Server-TypesServers are used to provide services and functionality to individual computers within a network. Even a single user can benefit from the efficiency and security of a server, whereas small and medium-sized businesses can greatly improve their workflow.

A solid IT environment, with a Dell or HP server as the foundation, is a popular choice among many companies. Depending on the usage of a server, however, there are several types available on the market today.

1. File servers

The most popular use of a server is to store and manage large amounts of data. Each computer, or client, can then retrieve and pull files from the server which performs the function of a database. It not only lessens the burden of individual machines requiring the space and power to store and access files, but a server also adds a layer of security. In the case of a single computer containing sensitive company data, an outage or loss can be detrimental to the workflow. Maintaining sensitive files on a file server ensures access even when individual computers fail. Power outages and data losses due to human error will no longer pose a threat as the file servers constantly create backups.

2. Proxy servers

A proxy server is designed to manage a computer’s interaction with the internet across a network. For example, in a residential environment it can be used as a gateway to restrict websites and allocate bandwidth to certain devices. Parents can monitor how children use the internet and which websites they have access to. In the business environment a proxy server can restrict web access that goes against company policy. On the other hand, it also improves security by flagging and blocking potentially malicious websites. Privacy is also increased with the use of a proxy server as it can change IP addresses making browsing websites more anonymous.

3. Mail servers

While most computer users use a shared server to send emails, companies can greatly benefit from having their own secure company email server. A dedicated server for company emails, meaning a server that does not need to share resources and is only used for this specific purpose, means optimal processing speed and reliability. Communication between employees and within the company, perhaps the foundation of workflow, is prioritized and more secure than when passing through a shared server. With a dedicated mail server, emails containing sensitive data have added protection from possible breaches.

4. Web servers

This type of server is used to store, process, and deliver webpages to clients with the use of hypertext transfer protocol, or HTTP. Web servers are essentially computers that store data that users can access and pull from the internet. It processes incoming requests and delivers pages typically in hypertext markup language, or HTML format. Websites that have a dedicated server have the resources and power to deliver to clients more efficiently. Shared hosting is the alternative to a dedicated server as it is a cheaper and more ideal option for less demanding requests and overall traffic.

5. Application servers

Application servers are a popular option for both home and office environments. It essentially hosts, manages, and stores applications that are used by individuals across a network. Updates and upgrades can be done from a central point, thereby providing more overall security. Small and medium-sized businesses benefit from a lower total cost of ownership with the implementation of an application server.