An application server helps to install, operate, and host different web applications for consumers, IT companies, and large-scale and small-scale organizations. It connects various networks and databases. Looking to know the best application server software then this post will give your brief about the best.
It is often a complicated process to work with different computational elements to run specific tasks that need to work together to power multiple web-based software and applications.
Here is where application server software comes into the picture. Application servers bridge the gap between primary web-based servers and the back-end tier of a server. It also supports the use of various protocols and application programming interfaces (APIs).
Application servers are classified in different ways, such as:
- Web servers,
- The database application server, and
- General-purpose or enterprise application servers.
Since application servers are versatile, 2, or even more, servers can be combined to work as a web application server. Before going to discuss the top 10 application servers, let’s first know why you need an application server?
Why Use an Application Server?
“Why should I have an application server?” Is that on the mind that let me tell you that application servers work the best when you need to integrate them with different servers and databases?
Not having an application server can create different versions of the same application within the organization resulting in a lack of integrity and compatibility issues.
Since the application servers sit between the web pages and the organization’s database, it, also, acts as an additional security layer and protects your site against SQL cyber attacks.
Application servers can also pool database connections and act as a web farm without any additional connections to the underlying database. They allow the developers to focus on the application and spend less time mulling over security.
Top 10 Best Application Servers
Many application servers are available, so it is imperative to choose the best one to host your web application. Here in this blog, we have listed our pick of the top 10 best application servers to help you make the pick from:
IBM WebSphere Application Server or WAS is a web application server that hosts Java-based web applications. It is considered the most reliable and secure Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) server and provides functionality to deploy fault-tolerant, distributed, and multi-tier Java software.
They provide a run-time environment and management interface to manage all the applications. WebSphere is a scalable application server that hosts cloud applications and microservices for organizations of any size.
IBM ensures WAS fulfills all the needs of a complex framework and at the same time provides a platform for servicing business applications. IBM updates and improves the WAS frequently, alongside releasing new technologies.
- Messaging Engine
- Cross Component Trace (XCT).
- Enhanced security.
- Track admin changes.
- Application migration.
- Compatible with Web 2.0 and mobile.
- Supports Java Batch and Java SE 7.
- Supports multi-cloud environments.
- Customized licensing model depending on your business requirements.
- Reliable, scalable, and manageable.
- High security and control.
- Provides easy installation and configuration without the need for runtime migration.
NGINX is a dynamic application server that is standalone, unlike the NGINX Plus. It supports JSON APIs, changing the configuration settings without disturbing the services, and runs all the applications built with different languages and frameworks.
The application server can also be used as a web server, reverse proxy, cache, load balancer, and much more. It provides superior performance and stability as compared to the other application servers.
Nginx is specially built to provide low memory usage and high concurrency. Since NGINX uses an asynchronous and event-driven approach, everything is handled in a single thread, so it saves you a lot of time from creating new processes for handling every request.
It provides microservice-based applications, and companies like Netflix, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and many more completely rely on NGINX because it reduces the operating cost yet adds speed.
- Reverse proxy with caching.
- Supports IPv6.
- Allows load balancing.
- Effectively handles static files, index files and helps in auto-indexing.
- Low storage space and memory requirements.
- Since it is asynchronous, it can handle 10k+ connections simultaneously.
- Known for handling static content.
Tomcat, developed by Apache, is a well-known open-source application software implemented for Java Servlet and is a “pure Java” HTTP web server. Apache has been continually introducing new components such as the cluster, web application, and high availability into the application server, making it easier and better to use.
There are many experts that argue that Tomcat is not an application server but a web server. But with time, Tomcat has proved to be the best application server one can use for hosting many critical applications.
- Lightweight, effective, and efficient.
- Implements JSP and Servlet, making it suitable for all types of applications.
- Supports uploading any add-on based on the needs.
- Simple and straightforward usage.
- Provides easy installation and configuration.
- Supports Java-based content and is the most widely-used Java-based server.
- Provides extra security from all major cyber threats.
Jetty is an open-source application server that supports all versions of Java. It is designed in a way to be lightweight, performant, and flexible. These features make Jetty one of the best application servers for HTTP requests for any Java application.
Jetty supports more than one device, framework, application servers, and clusters. The application server is used in different popular products, such as Zimbra, Liferay, Ubuntu, Apache Geronimo, Google App Engine, and Eclipse.
- Flexible, and can be integrated with different frameworks, JEE application servers, and mobile phones to large servers.
- Implements the standard servlet 2.5 specifications.
- Has all the latest features.
- Licensed dually under Apache and Eclipse.
- Flexibility and scalability.
- Fast performance.
- Small memory footprint.
- Top-notch security and services.
Zope is an application server built with the Python programming language. This open-source application server helps create and manage dynamic and non-dynamic web applications, such as online web portals and intranet sites.
Zope uses two mechanisms for HTML templating namely Dynamic Template Markup Language (DTML) and Zope Page Template (ZPT). It also has the strong features of Python and a built-in security system. It is also known for its robust customer support and useful news updates.
- FTP server.
- Built with the help of a web server.
- Scripting support.
- WebDAV server.
- Relational integration.
- A very fast object-oriented server for website development.
- The underlying code of the software is freely available.
- No licensing cost.
Oracle WebLogic Server is a fast, high-performing, and scalable application server used to create web applications with Java EE and Jakarta EE. It is a runtime platform that provides a quick and rich interface for web operations.
WebLogic is the world’s no. 1 application server across all cloud environments. It is the most competent platform when it comes to developing cloud applications.
- Lightweight and flexible integration with Java EE and Jakarta EE.
- High reliability.
- Robust monitoring and scalability.
- Provides an easy-to-use framework for building applications.
- Centralizes all the application services, such as web server functionality and business components.
- Provides easy access to the back-end of an application.
- Offers high-end security to all the data.
LiteSpeed Web Server is the 4th most popular web server developed and privately held by LiteSpeed Technologies. This application server is known for its high performance and scalability.
The application server can be used to replace an existing Apache server without changing any programs in the application. LiteSpeed web server helps to get rid of all the problems in the web hosting framework.
LiteSpeed comes in three different editions, namely the OpenLiteSpeed edition, Standard edition, and Enterprise edition.
- Compatible with common Apache servers and its features, such as mod_rewrite, .htaccess, and mod_security.
- Unique event-driven performance framework.
- Reduces hardware costs.
- The server can load Apache files directly, making it the best replacement for the same.
- Increased security.
- Effective SEO results and more profit.
GlassFish is an open-source application server for Java EE implementation and follows a structured framework for providing the best web applications.
GlassFish provides a structured process that helps to develop high-quality and standard application servers. This application server uses a derivative of Apache Tomcat as the servlet container for serving web content. It supports dynamic languages such as Ruby on Rails, Jython, and Groovy.
- Supports all the Java EE specifications such as JDBC, RMI, e-mail, XML, and much more.
- Support for Java EE 6.
- Provides a centralized admin panel that is easy to use with increased security.
- REST monitoring support.
- Open-source, modular, and extensive.
- Lightweight, fast, and flexible.
- Embedded API.
- A centralized admin panel.
JBoss is a J2EE certified platform that helps create Java-based applications and web portals. The main features of this application server are clustering, caching, and persistence.
The application server supports Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0 that is designed to provide a simplified Java programming model. It is one of the most widely-used application servers and is an open-source project.
- Java management extensions.
- Distributed caching.
- Management API.
- JBoss transactions are the default transaction manager in JBoss 5.
- It has a Teiid data virtualization system.
- Lightweight and cloud-friendly.
- Can be used in any enterprise and accelerates application development.
- Supports performance, data integration, and automation.
10. Apache Geronimo
Developed by the Apache Software Foundation, Apache Geronimo is licensed under the Apache License. It is an open-source application server and is compatible with JEE 5.0.
Apache Geronimo includes one of the two web containers, Tomcat or Jetty, and allows you to install Geronimo Eclipse plugins supporting the previous versions – backward compatibility – of this application server.
- Compatible with the Java Enterprise Edition and includes JDBC, RMI, email, web services, XML, JavaBeans, Connectors, and other web service technologies.
- Components include Apache Tomcat, Jetty, Apache CXF, Apache ServiceMix, and many more.
- Supports Java SE 6.
- Module application server.
- Java JEE 5 certified.
- Custom distribution of data.
- The server is built on open-source components.
- Offers customized components that offer high performance.
An application server is software that provides application programs. It helps manage large distributed systems, data services, load balancing, cybersecurity, and much more.
Since application servers provide added security and technical support, it is essential to have an application server in your business environment. Application servers also work the best when it comes to developing cloud-based applications.
The two best and most recommended application servers are IBM WebSpace and Apache Tomcat. If you are looking for a smaller footprint, you can always go with Jetty.
Before choosing an application server for your organization, do extensive research and make sure you choose the best one.
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