The internet is a collection of clients looking for data and services, and servers that provide them. Find out about the many types of server. In modern programming, the prevailing architecture relies on client-server communication. A client computer requests data from a server. The server receives the request and responds to it with the data or an error of some sort.
The word “server” can refer to both computer hardware and software that provides functionality for other programs.
There are many types of servers used in computer networking, but here are eight basic server types:
- File Server: A file server is a server that stores files and enables clients to access and manage them over a network.
- Web Server: A web server is a server that hosts websites, and responds to requests from web browsers for web pages and other online content.
- Mail Server: A mail server is a server that manages email communication by routing, storing, and retrieving messages.
- Application Server: An application server is a server that provides a platform for running applications, and handles tasks such as database access, transaction processing, and security.
- Database Server: A database server is a server that stores and manages data, and allows clients to access and manipulate it through database management systems.
- Proxy Server: A proxy server is a server that acts as an intermediary between clients and other servers, and can be used for various purposes such as caching, filtering, and load balancing.
- Print Server: A print server is a server that manages printing services, and enables clients to send print jobs to printers connected to the network.
- DNS Server: A DNS server is a server that translates domain names into IP addresses, and vice versa, so that clients can locate and communicate with servers and other devices on the network.
An origin server is a type of server that holds the original, definitive version of a website or web application. When a user requests to access a website, the request is sent to the origin server, which responds by sending the website's files and content to the user's browser.
Origin servers are important in content delivery networks ( CDNs ), which are distributed networks of servers that deliver content to users based on their geographic location. In a CDN, the origin server is the server that holds the original copy of the content, while other servers in the network (called edge servers or cache servers) store copies of the content closer to the user, which can speed up delivery and improve performance.
In addition to hosting websites and web applications, origin servers can also store other types of content, such as multimedia files, databases, and software updates. They may also perform other tasks, such as handling authentication and security, managing user accounts, and processing transactions.
A Proxy server is an application that acts as an intermediary between a client and a server. They process a request on behalf of the client and mask its identity. They deliver the response from the source server.
Proxy servers act as content control software. They filter encrypted data, log, access services, and boost security in the network. Proxy servers use different types of protocols to get work done.
You can create your own Proxy server to help hide the identity of your devices on the web. This can lessen the chance of you suffering an attack. Organizations use proxy servers to restrict the type of web content available on their network. They work together with origin servers to reduce latency and improve security.
A proxy server is an intermediary server that acts as a gateway between clients and other servers. When a client makes a request to access a server, the request first goes through the proxy server, which evaluates the request and either fulfills it from its own cache or forwards it to the appropriate server.
Proxy servers can be used for various purposes, including:
- Caching: Proxy servers can cache frequently requested content, such as web pages or multimedia files, and serve them directly to clients without having to fetch them from the original server each time. This can improve performance and reduce network traffic.
- Filtering: Proxy servers can filter content based on various criteria, such as URL, IP address, or content type. This can be used for security purposes, such as blocking access to malicious websites or restricting access to certain types of content.
- Anonymity: Proxy servers can hide the IP address and other identifying information of clients, making it more difficult to track their online activities.
- Load balancing: Proxy servers can distribute requests among multiple servers based on factors such as server availability or network congestion, which can improve performance and reliability.
- Access control: Proxy servers can restrict access to certain servers or services based on factors such as user identity or location, which can enhance security and compliance.
Proxy servers can be deployed at various points in the network, including at the client's premises, on the local area network, or on the internet. There are also different types of proxy servers, such as forward proxies, reverse proxies, and transparent proxies, which differ in how they handle client requests and server responses.
A web server is both software and hardware that processes requests over the web. Web servers use network protocols to process content. These protocols include HTTP ( Hypertext Transfer Protocol ), SMTP ( Simple Mail Transfer Protocol ), and FTP ( File Transfer Protocol ).
Web servers work to display website content. They process, store, and deliver content through the web, to users. The web server hardware connects and exchanges data with connected devices.
A web server is a type of server that delivers content, such as web pages and multimedia files, to clients over the internet or a local network. When a client requests a web page, the request is sent to the web server, which responds by sending the appropriate content to the client's browser.
The software controls how a user accesses the data. You can use web servers in web hosting or hosting data for web-based applications.
Web servers can be used to host various types of content, including static content (such as HTML pages and image files) and dynamic content (such as web applications and database-driven content). They may also support various protocols, such as HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), HTTPS (HTTP Secure), and FTP (File Transfer Protocol).
Some popular web servers include:
Database servers manage databases containing data or information. They can be any server that maintains files in a database application. They control access to the database for authorized users.
Programmers create databases on database servers using scripting languages like SQL. Applications have to connect to the database server to access the database.
Database servers keep backup data in a central location. They allow authorized users and applications on the network to access the data. Organizations use database servers to filter client requests and protect data.
One database can have several servers, and several databases can have one server. Examples of database servers include Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle.
A database server is a type of server that is designed to store, manage, and retrieve data from one or more databases. Databases are structured collections of data that can be accessed, manipulated, and analyzed by software applications and users. Database servers can be used to support various types of applications, such as e-commerce websites, financial systems, customer relationship management ( CRM ) systems, and content management systems ( CMS ). They can also store various types of data, such as text, numbers, images, videos, and other multimedia content.
Some popular database server software includes:
MySQL: MySQL is an open-source relational database management system ( RDBMS ) that is widely used for web applications. It supports various operating systems and programming languages, and can be used for small-scale to large-scale applications. Oracle Database: Oracle Database is a commercial RDBMS that is used for enterprise-level applications. It supports advanced features such as partitioning, clustering, and replication, and can be integrated with other Oracle products such as Oracle WebLogic Server.
Microsoft SQL Server: Microsoft SQL Server is a commercial RDBMS that is used for Windows-based applications. It supports advanced features such as business intelligence, data warehousing, and high availability. PostgreSQL: PostgreSQL is an open-source RDBMS that is known for its extensibility and SQL compliance. It supports advanced features such as geospatial data storage, JSON data type, and full-text search.
MongoDB: MongoDB is a NoSQL database management system that is designed for large-scale, unstructured data. It uses a document-oriented data model, which can be more flexible and scalable than traditional relational databases.
Database servers can be configured and managed through various tools and interfaces, such as command-line utilities, graphical user interfaces (GUIs), and APIs. They may also include various security features, such as access control, encryption, and auditing.
A cloud server is a centralized server hosted remotely by a cloud service provider. Clients can access the server via an internet connection. Like physical servers, cloud servers can store, process and deliver data. Cloud servers provide services to clients remotely regardless of location.
Cloud servers are physical servers delivered through the internet. This happens through a process called virtualization. When a hypervisor abstracts physical servers, it creates a virtual resource. The virtual resource is then automated and delivered to clients through the internet.
Clients that use cloud servers don't own or manage their own physical servers. Instead, a third-party organization provides server services. This is the infrastructure-as-a-service ( IaaS ) model.
It's a form of cloud computing that provides virtual services over the internet. Clients pay to use cloud servers to store and manage resources and scale whenever they want. Clients can share a public cloud or have a private or hybrid cloud(on-premise and virtual). Examples of cloud server providers include Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
A cloud server is a type of virtual server that is hosted and delivered over the internet by a cloud computing provider. Cloud servers are designed to be flexible, scalable, and cost-effective, allowing users to easily provision and deploy servers and other resources as needed.
Cloud servers can be used to support various types of applications and workloads, such as web hosting, e-commerce, big data processing, and enterprise applications. They can be accessed and managed remotely, using various tools and interfaces provided by the cloud provider.
Some advantages of using cloud servers include:
- Scalability: Cloud servers can be easily scaled up or down to meet changing demands, without requiring hardware upgrades or complex configurations.
- Flexibility: Cloud servers can be provisioned and deployed quickly and easily, allowing users to experiment with new applications and technologies without making a large upfront investment.
- Reliability: Cloud servers are hosted in secure and redundant data centers, providing high levels of uptime and availability.
- Cost-effectiveness: Cloud servers are typically charged on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing users to only pay for the resources they use, without incurring additional costs for hardware maintenance and upgrades.
Some popular cloud server providers include:
- Amazon Web Services ( AWS ): AWS is a cloud computing platform that offers various services, such as virtual servers, storage, and databases. It is known for its scalability, reliability, and security.
- Microsoft Azure: Azure is a cloud computing platform that offers various services, such as virtual servers, databases, and machine learning. It is integrated with other Microsoft products, such as Windows and Office, and offers hybrid cloud capabilities.
- Google Cloud Platform ( GCP ): GCP is a cloud computing platform that offers various services, such as virtual servers, storage, and data analytics. It is known for its high-performance computing capabilities and machine learning tools.
Cloud servers can be accessed and managed through various tools and interfaces, such as web-based consoles, command-line interfaces, and APIs. They may also include various security features, such as encryption, access control, and auditing.
Mail servers control the sending and receiving of mail over a network. Receives mail from clients and delivers mail to other mail servers and clients. Mail servers handle and deliver email over a network like the internet.
A mail server powers email services. It receives an email from a client and delivers it to another mail server. A client can be any computing software, for example, a desktop or mobile device. Mail servers use SMTP to process and deliver information. Gmail provides a free SMTP server that you can use to send emails from your app or website. Examples of clients that use mail servers include Gmail, Yahoo, etc.
A mail server, also known as a mail transfer agent ( MTA ), is a server that is responsible for sending, receiving, and delivering email messages between different users and domains. Email is a widely used method of communication, and mail servers play a critical role in ensuring that email messages are delivered correctly and securely.
Mail User Agent ( MUA ): This is the software that users use to create, send, and receive email messages. Examples of popular MUAs include Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird.
Mail Transfer Agent ( MTA ): This is the software that is responsible for routing email messages between different mail servers. Examples of popular MTAs include Postfix, Sendmail, and Microsoft Exchange.
Mail Delivery Agent ( MDA ): This is the software that is responsible for delivering email messages to the intended recipient's mailbox. Examples of popular MDAs include Dovecot and Courier.
Mail servers can use various protocols to send and receive email messages, such as Simple Mail Transfer Protocol ( SMTP ), Post Office Protocol ( POP ), and Internet Message Access Protocol ( IMAP ). These protocols provide different levels of functionality and security, and are used in different ways depending on the specific requirements of the mail server and its users.
Mail servers can be configured and managed through various tools and interfaces, such as web-based consoles, command-line interfaces, and APIs. They may also include various security features, such as encryption, spam filtering, and antivirus scanning.