ARCHIVE / What is a server?

The concept of a server is often misunderstood in that many people often think of servers as being special computers.  Because of the need to optimize certain functions, servers are most often run on dedicated computers.  So, there is certainly some basis for this belief.  However, a server is actually a piece of software that is able to provide services to more than one recipient, referred to as a client.  A web server thus refers not to a piece of hardware but rather a piece of software that provides web services, most commonly the provision of files used by web browsers to display a web page.  There are many, many types of servers in use, such as print servers, fax servers, email servers and even computer servers.  Computer servers, specifically, are able to provide computing services to multiple individuals who are able to access those services simultaneously.

last updated 2007.09.27

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