Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http)
    • Secure http (encrypted http)
client server model of www
Client-Server model of WWW
  • Client: Web Browser, i.e., Firefox
  • Client connects to Server
  • Requests a web page
  • Uses a URL to make the request.
  • Sends request over the Internet.
  • Server: Web Server, i.e., Apache.
  • Daemon process (constantly running) listens for web page requests.
  • Responds by sending web page (or resource) over the Internet.
web servers
Web Servers
  • Apache – Made by an open source foundation, i.e, it’s free! 50% of the web servers in the world.
  • Microsoft IIS – 34% market share
  • Google GWS – 5%
  • Sun Java System – Once great…now hardly used.
anatomy of a web server http host
Anatomy of a Web Server (http host)
  • Can be any computer. Apache can run on a PS3.
  • Computer needs Internet connectivity and a static IP address
    • It helps to have a domain name, but it’s not necessary
  • RAM and multiple processors are important.
  • FYI: Getting a static IP address is the big cost ($50/month minimum). Most ISPs don’t give you a static IP address for nothing.
domain names and dns
Domain Names and DNS
  • Domain Name System (DNS) refers to the hierarchical system of servers that help give the WWW names instead of just IP addresses.
  • Essentially, it’s a globally distributed lookup table
  • Look up the domain name and system tells you the IP address.
    • siena.edu
    • rpi.edu 
dns rational
DNS Rational
  • IP Address can change
    • If you change your Internet service provider
    • Move to a different location
    • Expand your local area network
  • Domain names do not have to change, just update the DNS servers.
  • More importantly, Domain names are easier to remember and significant!
who maintain the dns
Who maintain the DNS
  • ICANN: International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
    • Non-profit, international, public company founded in 1998 to make sure the Internet works globally.
  • Internet Service Providers (AT&T, Time Warner, Sprint, AOL, etc.)
  • Organizations with Local Area Networks (Siena, NYState Government, MapInfo, etc.)
domain name registration
Domain Name Registration
  • Used to be centralized, non-profit
    • Only had to pay administrative fee
    • ICANN couldn’t handle the volume
  • Domain Name Registration is now Commercialized:
    • Company (like GoDaddy) becomes a registrar by applying to ICANN.
  • Once Registrars are approved by ICANN
    • They can charge a fee for domain name registration and do the paperwork for you
    • Thus, ICANN only has to deal with a few thousand registrars, rather than millions of customers.
notable registrars
Notable Registrars
  • Network Solutions
    • One of the first. In the early days, ICANN exclusively outsourced operations to Network Solutions, but then realized it should be an open market.
  • GoDaddy
  • Yahoo
  • Verio
  • Aplus
what comes first domain name or web server
What comes first, domain name or web server?

Like asking, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”

Typical Process (post-2000)

Register a domain with a certified Registrar.

Purchase web hosting service.

Ask your hosting service to add your domain to their DNS.

Early days (pre-2000)

  • Setup a web server, test it via its IP address and then register a domain name.
  • Then, update your local DNS, or
  • Ask your Internet Service provider to update their DNS.
dns hierarchy
DNS Hierarchy

Top Level Domain (TDL) DNS… coordinated by ICANN








St. Rose





web hosting revolution
Web Hosting Revolution
  • Very few organization maintain their own web server?
  • Why?
  • What are the alternatives?
web hosting options
Web Hosting Options

Virtual Hosts ($5-50/month)

  • A single computer can run multiple instances of web server software
  • Many websites can be hosted off of one computer with one IP address.

Dedicated Host($50-???/month)

  • You get your own computer
  • And IP Address
  • Usually, rack-mounted in a server farm with thousands of other computers.
one web server many domains
One Web Server, Many Domains

Web Server

www. siena-space.org

Web Server can be configured to resolve domain name to specific folder.

Sometimes called mapping or binding



DNS Server





domain names tdls and urls
Domain Names, TDLs and URLs


server details
Server Details
  • public_html (or www) folder
    • The folder that contains publically readable web pages (and other public files)
  • cgi-bin folder
    • Common gateway interface binaries
    • The folder that contains custom scripts and applications
    • Not really used anymore
    • Toda, scripts often go right in the public_html folder.
server error files
Server Error files
  • 404.html
    • If a file can’t be found, you can have this web page load by default
  • 401.html
    • If a file can’t be access (no privilege)
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HTTP_status_codes
default page for folders
Default page for folders
  • http://www.siena.edu/people/faculty/
  • If a URL points to a folder, you can have a page load by default.
  • index.html or default.html will load if a specific page is not specified.
  • Server can be configured so that a folder listing will be returned if there is no index or default page.
how websites used to be organized
How websites used to be organized
  • Early Days: Folder Hierarchy
    • http://www.cs.siena.edu/~ebreimer/courses/csis-401-s09/labs/
    • With index page and Up, Down, and Next links
      • http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/
  • Today: Menus
    • Static (~ebreimer)
    • Dynamic (www.cs.siena.edu)
html frames
HTML Frames
  • If we have time.
  • Bad idea taken to the next level.
dynamic menus and content
Dynamic Menus and Content
  • Let the web server do the work.
    • Part of TBLs original framework.
  • URL can point to a script/program.
  • Web server can run the script and output the results
  • Result is usually
    • A Web Page
    • Part of a Web Page (like the main menu)