Small businesses nowadays rely greatly on the use of computers, regardless of the nature of the business. Computers play a vital role in running a business; not only are they used to store data but also as means to communicate with others. With that, computer servers are as important as basic computers. Well, actually for a small business, computer servers are a necessity.
So what exactly is a computer server? A computer server is basically a computer hardware designed to act as a server. Servers operate in a way to serve requests from clients, or the computers. Requests may be to share a data or information or to run certain applications installed only in the server then accessed through a client computer. Usually there is only one computer server and multiple clients or computers. This type of network connection is called “client-server” network. This network set-up is typical among small to large scale businesses.
A computer server usually looks like a typical computer, the one you see everyday. However, a desktop computer only works on it’s own. Meaning the applications stored in the desktop computer are only accessible through this particular desktop computer. Unlike computer servers where applications installed in the computer can be accessed using various desktop computers connected to the server. Desktop computers may be configured to act as a server, however, the hardware specifications should be upgraded to accommodate bigger data storage and processing capacity.
Computer servers are classified according to their specific task, also called dedicated server or a Virtual Private Server. For instance, a server may function solely to serve requests from printers is called print servers, or a server that serves data requests is called data server. Generally, servers can be classified into four categories: proxy servers, FTP servers, web servers and application servers. These four are the most commonly used types of servers. Servers may be built according to their purpose, but the basic components are usually the same.
Probably the oldest type of server in use. FTP servers, or file transfer protocol servers allows transfer of data between computers in a more secure way. To transfer files from one computer to another, they must connect to the FTP server, which then connects the two computers virtually, regardless of their physical location.
Web servers acts as the content storage of web browser files and are loaded to the web browser with every request. The communication between a web browser and a server is through HTTP. For instance, you are downloading a file in the internet, your request is sent to the web server via HTTP. The web server, which stores the file you need, loads the file to the web browser to make it available to you.
Probably the biggest server in terms of computing capacity. Application servers, as the name implies, stores applications used by number of clients or computers. Hundreds of computers may me accessing a certain application at the same time, thus a large computing capacity is required.
As the name implies, proxy servers are computer servers that allows clients to connect to another network service. A client uses the proxy server to request or access a file that is stored in a different server.