Server: what it is, what it is used for and types

In the world of computing, the concept of servers is one of the most important, as they are fundamental components to be able to offer services to users of a network.  

In this text we will talk to you about what a server is and what it is used for, ending with a list of the different types of servers that exist.


What is a server

A server is a computer that is located within a computer network and that provides services to other client computers on that network . These types of devices store and distribute data based on the client/server model, where the client requests a service and the server offers it. 

What is the function of a server and how does it work?

Let’s see what a server is for. This type of physical or virtual machines are responsible for providing services to the requests of clients on their network. For example, an email server allows a client to manage the sending and receiving of its emails.  

A very important characteristic of any type of server is its availability . If a server goes down, clients no longer have access to its services. For this reason , the servers are never turned off , as is the case with other types of devices, always remaining on and connected to the network to be able to respond to user requests.  

Server types

Servers can be physical , if they use a specific computer that acts as such, or virtual , where the server is a service provided by a physical machine. A physical server can provide different virtual servers through software, assigning each of them its own hardware resources.  

Among the most common types of servers we have:

  • Web server . They provide users with access to the content of web pages, eCommerce and blog  

  • Email server . They allow the management of email accounts by users (sending, receiving, storing and deleting messages). They are normally divided into two types: POP3 or IMAP servers for receiving messages and SMTP servers for sending.    

  • DNS Server . Redirect an IP address to a domain name

  • Proxy Server . A gateway server used primarily as a security layer and for anonymous web browsing

  • FTP server  . Server for file sharing between client and server

  • VPN . Virtual private server used as a security layer for secure access to networks and systems (used to facilitate teleworking, for example)

Within web servers we have different types such as the dedicated server , the shared server or the virtual server .    

There are other types of servers such as chat systems, fax servers, DHCP servers, database servers or print servers.

We have seen what the function of the server is and what an email server is for. Thanks to the use of virtual or physical servers, you can request services such as email management, storage, web pages, eCommerce or domain registrations.