A web application is an application which is deployed using the web. In short, a web application is any
type of normal application you would build as a executable, but deployed using a
web browser and the Internet.
ISAPI and Other Web Server Modules
Usually, web applications come in the form of DLLs that you load into your web server, or applications
that you run on your server on a different port than the typical HTTP port, allowing it to co-exist with the web server.
Loading DLLs into your server is very inconvenient, because you need to restart your
every time you want to deploy a new version of your DLL, making your entire web site inaccessible for
a period of time. Even worse, if there is a bug in your DLL, you run the risk of having that one
DLL, that one web application, stop your entire server!
Stand Alone Servers
Running stand-alone servers on ports other than the typical HTTP port (port 80) isn't a very good idea either.
You must open several new ports in your firewall, but more importantly, your users must have the same ports
open in their firewalls. You may lose many potential users if they have to tweak their firewalls. Some will not
even be able to alter their firewall settings, many companies are very strict about that. But even if they
can open the ports they need to access your site, at the very least you will inconvenience them.
OctaGate Switch can make all of these problems go away, allowing you to publish any number of web applications on the
same server, all using port 80. Internally, the web applications still use their own ports, but when
accessed from the outside they appear as different "paths" on the same web site. For instance http://www.d.com/AppOne,
http://www.d.com/AppTwo and http://www.d.com/AppThree can be three different
web applications running on the same server, using different ports.
The web applications could still fail due to bugs, but they wouldn't stop the entire web site,
only that particular web application would go offline. OctaGate Switch can even warn you when one of your
web sites has stopped answering to requests, sending an email to the administrator.