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What are the Servers and Types of Servers?

Updated Nov 21, 2019

Every time you search something on the internet or send an email, it is a request. To get your desired search result or the mail to reach its destination, your request has to be processed. A server does this task. A server is a device that accepts all the requests and sends the appropriate responses back to the system. The internet will not work without servers.

Any system having the required software can function as a server. But, when servers usually refer to the web servers. These operate on the web pages that you can access using a web browser.

Let us delve deeper into the details of servers.

What are the Servers?

A server can be a hardware device or software. Servers receive requests from the client end of the user and respond accordingly. The client is a device that receives the response and sends the request. This architectural model is called the client-server model.

A prevalent type of server is the webserver that stores web content. Other servers are used for storing files, gaming, and emails.

In an organization or a corporate environment, servers and the required network equipment are stored inside a glass chamber. Servers may be remotely located in a data center. In that case, a third party company handles the hardware.

You might be able to configuration.

Servers usually are never turned off. That is why they are continually receiving messages and requests from the client-side.

What is the Purpose of Using a Server?

In a client-server network, the server is dedicated to responding to the requests sent by the client. The purpose of servers depends upon their type. For example, print servers offer access and the ability to monitor printers. File servers allow the storage of files and application servers run software such as a word processor. There are specialized servers such as DNS servers and Mail servers.

Mail servers offer access to email services sending emails, receiving emails, and storing them.

How does Servers Work?

Let us take the example of a web server. Suppose you want to access a particular website from your browser. It will only be possible when the browsers request the page from the server, and it
fetches the web page for you.

At first, the browser fetches the Internet protocol address of the domain name of the page you have requested. For this, it has to search its cache or request it from the DNS server. The browser then sends a request to the server to obtain a full URL of the website.

The server then responds by sending all the components of the website. These include content ads and other dynamic elements. The complete package is sent back to the browser. But in some cases, the server cannot find the components of the web page. The server then sends an error message back to the browser. Error messages such as Error 404 or Error 401 might be displayed.

When the browser receives the components without any issues, it can display the complete webpage that you requested.

Types of Servers

Application Servers

This server is used for installing, hosting, and working in applications for the end-users. It has three components – a GUI server, a business logic server, a transaction, and a database server. The server will work according to the installed application.

Proxy Servers

This server is used as a bridge between the client and the internet. Their specialty is that they can help you access websites anonymously. They do this by hiding your network ID and IP address.
They provide security against hacker attacks.

Web Servers

These servers are responsible for letting users access websites. They receive the request from a user for a web page. After assembling all the components of the web page, they send it back to the browser. The entire page is then displayed.

Blade Servers

Blade servers are self-contained, compact servers that are used to overcome the energy and space issues of a data-centric environment. A blade has a memory, network cards, input/ output cards, and hard drives. They are used for sharing files, streaming audio/ video content, application hosting, etc.

DNS Servers

DNS (Domain Name Service) is a server that consists of the different domain names in a human-readable format. The purpose of this server is to translate these names into addresses that the computer can understand. These addresses are used to access websites.

Cloud Servers

It is a virtual server that resides in the cloud, developed and hosted on a cloud computing platform such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. You can access them remotely over the internet. These servers are scalable, fast, and very secure.

Dedicated Servers

They are servers that are assigned to fulfill the needs of a specific network or client. For web hosting, users rent out the software, server, and internet connection for a website. This server will not be used by anyone else.

Email Servers

It is an application within your network that acts as a mail transfer agent (MTA) and stores incoming mail and sends out outgoing mail. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is being used for this. The server receives mail from another MTA and transfers it to the destination.

Remote Servers

This kind of server will allow you to gain access to files on a LAN remotely. After an authentication process, the user will be able to shared printers and drives on a physical network. Server management costs are low as the staff at the data centers handle it.

SQL Servers

This is a relational database management system server developed by Microsoft. It is used for handling database operations. It supports ANSI SQL and has its own SQL implementation called Transact SQL.

Iterative Servers

An iterative server handles one request at a time. After receiving an incoming connection, it deals with this and then closes the connection. While processing a request, other connections are blocked to that port.

Rack Servers

This is a hardware that is positioned in a horizontal rack. You can install more than one server in a single rackmount server chassis. They are designed to host and manage enterprise solutions and are found in data centers. They operate as stand-alone systems and are very powerful.

NTP Servers

NTP (Network Time Protocol) ensures that all devices on the network are properly synchronized. This server maintains all the timekeeping regulations. For this, the servers have very accurate GPS and atomic clocks.

When a time request exchange is initiated by the client, he can adjust the local clock with the server clock.

FTP Servers

This server is a computer that has a File Transfer Protocol. It is used for sending and receiving files from the client over the network. To establish the connection between the two, the password and user name is sent using the PASS and USER commands.

Virtual (VPN) Servers

VPN servers enable the delivery and hosting of VPN facilities. It offers its services to local or remote clients. A client has to authenticate himself to avail of the services of a VPN. It provides the hardware and software to the users to connect to a secure and private network or a VPN.

Root Servers

Root servers or root name servers for the DNS root zones. They can respond directly to the requests for accessing records stored in the root zone. The response will be in the form of a list containing the authoritative name servers.


Servers are the building blocks of the internet. These devices work all day to store, process, and transfer data to other servers or networks. Along with data storage and security, employees can access the data in servers remotely. This directly affects the productivity that helps the business to improve. Another advantage is the facility of data backup on a day-to-day basis.