Types of Computer Servers and their purpose


In computer terminology, a ‘server’ is a device that supports and provides functionality for other devices and programs, typically called ‘clients’. This is what is referred to as the ‘client-server model’ in network computing where a single overall computation distributes data, functions and processes across multiple devices and computer processors. Among the many services that servers provide are sharing of resources and data between clients and performing multiple computing tasks. A single client can use multiple retainers and conversely a single retainer can also serve multiple clients.

Client-Servers today function on the ‘request-response’ model where a client needs a task done and sends a request to the retainer which is accomplished by the server. A computer designated as ‘server-class hardware’ means that is a specialized device for running server functions. Though the implication leads to visions of large, powerful and reliable computer devices, in reality, a retainer may be a cluster of relatively simple components.

Servers play a very significant role in networking; any retainer that takes a hit in functioning can bring to a halt the connectivity of all the computers in a network. The significant rise of Internet usage around the world has boosted the development of servers for specific functions. This is an element that is constantly undergoing changes and we will have to wait and see how servers will be developed for future computational needs.

Servers are categorized according to their tasks and applications. Dedicated retainers perform no other networking tasks other than retainer tasks assigned to them. A server platform is the underlying system hardware or software that drivers the server; it is much like an operating system in a desktop, laptop or other devices.

Types of servers – A Server platform is the fundamental hardware or software for a system which acts as an engine that drives the server. It is often used synonymously with an operating system.

  • Application Servers occupy a large share of the retainer networking between database servers and end user and is commonly sometimes used to connect the two
  • Web Server provides static content to a web browser by loading a file from a disk and transferring it across the network to the user’s web browser. This exchange is intermediated by the browser and the server, communicating using HTTP.
  • Mail Servers Transfers and stores mails over corporate networks through LANs, WANs and across the Internet.
  • Proxy Servers – acts as a mediator between a client program and an external server to filter requests improve performance and share connections.
  • Fax Servers can be used to minimize incoming and outgoing telephone resources.
  • List Server improves management of mailing lists, newsletters, advertising material and announcements.
  • Chat servers It serves the users to exchange data in an environment similar to Internet newsgroup which provides real time discussion capabilities.
  • Groupware Servers helps users work together irrespective of location through corporate Intranet or the Internet in a virtual environment.
  • News Servers – these function as sources of distribution and delivery for public news groups on the global bulletin board system.
  • Audio/Video Server provides multimedia capabilities to websites by helping the user to broadcast streaming multimedia content.
  • FTP Server works on one of the oldest of the Internet services, the file transfer protocol. It provides a secure file transfer between computers while ensuring file security and transfer control.
  • IRC Server is an ideal option for those looking for real-time discussion capabilities. Internet Relay Chat comprises different network servers that enable the users to connect to each other through an IRC network.
  • Telnet Server enables the users to log on to a host computer and execute tasks as if they are working on a remote computer.

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