What is a server? Why need it? Who needs it?

What is a server?

In a technical sense, a server is an instance of a computer program or device that accepts and responds to requests made by another program, known as a client. Imagine you need to eat some food, you will need to go the fridge to get it, so the fridge will be your server to store all the food (files) inside, while you are the client that wants to get food (information) to consume.

A server serves information to computers that connect to it.
Clients can connect to a server through either a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN), such as the Internet.
When users connect to a server, they can access programs, files, and other information from the server.

types of server

What are the types of servers?

There are various types of servers that is available.

Application server – This server mainly is a framework, an environment where applications can run, no matter what they are or what functions they perform. An application server can be used to develop and run web-based applications. Examples of application servers, including Java, PHP, and .NET Framework application servers.

Domain name server – Domain name server is different from Domain name system (DNS), Domain name server is part of the whole architecture for DNS. This server is in charge of storing a database of different domain names, network names, Internet hosts, DNS records and other related data. The server will translate a domain name into its respective IP address, example when you type google.com, it will translate to IP address which computer can understand. During a domain name resolution query, DNS records are searched, and if found, the domain name record is returned.

Dedicated server – A server that only allow one party to access it. The party can be from the whole company or a group of people. It is dedicated to the one client/party and is not shared with any other unknown clients. This type of server is very powerful and highly customizable to based on the client’s needs. Exabytes offers managed dedicated server support where dedicated support team will closely monitor your server performance to make sure it is up and running.

Database server – Database server is a computer system that provides clients to retrieve data stored centrally. It is usually done by executing a query using a query language specific to the database. For example, SQL is an example of a query language.

Mail server – Like the name of the server, it basic function is to store and sort e-mails. Mail server is our real life post office, the server will handle e-mails going out and coming in. Client that sends out an e-mail will go to mail server, and it will direct to intended recipient.

Proxy server – It is a computer server or software program that is part of the gateway server or another computer that separates a local network from outside networks. A proxy server will cache all pages accessed through the network allowing users who may want to visit that same page to load it faster and reduce the networks bandwidth.

Web server – Computer or collection of computers used to deliver web pages and other content to multiple users. A web server receives your request to access a web page. It runs a few security checks on your HTTP request and takes you to the web page. Depending on the page you have requested, the page may ask the server to run a few extra modules while generating the document to serve you. It then shows you the web page that you wanted to view. A few renowned web servers are Apache, Nginx, Microsoft web server IIS.

why you need a server

Why do you need a server?

There are a lot of purposes for a server to serve. 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. It can used as one of the function as mentioned above in the types of servers. 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 host multiple websites in the case of a web server.

A server can be setup based on your different needs and function, it can also be setup for private access or shared with others. Server can help human connect and communicate from far apart, it can also help us to perform intensive calculation task or be up 24 hours a day to maintain a connection. That is something that we human could not actually be doing.

who needs a server

Who needs a server?

Since there are so many shared server that are already online and ready for you to build your required application and perform specific task. When you are new to this, it would be recommended to start with a shared space where the cost is lower but you still get the performance of a server.

If you do not need a server to perform any of the complicated action as mentioned above, you only need a website and an e-mail account for your business. You can try Ultimate hosting to better suit your needs.

There are a lot of possibility for using a server, from expanding your current online business to better serve the traffic, to develop your own proxy server for your company.