What is a Server? Definition, Functions, Working Mechanism, and Types!

What is a Server? Definition, Functions, Working Mechanism, and Types!

You are certainly familiar with the term "server," aren't you? A server is a crucial device in a computer network and the internet. In fact, when you surf the internet, you unconsciously use servers.

But do you know what a server is in its entirety? Well, in this article, you will learn about the definition, functions, workings, and examples of network servers.

Without further ado, let's delve into the discussion!

What is a Server?

A server is a computer system that provides resources for data storage. Typically, data storage on servers is used to store documents and information that will be used to perform various services. For instance, displaying websites, sending emails, and more.

Moreover, servers are not limited to just one type. Servers can also be divided to cater to various client needs, ranging from email, DNS, to websites.

That's why a server can connect with several clients. At the same time, client computers can also connect to multiple servers to back each other up.

In terms of form, servers can be in the form of hardware, software, or virtual machines. Hardware servers are large-scale computer network devices that house several processors and high-capacity RAM.

That was the explanation of what a server is. Next, let's move on and learn about the functions of a server!

5 Server Functions You Must Know!

After understanding what a server is, here are several server functions that you should know:

1. Serving Client Computer Requests

In general, the main function of a server is to respond to every request from clients so that they can be processed. Whether it's requests for data or applications to be executed by the client.

To support this function, network servers typically use fast and secure operating systems. This way, clients can work more effectively and, of course, safely.

However, not all client requests are processed through the server. If clients frequently request the same data, these requests are usually sent via cache.

Cache is a technology for storing website data that is frequently requested by clients. The goal is to make access to the site faster.

2. Storing Data or Information

Next, the server's function is to store data sent from clients. The stored data can be in the form of documents and complex information.

To accommodate a large amount of data, servers must have significant capacity. As a result, clients can store and access data alongside other clients.

Many servers usually utilize CDN technology to allow clients to access data more quickly. In short, CDN is content processing technology based on the location of the nearest server to the client.

As an additional piece of information, there are many CDN services you can try. Cloudflare is one of the providers offering both free and paid CDN services with reliable performance.

3. Providing a Database for Operation

Another function of the server is to provide a database as a storage and data processor. Typically, large companies utilize this function to implement big data.

Eventually, all the data stored in the database can be processed and accessed by users. With this service in place, many companies can develop their business products.

4. Managing Data or File Transfer Traffic

The server will manage communication and information transfer between clients. Imagine how busy a network server can be when multiple clients request information simultaneously. To handle this, server devices usually have high capacities, such as large hard disks and RAM.

5. Securing Against Criminal Attacks

The final function of the server is to protect computers or websites from hacker attacks.

Whenever there is a data request from a client, the server will check the IP address and other information. If anything suspicious is detected, such as malware threats, the server can prevent access from that IP address. By doing so, the data stored on the computer or website can remain secure.

Well, those were some server functions. Want to know how servers work? Scroll down below!

How Does a Server Work?

Alright. After understanding the concept of a server, let's now discuss how a server operates. Simply put, the server's function is to process requests from clients connected within a network. Here's the illustration:

A client computer will send a request for data or services to the server. Once the request is received, the server will process it and send back the results to the client computer.

For example, let's consider the process of a client's request to a web server. Suppose you want to open the Factqyu website, so you type the address www.factqyu.com in your browser.

Then, the browser will request information about the Factqyu site from the web server.

Next, the server will search for the website's identity or IP address in the DNS server first. Once it knows the website's IP address, the server can then send the information back to the browser for display.

Now you understand how a server works, right? Let's proceed by discussing examples of servers in the next point!

What are the Types and Functions of Servers?

Here is an overview of the types of servers available and their functions:

1. Web Server

What are the Types and Functions of Servers?

A web server is software that functions to run websites. This server is used as the central processing unit for websites and stores various website data, such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript documents.

To display web pages, the web server receives specific codes from the browser. The browser then processes the results to display the content.

The quality of the web server used can significantly impact the website's performance. There are several popular web server examples available, but the best server that can maximize website performance is LiteSpeed.

LiteSpeed offers performance that can lighten the server load up to 3 times better than other popular web servers.

2. Mail Server

Mail Server

A mail server is a server that provides facilities for managing and storing user email data. This server receives and forwards emails from the sender to the recipient.

Mail servers have specific protocols for exchanging email messages. To send emails, the mail server uses SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), while POP3 (Post Office Protocol) is used to receive and store emails.

Metaphorically, a mail server is a virtual post office. When you send an email to someone, this type of server identifies the recipient's address, and then the email is delivered to the recipient.

Mail servers are commonly used by businesses as they facilitate email marketing, allowing quick delivery of emails to multiple recipients at once. Additionally, email servers have special security systems that can block incoming spam emails and prevent outgoing emails from being marked as spam.

3. Application Server

Application Server

An application server is a software that provides services or processes services in response to any data access requests from clients connected to a computer network. Communication between the client and this application server can use the HTTP protocol.

This type of server is commonly used to execute a procedure, whether it's a program or a script, enabling the application to function.

At a glance, an application server appears similar to a web server, both providing services to clients and using the HTTP protocol. However, there is one key difference.

Web servers are typically used to create static websites, where the content information remains unchanged. On the other hand, application servers are commonly used to create dynamic sites or applications, such as object pooling, messaging services, transactional applications, and more.

Many application servers also have a web server as an integral part of their system, allowing them to perform similar functions.

4. Database Server

Database Server

A database server is a computer system that provides services for accessing and retrieving information from a database. Many companies use database servers to store and process their data and information.

This type of server can be accessed through a user interface (front end) or through a remote shell that directly accesses the database server (back end).

To access the network server, users need to use a query language specific to their database. One of the most popular query languages is SQL (Structured Query Language).

5. FTP Server

FTP Server

File Transfer Protocol or FTP is an internet protocol designed to connect to servers so that users can download and upload files.

FTP servers are also used to send large-sized data to hosting services. FTP connects to the server and provides file transfer, download, and upload services using the internet.

The function of this server differs from file servers, which only provide data for computer users within a specific network. As a result, users can easily transfer information using an FTP server.

6. DHCP Server

DHCP Server

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol or DHCP Server is a device that functions to configure and automatically assign IP addresses to client computers.

The DHCP server also has the capability to update configurations or make changes to IP addresses, such as handling expired IP addresses or portable devices moving to different locations.

Moreover, the configuration process performed by this type of server can minimize errors that often occur when done manually, like typing mistakes or IP conflicts.

DHCP servers are also valuable in large networks, as they can process multiple client requests simultaneously, making network administration more efficient and straightforward.

7. File Server

File Server

A file server is a computer network that stores and manages all computer data within a network. It includes various types of files such as documents, images, videos, music, and more.

This network server is utilized to organize information and facilitate communication within the network. Typically, file servers are employed in local area networks like office networks, internet cafes, and similar setups.

8. Proxy Server

Proxy Server

A proxy server is a device or computer that provides proxy services. A proxy system enables you to access the internet with a different IP address than your device's actual IP.

Proxy services are commonly used to secure user identity when accessing the internet, restrict access to specific websites, and even block access to certain sites and social media platforms.

If you own a website, you can also use a proxy server to control access to your site.

9. Streaming Server

Streaming Server

A streaming server is a server that provides services for playing videos directly on a website, such as YouTube, Netflix, Viu, and others. With this type of server, you can enjoy audio and large-sized video broadcasts without the need to download them beforehand.

10. Game Server

Game Server

A game server is a gaming hub that functions to connect or bring players together. This type of server is specifically designed for a particular game, ensuring that the presence of numerous players does not disrupt the gameplay.

Game servers come in two categories: external servers and internal servers. External servers refer to the storage provided by the game developer, while internal servers are the storage on the user's computer. One of the popular game network servers used is Steam.

So, a server is...

Congratulations! Now you have a deeper understanding of what a server is, its functions, and how it works. A server is a computer device that has substantial resources and specialized services for storing data on a computer or other client devices.

Network servers also come in various types, each serving its specific function. For example, web servers are designed to run websites, mail servers for sending and receiving emails, and DHCP servers for more efficient IP address configurations.

By the way, to fully benefit from a server, it is crucial to choose a reliable server provider.

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