What is a Server? Working, Types, and More


With the exponential increase in data generation and internet penetration, servers have become more important than ever. A server is what stores the data that we access via the internet. The data can be anything ranging from a website to game data. Here, we will know what a server is, how it works, its types, and so on.

What is a Server? [Definition]

A server is a piece of software or hardware that provides a service to another program and its users, also known as the clients. The physical machine that a server program runs on is usually referred to as a server in a data center. That computer could be a dedicated server or it could be utilized for something else entirely.

In the client-server architecture, a server software anticipates and responds to requests from client programs on the same or different machines. Receiving requests for services from other applications, a computer application can behave as both a client and a server.

How does a Server Function?

A real system, a virtual computer, or software that performs server functions can all be referred to as a server. Depending on how the word server is used, the way a server function differs significantly.

A physical server is nothing more than a computer that runs server software. In the following section, we’ll go through the distinctions between a server and a desktop computer in greater depth.

A virtual server is a computer that emulates the functionality of a physical server. A virtual server, like a physical server, has its own operating system and applications. These virtual servers are kept apart from any other virtual servers on the real server.

Virtual machines are created by installing a lightweight software component known as a hypervisor onto a real server. The hypervisor’s job is to make it possible for a physical server to serve as a virtualization host, which makes one or more virtual machines available to the actual server’s hardware resources, such as CPU, memory, storage, and network bandwidth.

Administrators can allocate precise hardware resources to each virtual server using an administrative console. Because a single physical server may operate numerous virtual servers instead of each job requiring its own physical server, this significantly reduces hardware expenses.

Software for the Server

At a bare minimum, a server needs an operating system and an application. The operating system is the basis on which the server application runs. It gives the program access to the underlying hardware resources and delivers the application’s dependent services.

Clients can also communicate with the server application through the operating system. The server’s IP address and top-level domain name are assigned by the operating system.

Servers vs. Desktop Computers

Most servers have X86/X64 CPUs and can run the same software as a PC. Unlike most desktop computers, servers often have numerous CPU sockets and error-correcting memory. Server hardware makers design servers to handle redundant components. A 2U server occupies twice the rack area of a 1U server.

A rack server is a type of server that is designed to fit inside a typical metal frame. The operating system is another significant distinction between a desktop computer and a server. Although a desktop can do some server-like functions, it is not designed or licensed to replace a server operating system. Hyper-V, Microsoft’s virtual machine platform, is included in several Windows 10 editions.

Server Types

Servers are usually divided into categories based on their target purpose. Here are a few examples of the various types of servers available:

1. Web Server

A web server is a computer application that serves HTML pages or files as they are requested. The client in this case is a web browser.

2. Application Server

A program on a computer in a dispersed network that provides the business logic for an application program is known as an application server.

3. Proxy Server

Proxy server software acts as a go-between for an endpoint device, such as a computer, and the server from which a user or client requests a service.

4. Mail Server

A mail server is an application that receives incoming emails from local users (people in the same domain) and remote senders and forwards them to the appropriate recipients.

5. Virtual Server

A virtual server is a program that runs on a shared server and is set up in such a way that each user appears to have total control over the server.

6. Blade Server

A blade server is a server chassis that houses a number of small, modular electronic circuit boards called server blades. Each blade is its own server, usually dedicated to a single application.

7. File Server

A file server is a computer that stores and manages data files centrally so that other computers on the same network can access them.

8. Policy Server

A policy server is a security component of a policy-based network that provides authorization services and allows for file monitoring and control.

9. Database Server

A database server is in charge of one or more databases. Client programs run database queries to get data from or write data to the server’s database.

10. Print Server

This type of server allows users to access one or more network-attached printers, also known as print devices by some server providers. Users submit print jobs to the print server, which operates as a queue for them. Some print servers have the ability to prioritize jobs in the print queue based on the job type or the person who submitted the print job.

Components of the Server

1) Hardware

When it comes to hardware, servers are made up of a number of different parts and subparts. Servers are typically made up of a rack mount chassis with a power supply, a system board, one or more CPUs, memory, storage, a network interface, and a power supply.

Out-of-band management is supported by most server hardware via a dedicated network port. It allows you to administer and monitor your server at a low level, regardless of the operating system. Out-of-band management systems can be used to turn a server on or off remotely, install an operating system, and monitor its health.

2) Operating System

The server operating system is another component. Usually, it is Windows Server or Linux. It is the platform that allows applications to execute on a server. The operating system gives apps access to the hardware resources they require and allows them to connect to the internet.

The server’s job is made possible by the application. A database server, for example, would operate a database application. Similarly, an email server must operate a mail program.

Choosing the Best Server

When it comes to server selection, there are numerous things to consider, including virtual machine and container consolidation. Consider the value of certain features when selecting a server depending on the use cases.

Security features such as native data encryption to safeguard data in flight and data at rest, as well as persistent event logging to offer an indelible record of all activities, are also critical to consider.

Because virtualization allows fewer servers to run more workloads, many companies are reducing the number of physical servers in their data centers. The introduction of cloud computing has also impacted the number of on-premises servers that a business requires.

Overall capital costs, data center floor space, and power and cooling demands can all be reduced by cramming more capacity into fewer units. Hosting more workloads on fewer boxes, on the other hand, can put the business at risk by affecting more workloads if the server fails or needs to be taken offline for normal maintenance.

A server maintenance checklist should include both physical and key configuration items.


A server is a vital aspect of the internet. To meet different requirements, servers come in different forms. We hope that now you know what it is, how it works, and what are its components, and types.

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