Types of Server: A Detective Guide to Understanding Each and Every Server

What is Server?— We won’t go that way. My present tutorial is on different Types of Server; in detail, learning every server from the very backdrop it had emerged from. Hence, this presentation will include each server’s background to evolve, purpose, uses and relationship with other types as far as necessary.

So, I’ve assumed that you are aware of the primary know-how of Server. If not, just follow this tutorial before you proceed-What is Server: Where, How and Why to Build Server

Yet, as a starting line, we can identify Server the following way—

A Server is a computer Program (with computer itself) that stores, receives and processes data and transfer to other Client program, in other word, to other computer users, responding to their request through definite Protocol.

Types of Server focus image

The structure following which Server sends data to Client is called Server-Client Model.

In this data transmission model, there are two components—

  1. Server
  2. Client

Remember, Client is an integral part of Server. Server software won’t work without presence of Client software.

Introduction to Types of Server

Now, for the sake of understanding every Server type easily, let’s get acquainted with the things required for Server and Client.

A Server requires—

  • A computer with a definite Operating system (Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X etc.) installed.
  • Connection with Network (Internet, WAN or LAN)
  • Providing sufficient Hardware as per necessity
  • Definite Server Software installed
  • Software setting up and Configuration
  • Use of Definite Protocol
  • Use of Definite Port (Port number)
  • Storing data

In fact, Hardware requirement varies as per Server’s volume, data type, network speed, users’ bandwidth etc. It is essential to provide sufficient RAM, Processor and Storage device- HDD or SSD to make the Server capable enough to handle the server-load so that it might not slow down or fall. However, simply a PC at home with necessary software and configuration can be turned into a Server.

A Client needs—

  • A computer with definite Client software based on Server installed
  • Connection with the same Network as with Server

Actually, Client is the software through which  a user enters the Server.

Different Types of Server

First let’s take a look at the list of varied Servers at a glance available in and around the Network—

  • Web Server
  • FTP Server
  • Mail Server
  • News Server
  • Proxy Server
  • Virtual Server
  • Application Server
  • Dedicated Server
  • List Server
  • Chat Server
  • IRC Server
  • Groupware Server

This is not a complete list. There are other probabilities to add to it that might deserve being enlisted for specialized discussion.

There are many kinds of Server which are very difficult to explain from a common perspective. Different types of Server have emerged to serve different purposes or to meet different challenges to make data transmission easier than before throughout Server development history.

So we see that each of the servers listed above is not the basic one. When comes the question of Types of Server, I toplist the following servers that are structured for transmission of definite type of data. We can get a complete idea of Server types from their distinctive discussion. They are—

  • Web Server: For website or web page transmission.
  • FTP Server: For file transfer.
  • Mail Server: For transferring email.

Other Servers either emerged as the variants of above-mentioned servers or as their Composite structure or came from different background or to server purposes differently.

In the next step, we’re pinpointing several servers along with the basic ones. I think this detective study and hinting style of presentation will certainly remove all your doubt about Types of Server.

Web Server
  • What-is: On consideration of understanding different servers, Web Server, I think, is the ideal server. It is easy to understand Server by studying Web Server as most of the interaction between User and Server occurs centering round the Web Server. So it is popular and well-known to common users.
    Web Server is built and used for Website or webpage transmission. In today’s world of Internet, there are about 1.5 billion websites (2018) among which about 200 million are active. The Server where these websites are hosted is called Web Server. Web Server stores files of these websites and display to the users’ computer screen as response to their request by Browser.
  • What is Transferred : Web site or Web page in form of different media like text, image, video, animation, audio etc.
  • How originated: Website style of data transmission started its journey after Berners-Lee invented WWW in 1989. It is the latest data transmission model which brought about revolution in the history of Internet. Today users can interact through this webpage the most possible ways.
  • Software Requirement: Apache, IIS [Internet Information Service], Lighttpd, Nginx etc.
  • Client Program: Browser
  • Protocol: HTTP [Hypertext Transfer Protocol]
  • Port Number: Words through Port 80.
  • How to use: Users need website address or definite webpage URL (check out for URL here) to enter a definite website. If a user type URL (such as http://www.example.com) in the Browser’s address bar and click to send request to Web Server, Server will respond to the request and send the desired webpage to the Browser screen.
  • Public Usability: Anybody can access any webpage throughout the world via a Browser software connected to Internet. For this, he/she needs an URL or webapge link and in some cases Log in Credentials. To build Web Server of your own with own Widows PC, follow this link.
  • Final Words: As a matter of fact, Web server is a part of Server-Client model of webpage-based data transfer. It is the ultimate development of man’s technological ability to sending and receiving web resources through worldwide spread cable network. Before Webpage or Web-server age, Internet resources were being transferred through internet in form of files, news, mail etc not as website. There were very limited possibility of interaction between users.
FTP Server
  • What-is: FTP Server is used to transfer only files between FTP Server and Client or User. FTP is older resources-transfer model than HTTP that Web Server follows. FTP started its journey during primary period of Internet in 1970s. FTP is faster file transfer model. Through FTP channel, a user can upload and download packed files without ability to accessing its contents. Nowadays Web Servers also provide FTP service for which common users can access FTP Server of any website and download files if he/she can gain permission. Considered faster and more secure channel, FTP is frequently used technology for sending and receiving files between any FTP Server and FTP Client spending less time and cost.
  • What to Transfer : Any media- Text, Image, Audio, Video etc. in form of files.
  • How originated: At the initial stage of development of Internet, Communication between two computers irrespective of locations was limited in sending text message, mail, news, image etc. with simple interaction such as replying mail or message, answer to question and commenting. FTP came into being, a new technological door opened before the world to exchange even large volume of files of texts, graphics, audio and video in a cheaper means.
  • Software Requirement: FileZilla Server, Xlight FTP Server, Complete FTP Server, Core FTP Server etc.
  • Client Program: Browser and other FTP clients like FileZilla, Cyberduck, Free FTP, WinSCP etc.
  • Protocol: FTP [File Transfer Protocol]
  • Port Number: 21 or 22
  • How to use: To enter an FTP Server, you need to collect server address and permission (Username and Password) from server administration. Then, to enter via Browser, type the address on Address bar, press Enter and provide log in Credential and enjoy. And, if you like to enter via FTP Client like FileZilla, open that program, Provide Log in information in the relevant field, click Connect and enjoy.
  • Public Usability: Anybody can access any FTP Server if he/she has permission and can collect Username and Password. If you like to build up FTP Server with your own PC, follow this link.
  • Final Words: If you need to download large volume files especially video file, as the source admin to allow you providing with Log in Credential. Your ISP [Internet Service Provider] has also FTP Server. You can ask their address and permission to try if there are your desired files.
MAIL Server
  • What-is: Mail Servers are Server that is used for Email communication between Server and Client. Everyday users send and receive millions of email throughout the globe via Internet. These emails are received , stored, processes and delivered by Mail Server.
  • What to Transfer : Email.
  • Why originated: The primary and instant purpose of inventing Internet (first name was ARPANET) was actually Communication. This communication was performed by messages and signals. Today’s email is the inevitable upgradation of that initial communication system.
  • Software Requirement: hMail Server, iRedMail, Kolab, Zimbra etc.
  • Client Program: Inbox by GMAIL, Mozilla Thunderbird, Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, Opera Mail, MAILBOX etc.
  • Protocol: SMTP, POP3, IMAP.
  • Port Number: 25, 2525, 465.
  • How to use: To enjoy email service (sending and receiving), common users needn’t create account with any Mail Server. You can create email account with renowned Email Account Providers like Google (gmail.com), Yahoo (yahoo.com), Microsoft (outlook.com) and so on. They have built up and are managing Mail Servers which are unified with their email service pages which are actually websites. Suppose, you have an email account from Google platform (GMAIL). Click Gmail icon. In Browser’s address you see the address https://mail.google.com. It is actually a website address which refers to Web Server not Mail Server. Mail Server address must start with smtp (protocol name). But there is Mail Server connected with gmail service behind the screen whose address is smtp.google.com. Check out details of web address or URL here.
  • Public Usability: Anybody can use free email service by creating account with Email Account Provider mentioned above. Google allows maximum 100 emails per day by Gmail account. For sending hundreds or thousands of email per day, there are email service provider companies that offer such service free (limited) and on paid. One such company name is MailChimp.
  • Final Words: When you’ve created Gmail account for email handling, your client program is Gmail Inbox by which you enter and read your emails. But Google provides option to change your Client. This means you can access your Gmail emails by changing in Gmail Setting by clicking Gear icon on upper-right of Gmail page.
News Server
  • What-is: The Term News Server is closely associated with two other terms- Usenet and Newsgroup. Usenet is a News Network started in 1979 about a decade before the Web site age started after Lee’s invention of WWW in 1989. This was the period when webpage-based communication was out of man’s imagination. At that time, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis of Duke University invented a message and file exchanging technology between computers by using UUCP (Unix-to-Unix Copy) protocol. This was the original Usenet. Over time Usenet grew up and thousands of Discussion groups called Newsgroups joined the Usenet. Each newsgroup deals with a definite topics. Present improved protocol Usenet uses is NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol) and the Server is NEWS SERVER. In the present stage of Usenet development, millions of users read and write articles; participate in discussion, commenting and sharing with different Newsgroups by using Usenet.
  • What to Transfer : Shareable resources like text, music, video, image etc.
  • How originated: Usenet started its journey in 1980 as a small communication network long before website age started. It was the period when there was no Social Media sites as we enjoy today. In the process of development of Internet communication, article writing, sharing, commenting on, questioning and answering was the latest communication media for that time.
  • Software Requirement: leafnode, slrnpull, inn2-lfs, newsx etc.
  • Client Program: Newsbin Pro, Newleecher, NZBGet, Nzb360 etc.
  • Protocol: NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol).
  • Port Number: 119
  • How to use: You can get connected with Usenet through different USP (Usenet Service Provider) for a monthly fee. Some of such popular USP are Newshosting, Eweka, Supernews, Newgroupdirect etc.
  • Public Usability: Usually anybody wishing to use Usenet needs to purchase paid subscription plan. Free Usenet service is restricted with speed limit.
  • Final Words: Before you purchase a subscription plan from any USP, you should try it fast and only consider the USP that offers free trial.
Dedicated Server

Dedicated Server is not a basic server type. The term ‘Dedicated Server‘ is applicable especially to refer to a kinds of Web Server. So we needn’t discuss it by pointing out every factor as we did for Web Server.

When we want to build up a website, we need a Hosting Server (Web Server) to store our website files. For a typical site, we purchase a Hosting Account with a definite amount of Disk Space, monthly Bandwidth, number of Subdomain and email account etc. as per our purchase plan.

In this scenario, we do not purchase the whole Web Server but a portion of it on the condition of sharing the whole Server with others. In Web Hosting business, this is a common practice to share a single Server among the Clients. This kind of Web Sever is called Dedicated Server.

In a Dedicated Server system, Clients share the same IP Address of the Server Computer but different Domain Names to locate their sites differently.

Virtual Server

Virtual Server is also a type of Web Server that provides Hosting solution to the website owners. In Web Hosting business, Virtual Server can be called Servers inside Server.

This means a basically structured Web Server with required hardware and software is divided into a number of Web Servers each of which acts as a separate server. Each of such server under a big-frame Web Server is called Virtual Server.

Unlike Dedicated Server, a Virtual Server user can enjoy more privileges and have complete control over the purchased server as if it were a full server. Each user can different IP Address for their own domain.

In addition, what a Virtual Server user can do is set and manage own file directories, add e-mail accounts and address assignments, assign multiple domain names that resolve to a basic domain name without help from the ISP channel, manage own logs and statistics analysis, and maintain passwords.

Briefly speaking, Virtual Server system is actually not Hosting but much more than that. It is Web Server service but not a complete Web Server.

Hope this presentation fulfilled your expectation of different kinds of Server. Yet if you feel hesitated, feel free to ask us by comment.

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