What Is A Computer Server

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A server is a software or hardware device that accepts and responds to requests made over a network. The device that makes the request, and receives a response from the server, is called a client. On the Internet, the term “server” commonly refers to the computer system which receives a request for a web document, and sends the requested information to the client.

It can also be seen as a computer that provides data to other computers. It may serve data to systems on a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN) over the Internet.

Many types of servers exist, including Web servers, mail servers, and File servers. Each type runs softwares specific to the purpose of the server. For example, a Web server may run Apache HTTP Server or Microsoft IIS, which both provide access to websites over the Internet. A mail server may run a program like Exim or iMail, which provides SMTP services for sending and receiving email. A file server might use Samba or the operating system’s built-in file sharing services to share files over a network.

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Types Of Servers

  • Application server
  • Blade server
  • Cloud server
  • Database server
  • Dedicated server
  • File server
  • Mail server
  • Proxy server
  • Web server

FUNCTIONS OF SERVERS

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Servers are used to manage network resources. For example, a user may set up a server to control access to a network, send/receive e-mail, manage print jobs, or host a website. They are also proficient at performing intense calculations. Some servers are committed to a specific task, often referred to as dedicated. However, many servers today are shared servers which can take on the responsibility of e-mail, DNS, FTP, and even multiple websites in the case of a web server.

How Other Computers Connect To A Server

With a local network, the server connects to a router or switch that all other computers on the network use. Once connected to the network, other computers can access that server and its features. For example, with a web server, a user could connect to the server to view a website, search, and communicate with other users on the network.

An Internet server works the same way as a local network server, but on a much larger scale. The server is assigned an IP Address by Inter NIC, or by WebHost.

Usually, users connect to a server using its Domain Name, which is registered with a Domain Name Registrar. When users connect to the domain name (such as “computerhope.com”), the name is automatically translated to the server’s IP address by a DNS Resolver.

The domain name makes it easier for users to connect to the server, because the name is easier to remember than an IP address. Also, domain names enable the server operator to change the IP address of the server without disrupting the way that users access the server. The domain name can always remain the same, even if the IP address changes.

Important Factors In Choosing The Right Server 

There are many factors to consider in the midst of a server selection, including virtual machine and container consolidation. When choosing a server, evaluate the importance of certain features based on the use cases. Security capabilities are also important and there will probably be a number of protection, detection and recovery features to consider, including native data encryption to protect data in flight and data at rest, as well as persistent event logging to provide an indelible record of all activity. If the server will rely on internal storage, the choice of disk types and capacity is also important because it can have a significant influence on input/output (I/O) and resilience. 

Many organizations are shrinking the number of physical servers in their data centers as virtualization enables fewer servers to host more workloads. The advent of cloud computing has also changed the number of servers an organization needs to host on premises. Packing more capability into fewer boxes can reduce overall capital expenses, data center floor space and power and cooling demands. Hosting more workloads on fewer boxes, however, can also pose an increased risk to the business because more workloads will be affected if the server fails or needs to be offline for routine maintenance.

A server maintenance checklist should cover physical elements, as well as the system’s critical configuration.

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