Browse Definitions:
Definition

server

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Server form factors: A guide to rackmount, blade servers and more

A server is a computer program that provides services to other computer programs (and their users) in the same or other computers. The computer that a server program runs in is also frequently referred to as a server. That machine may be a dedicated server or used for other purposes as well.

In the client/server programming model, a server program awaits and fulfills requests from client programs, which may be running in the same or other computers. A given application in a computer may function as a client with requests for services from other programs and also as a server of requests from other programs.

Servers are often categorized in terms of their purpose. A Web server, for example, is a computer program that serves requested HTML pages or files. A Web client is the requesting program associated with the user. The Web browser in your computer is a client that requests HTML files from Web servers.

Here are a few types of servers, among a great number of other possibilities:

An application server is a program in a computer in a distributed network that provides the business logic for an application program. 

A proxy server is software that acts as an intermediary between an endpoint device, such as a computer, and another server from which a user or client is requesting a service. 

A mail server is an application that receives incoming e-mail from local users (people within the same domain) and remote senders and forwards outgoing e-mail for delivery. 

A virtual server is a program running on a shared server that is configured in such a way that it seems to each user that they have complete control of a server. 

A blade server is a server chassis housing multiple thin, modular electronic circuit boards, known as server blades. Each blade is a server in its own right, often dedicated to a single application.

A file server is a computer responsible for the central storage and management of data files so that other computers on the same network can access them.

A policy server is a security component of a policy-based network that provides authorization services and facilitates tracking and control of files. 

See an introduction to servers in a data center context:

See also: server virtualization, server sprawl

This was last updated in September 2016

Continue Reading About server

Join the conversation

16 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

helps me about telling me basic of iis
Cancel
nice
Cancel
it helps me know about it clearly
Cancel
thank you............
Cancel
i think this website is shit
Cancel
ok but with cloud storage these days y would u need a server for a small business with around 5 to 10 employees ?
Cancel
:p
Cancel
What sort of server did Hillary Clinton have at her home in New York and what we're its functions?
Cancel
That should have been the mail server. Mail servers actually stores the mails of all the persons in a organization.
Cancel
this really helped thank you! ^^ *wink*
Cancel
this didnt help me at all
Cancel
Please explain why my computer keeps, coming on with comments saying: (server is not responding) This is a brand new computer. Everything is going down. Thank you for your time.
Cancel
I wouldn't call a sever a program.. more of a machine.
Cancel
Cheers mate your really cool
Cancel
hio
Cancel
The application server actually stores all the applications that are used by the employs of any organisation to use the application directly from the server rather downloading the application in the user system and install it to use them.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • biometrics

    Biometrics is the measurement and statistical analysis of people's unique physical and behavioral characteristics.

  • principle of least privilege (POLP)

    The principle of least privilege (POLP), an important concept in computer security, is the practice of limiting access rights for...

  • identity management (ID management)

    Identity management (ID management) is the organizational process for identifying, authenticating and authorizing individuals or ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close