Here is a scenario for a system where I am trying to understand what is what:
I'm Joe, a novice programmer and I'm broke. I've got a Flask app and one physical machine. Since I'm broke, I cannot afford another machine for each piece of my system, thus the web server, application and database all live on my one machine.
I've never deployed an app before, but I know that a server can refer to a machine or software. From here on, lets call the physical machine the Rack. I've loaded an instance of MongoDB on my machine and I know that is the Database Server. In order to handle API requests, I need something on the rack that will handle HTTP/S requests, so I install and run an instance of NGINX on it and I know that this is the Web Server. However, my web server doesnt know how to run the app, so I do some research and learn about WSGI and come to find out I need another component. So I install and run an instance of Gunicorn and I know that this is the WSGI Server.
At this point I have a rack that is home to a web server to handle API calls (really just acts as a reverse proxy and pushes requests to the WSGI server), a WSGI server that serves up dynamic content from my app and a database server that stores client information used by the app.
I think I've got my head on straight, then my friend asks "Where is your Application Server?"
Is there an application server is this configuration? Do I need one?