What is a Computer Server?

A computer server is a different type of computer that provide services to other client computers connected in the network. It differs from other computers in the terms of service, storage, efficiency, configuration, size, etc.

There are a variety of servers that provide different types of services. Like a web server, that provides services to the web browser. An application server that provides the business logic for application programs. A mail server that provides mailing services to its users, etc.

The server receives a request from its client and responds to them accordingly. However, a computer system can be a client or a server at the same time. But usually, servers are dedicated machines that hardly perform any other task apart from which they are employed.

Let us learn more about the servers in the section ahead.

Computer Server

  1. What is Server?
  2. How Server Works?
  3. Types of Servers
  4. Desktop Computer Vs Server

What is Server?

A server can be a computer, a software program, or a hard drive that is designed to resolve the requests of the client computer. In a client/server programming model, the server receives the request from the client and responds to it with the required service.

Working of Server

Well, the client and server can either be on the same computer or on different computers. If the client and server are on a different computer then they must be connected by the Internet or by a local area network.


Usually, the servers are dedicated machines but we can set a server to handle different services on a single machine. This is helpful for a small organization. The server is actually a role that your desktop computer can even play.

Computer Server


For example, you can set up a local network of computers at your home. And assign the role of the file server to one of the computers in the network. This file server computer will have files in the shared computer and another connected computer can access these files over the network.

Similarly, you can set your desktop computer as a web server. but desktop computers have some limitations in terms of capacity, speed, and handling workload. So we have to design a powerful computer that would serve numerous clients at once.

How Server Works?

The server also works like a normal computer. It accepts the user request, processes the request, and generates the desired output. But the server processors are much more powerful than our normal personal computers.


The server machine needs a redundant power supply as they have to provide services 24×7. The server is designed such that they are capable of holding more load.

A server processor is quite different from a desktop processor. It must have the ability to run fast and perform several tasks simultaneously. So, the server processor is designed especially for example Intel Xeon processor.

The Xeon processor is able to work with another processor thus they support multiprocessing environment. So, a motherboard designed for a server machine can have two or more processors to handle a large workload.

The Xeon processor works with the ECC RAM i.e., Error-Correcting Code which is a special RAM used for servers.

Types of Servers

Web Server

When you open a web browser and try to access a web page your system is actually interacting with the web server. When you search for something on a web browser the browser sends the request to the web server. The web server processes this request and generates a web page as a response.

Email Server

When you send or receive emails using web-based programs like Yahoo!, or Gmail the system interacts with the web-based server. But when you use a mailing computer-based application like Outlook the system interacts with the specific email server that supports the sending and receiving of mail. If you find references to the protocols such as IMAP, POP, or SMTP it means the system is interacting with the email server.

Database Server

The database server is a high-powered computer that provides database services such as storing, managing, and retrieving data. This server is mostly used in organizations that deal with a large amount of data every day.

The database server work in the client-server environment where the client needs to access data frequently. Although it appears similar to the file server which offers the service of storing data but the database server is much more efficient than the file server.

FTP Server

An FTP server is a machine that enables the transfer of a file from one system to another. FTP is actually a File Transfer Protocol. The user can either store files on an FTP server or retrieve the file from it.

Proxy Server

As we know that each device connected to the Internet has an IP address. Similarly, each server also has an IP address. Now, sometimes users are restricted to access some particular websites on the server. In such cases, the users try to access them using a false IP address.

For this, the user sends the request via a proxy server that is allowed to access the website. So, the request packet when reaches the server where the website is stored and has the IP of the proxy server in the source address field.

Domain Name Server

The domain name server is just like the phone diary of the Internet. As we note down the name with their corresponding phone number in the phone book. Similarly, the domain name server maps the domain name of the website to its corresponding IP address.

Cloud Server

Cloud servers are virtual server that provides services to their clients on their demands. These servers are hosted and delivered over the Internet

Desktop Computer Vs Server

Has single processorCan have multiple processors
Powered on only when the user requiresPowered on 24 x 7
Speed and capacity are suitable as per the need of the single userSpeed and capacity are suitable for serving a large number of clients
Files are stored on an individual desktop computerFiles are stored at a secured location
It has a single hard drive if no backup is created timely, you may lose data if the hard drive failsIt has mirrored hard drive which makes data recovery easy if any hard drive fails
To update the computer-based applications updation has to be made to each application on each individual machineServer-based applications need to update once to make changes across the network

Servers are powerful machines designed to serve multiple users simultaneously. It is even useful for small businesses as it offers increased storage, easy information sharing, and required security.

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