A server is a computer or system that provides resources, data, services, or programs to other computers, known as clients, over a network. In theory, whenever computers share resources with client machines they are considered servers. There are many types of servers, including web servers, mail servers, and virtual servers.
An individual system can provide resources and use them from another system at the same time. This means that a device could be both a server and a client at the same time.
Some of the first servers were mainframe computers or minicomputers. Minicomputers were much smaller than mainframe computers, hence the name. However, as technology progressed, they ended up becoming much larger than desktop computers, which made the term microcomputer somewhat farcical.
Types of Servers in Networking
There are many types of networking servers that all perform different functions. Many networks contain one or more of the common computer networking server types:
1. Web server
One of the most abundant types of servers in today’s market is a web server. A web server is a special kind of application server that hosts programs and data requested by users across the Internet or an intranet. Web servers respond to requests from browsers running on client computers for web pages, or other web-based services. Common web servers include Apache web servers, Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) servers and Nginx servers.
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2. Application server
These servers connect clients to software applications through virtual server connections. This allows users to bypass downloading data to their own hardware in order to access applications. Application servers can effectively host large amounts of application data to many users at once, making them ideal for businesses.
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3. Virtual machine (VM)
As their name suggests, virtual machines store and connect data strictly through virtual space. To create a virtual machine, IT teams use a hypervisor, also known as a virtual machine monitor (VMM), which is software that can run thousands of virtual machines through only one piece of physical hardware. This method of server virtualization is widely used for data transfer and storage because they are the most cost-effective type of server to run.
4. File transfer protocol (FTP) server
FTP servers are used to relocate files from one computer to another. Uploaded files move from your computer to the server while downloaded files are extracted from the server onto your device. File transfer protocol also refers to the method of using a server to connect one computer to another in order to share data safely.
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5. Proxy server
Proxy servers act as a bridge between a host server and a client server. A proxy sends data from a website to your computer IP address after it passes through the proxy’s server. This practice adds a layer of security since the information is requested then transferred from the source to the proxy server and never directly from a client to another user. A proxy server can filter out various harmful internet entities.
6. File server
A file server stores data files for multiple users. They allow for faster data retrieval and saving or writing files to a computer. This is a basic type of server used commonly by organizations where lots of users need access to files that are more conveniently and safely stored on a server than a personal computer.
7. Database server
Database servers function as large storage spaces that organizations use and access to run multiple programs to meet their needs. A database server can run independently of any database architecture.
8. Mail server
A mail server stores and delivers mail for clients through email service platforms. Because mail servers are set up to continually connect to a network, individual users can access their email without running any systems through their own devices.
9. Print server
A print server connects remotely to local computers to print through a network. These servers give businesses the ability to use a single printer to serve an entire department. Some printers even come with their own built-in server ready to join a network once they’re installed in an office area.
10. Domain name system (DNS) server
These servers transform readable computer domain names into computer language IP addresses. The DNS server takes search data from a user and finds the requested address to deliver to the client device.
11. Computer hardware server
The next major wave of servers included computer-based servers. In many respects, these servers were nothing more than larger, more powerful desktop computers. Such servers were generally more expensive and held far more memory and disk space than most client computers. Each server was still a self-contained unit with its own motherboard, processor, memory, disk drives, and power supply. Servers like this were often warehoused in air-conditioned rooms called server rooms, and were later bolted into racks for better storage and accessibility.
12. Database servers
The amount of data used by companies, users, and other services is staggering. Much of that data is stored in databases. Databases need to be accessible to multiple clients at any given time and can require extraordinary amounts of disk space. Both of these needs lend themselves well to locating such databases on servers. Database servers run database applications and respond to numerous requests from clients. Common database server applications include Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, DB2, and Informix.
13, Virtual servers
Virtual servers are taking the server world by storm. Unlike traditional servers that are installed as an operating system on machine hardware, virtual servers exist only as defined within specialized software called hypervisor. Each hypervisor can run hundreds, or even thousands, of virtual servers all at once. The hypervisor presents virtual hardware to the server as if it were real physical hardware. The virtual server uses the virtual hardware as usual, and the hypervisor passes the actual computation and storage needs onto the real hardware beneath, which is shared among all the other virtual servers.
14. Blade servers
The original computer server hardware was large and stored in racks that could hold hundreds of pounds. Over time, however, faster means of connecting hardware resulted in parts of the server being extracted from a single self-contained device. By removing hard drives, eliminating internal cooling, and the ongoing miniaturization of computing parts, servers were eventually reduced to a single thin server known as a blade server. While still stored in racks in server rooms, blade servers are smaller and can be replaced more easily.
15. Collaboration server
When work needs to be shared across multiple users, a collaboration server makes it easy to connect. These servers allow you to share and store files, applications and other large amounts of data.
16. Gaming server
Large gaming networks use servers to connect users from around the world. These servers host multi-player online games.
17. Monitoring and management server
Monitoring and management servers function in several capacities. First, they record and track digital transactions and receive user requests. Others simply monitor and don’t actively participate in user operations. Monitoring servers are responsive to network administrators who survey network health to check for threats or bugs in the system.
18. FTP Server
In the simplest of definitions, an FTP Server (which stands for File Transfer Protocol Server) is a software application which enables the transfer of files from one computer to another. FTP is a way to transfer files to any computer in the world that is connected to the internet.
19. Media Server
A media server delivers video and audio content to clients who request it. The term is used to refer both to a software application that performs this function and a host that’s running the media server software.
How These Types of Networking Servers Work?
Initially, such servers were connected to clients known as terminals that did not do any actual computing. These terminals, referred to as dumb terminals, existed simply to accept input via a keyboard or card reader and to return the results of any computations to a display screen or printer. The actual computing was done on the server.
Later, servers were often single, powerful computers connected over a network to a set of less-powerful client computers. This network architecture is often referred to as the client-server model, in which both the client computer and the server possess computing power, but certain tasks are delegated to servers. In previous computing models, such as the mainframe-terminal model, the mainframe did act as a server even though it wasn’t referred to by that name.
As technology has evolved, the definition of a server has evolved with it. These days, a server may be nothing more than software running on one or more physical computing devices. Such servers are often referred to as virtual servers. Originally, virtual servers were used to increase the number of server functions a single hardware server could do. Today, virtual servers are often run by a third-party on hardware across the Internet in an arrangement called cloud computing. Types of Servers in Networking.
Types of Servers in Networking may be designed to do a single task, such as a mail server, which accepts and stores email and then provides it to a requesting client. Servers may also perform several tasks, such as a file and print server, which both stores files and accepts print jobs from clients and then sends them on to a network-attached printer.