What Does a Server Actually Do in Your IT Infrastructure?

by Robert Best on April 30, 2016
Find me on:

what is a server

Most businesses have a server but do you know what it actually does? The sheer size of some servers can be intimidating and discourage people from understanding what they do.A server plays a vital role in business technology. To be able to store and access data smoothly across your network you need to have a server setup correctly.

What is a server?

What is a server and what does a server do? A server is a computer that serves information to other computers. These computers, called clients, can connect to a server through either a local area network or a wide area network, such as the internet. A server is a vital piece of your IT infrastructure.

What does a server do?

A server collects and sends information across a network. That can be a local network, like your business network, or a wider network across multiple locations.

Any computer running the right software can be a server. Although when we hear the word server we think of enormous, high-powered machines that push and pull data across the web.

How does a server work?

Every time you use the internet you are accessing a server. When you enter a URL into a browser your computer communicates with the server hosting that website and pulls the data onto your machine.

This is a simplistic view of how the process works

  • You enter a URL and your web browser requests a web page 
  • The web browser requests a full URL for the site it wants to display
  • This information is sent to the server
  • The web server finds and builds all the data needed to display the site (this is why some sites load quicker than others)
  • Your web browser receives the data and displays the website to you

What else do I need to know about a server?

Hardware-wise a server is just a computer but without anyone working behind it at a monitor. In a typical business networked environment, you might find a mail server that does all the mail traffic and storage, a print server that handles all printers or a database server that houses the corporate database.

There are many different types of servers, including Web servers, mail servers, and file servers. A web server serves Web pages to computers that connect to it. It can also resolve scripting languages such a PHP, ASP, and JSP. A mail server stores users’ e-mail accounts and sends and receives e-mail messages. For example, if you send an e-mail to a friend, the message gets sent by a mail server, using the SMTP protocol.

A file server is a computer that stores files that can be accessed by other computers. File servers are often used within local networks and typically require a password or some sort of authorisation to connect to it.

These are a few examples of some common servers, but there are many more types that exist. Just about any computer can be used as a server if the necessary server software is installed on it and the hardware is powerful enough to process the workload.

While servers typically don’t need a lot of processing power, lots of RAM and fast hard drives help deal with heavy traffic to and from the server.

For more information on how we can help with your server needs contact us here, email hello@infotech.co.uk or call us on 01634 52 52 52.

book a discovery audit to health check your it

Topics: General Information Technology

Join The Conversation

Please leave your comments below

Customer support

Recent Posts

Popular Posts