In today’s technology-driven world, information no longer always has to be tangible. The internet has become an ecosystem in itself. But data and information do need a place to be found and accessed. A server basically acts as a platform for that purpose.
But what exactly is a server? As the name suggests, it carries and serves data and information to anyone who needs it. As experts in the field of IT services, we have tried to narrow down the idea of servers into simple terms here.
Let’s learn about different types of servers and get to know how they work.
What is a server?
A server refers to a device or software system that stores and processes data. It can be a physical hardware system or a virtual storehouse. It connects to a network and can share or request information.
In essence, servers are versatile and can perform multiple functions such as storing, processing, and transmitting data. They have evolved from simple devices that transfer data and information to more sophisticated ones capable of executing complex tasks. Nowadays, virtual servers within cloud computing platforms have become prevalent, providing a flexible and scalable solution for data management on the internet.
How do servers work?
Physical servers have different parts such as the motherboard and hard drive to store information and a network connection to receive and respond to user requests.
Generally, they store data from different sources and organizations and make it accessible to users through the internet or via network connections. They respond to user requests and retrieve suitable files or information from stored or interconnected data sources. They can work in tandem with softwares to increase their functionality or safeguard and verify the identity of a user.
Basically, to access a resource such as a web page, we make a request to a web server and it provides us with our requirements.
Types of computer servers
Now that we have an understanding of what is a server, let’s move on to know different types of servers in detail:
1. Web Server
A web server presents data over the internet. It enables us to host websites, e-commerce platforms or web applications. Businesses can use it to build their online presence and make themselves available to their customers.
Functioning of a web server:
It responds to requests from web browsers, retrieves web pages and sends them to the requesting users. When something is hosted on a web server, it becomes available widely and makes it easier for us to access data.
HIt makes hosting websites and other web-based applications easier. It ensures high availability and security through firewalls and SSL certificates.
2. Proxy Server
Proxy servers serve as a link between client and host servers. It has the ability to filter out entities that can harm the system of a user and act as an intermediary. It can be used by organization's that handle sensitive data or communications.
Functioning of a proxy server:
When we make a request to access an online resource, a proxy server receives it and forwards it to its destination server. The response generated by the server then goes through the proxy server to us.
A proxy server can hide a user’s IP address and thus prevent third party invasion and data breaches ensuring additional security. It also improves efficiency and makes content filtering easier.
3. Application Server
Application servers make software applications available to users. They are capable of hosting substantial amounts of application data for numerous users simultaneously. This makes them excellent for businesses to use.
Functioning of an application server:
They establish a virtual server connection to connect users to software applications and thus, eliminates the need to download data on their own hardwares. It provides an environment for applications, enabling them to run efficiently and reliably.
They improve application performance and scalability by making it available to multiple users. It also enables applications to easily integrate with other applications and services in the networked environment.
4. Mail Server
Mail servers handle email communications. They store and deliver emails via email service platforms and enable us to access emails without running them on our own devices.
Functioning of a mail server:
A mail server stores, sends and receives emails in a computer network. A mail server may also include other components such as spam filters, antivirus software, and webmail interfaces.
It helps us to manage emails more efficiently and without threats. It makes it easier to auto-forward, respond and provides a centralised email management.
5. FTP Server
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) provides a secure means of connecting two computers through a server for the purpose of sharing data.
Functioning of an FTP server:
FTP servers facilitate the seamless transfer of files between computers. When files are uploaded, they are transferred from the local device to the server. Conversely, downloaded files are retrieved from the server and saved onto the device.
They save time and increase productivity by facilitating smooth transfer of large files and data over computer networks. It also helps to improve data organisation and scalability.
6. DNS Server
Domain Name System (DNS) servers make it easier to locate resources on the internet using easily understandable domain names instead of complex IP addresses.
Functioning of a DNS server:
A DNS server translates domain names into IP addresses, allowing users to access websites and other resources on the internet.
The benefits of a DNS server include reliable name resolution, faster access to websites and speed up internet access.
7. File Server
A file server stores data files for multiple users, enabling quick data retrieval and efficient saving of files to a computer. File servers are commonly used by organisations to provide safe and convenient storage for files that are frequently accessed by many users, making them a basic yet essential type of server.
Functioning of a file server:
A file server is a dedicated computer that stores and manages files for network users. It provides a centralised location for users to store and access files.
The benefits of a file server include easy file sharing, centralised management of files, and access control.
8. Database Server
Database servers are versatile and can operate independently of any particular database and rather run multiple programs serving as large storage spaces.
Functioning of a database server:
Database servers typically work in accordance with other servers and themselves acting as a storage entity for easy retrieval of data.
Compared to SQL-based database management systems, database Servers offer exceptional performance without added overhead costs. They provide data stability and make data procurement easier.
The aforementioned types of servers have their own advantages. It is imperative that we choose to host our data, web applications, websites and more to a suitable server. If you're still not sure which server suits you best, don't worry. At Comprint, we provide a wide variety of Servers option and also customise them to better suit your business needs.