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What is Server – Definition, Types, and More

What is Server – Definition, Types, and More

Definition – Server

It is a computer device that stores, distributes, and supplies information. Servers work based on the “client-server” model. The client can be both a computer and an application that requires information from the server to function. Therefore, a server will offer the client’s information as long as the client is authorize. Servers can be physical or virtual.

In the case of the physical , it is hardware , also known as a host. It is a machine (in the form of a tower or mountable) integrated into a network of software-based nodes. On the other hand, virtual servers (VPS, Virtual Private Server ) provide services to other programs (clients).

The services provide by the servers are continually require, and therefore most servers never shut down. If a server goes down, that can cause a lot of problems for users. Therefore, servers are programs to be fault-tolerant.

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Types of Servers

Within the world of servers, there is a great variety. The most used and known are the following:


It stores and organizes web pages’ content and provides it to the user through its web browser. Data transmission is usually with HTTP ( Hypertext Transfer Protocol ). The HTTP is responsible for transmitting the information from the WWW ( World Wide Web ), establishing semantic and syntactic criteria so that the requesting computer and the one containing the information have a common language in which to communicate. The most popular web servers are Apache web server, Nginx, and Microsoft.


The English acronym for Domain Name Server , although the “S” can also refer to service or space without changing the server’s meaning or function. The domain is the name giving to a web page. The DNS server is responsible for relating a domain address ( with its IP address corresponding (

The process of linking to the website works as follows. First, a user inserts the domain address in his search engine. This request reaches a DNS server that transforms said domain into its IP address. The web server recognizes this IP address, and the latter provides the content of the web to the Username. Also, the web domain is essential for the image of the company. The domain is marking with the end of the web address (.com, .es, NL, .net, .org,…).

Proxy Server

It is a gateway server. It is responsible for connecting a client network (web browser or application) with an external system so that the connection request can be carried out with better performance and accessibility. In other words.

The connection benefits from the cache it stores, making a page already visited by the user load faster and reducing network bandwidth. For example, when a type of invoice is usually sent to specific recipients, the system proposes auto-complete one or more fields with those recurring recipients’ data.

Email Server

It takes care of the users’ email flow, allowing emails to be store, sent, receive, and forward.

FTP Server

The name comes from File Transfer Protocol, also known as file transfer protocol in Spanish. It is using to handover files between a client and a server. In this way, the server can receive files from the client and make it possible to download the files to the clients. To improve speed, SFTP is used, which also offers an encrypt security service.

These are the most popular types of servers, but not the only ones. Some servers offer a wide variety of services within the market, from operations in the video game sector to business chat.

What are the Differences and Costs of Server?

Once you know that you need a server, the next step is to decide if you want cloud ( cloud ) or on-premises ( locally ) and if you want your own or SaaS (“renting” it from the provider). When answering this, the characteristics of the company must be taken into account. For example, your activity, file upload, connectivity you will have with external programs, etc.

The current trend for small and medium-sized businesses is to have a server in the cloud. This happens due to the rapid implementation, the extraordinary mobility that it allows, the maintenance carried out by the supplier, and the low cost (of implementation). For SMEs, the price of locating a server locally, its installation and maintenance can be expensive to cover.

Also, installing a local hardware server, from the moment it is order until the hardware is receive and install, usually takes between 3 and 10 days. The delay depends on several factors: the type of hardware it is, its power, the brand, if it needs extra features, the type of software that will be working, among other elements.

However, for large companies requiring multiple servers or those whose activity requires that the servers meet specific unique technical characteristics, it may be more profitable to have a server locally (on-premise). This second case is that of companies that need the server to have great power, graphic cards, links with CAD programs ( Computer-Aided Design ), which can work with R + D + I, simulations, etc.

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In conclusion, companies that require high access speed or above-average power due to the technology they use are more likely to choose an on-premises server. For example, an engineering company may require more server power than a production company due to the type of programs it handles. Although the cloud servers on the market are robust, on-premises servers are still generally ahead of the game in terms of power.

Those who manage to match the on-premise in power suppose a high cost even in the SaaS model (software as a service). A high-powered cloud server with a special graphics card, RAM, and SSD and a large storage capacity could cost around € 1,500 per month while acquiring one of these characteristics on-premise could cost around € 12,000-13,000.

Therefore, it may compensate the initial cost of € 1,500 per month (about € 18,000 per year). Since, due to the extra costs of on-premise maintenance, the cloud option will be more affordable. However, if you have more than one on-premises server, the maintenance cost would be almost the same for one server as for two, three, or four. So it could be that the price is compensate before two years, and it is compensate to have it locally.

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