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What does a server do?

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2009-09-23 20:00:10

A server is a computer that serves information to other

computers. These computers, called clients, can connect to a server

through either a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network

(WAN), such as the Internet.

There are a number of different types of servers, including Web

servers, mail servers, and file servers. A web server serves Web

pages to computers that connect to it. It also can parse scripting

languages such as PHP, ASP, and JSP. A mail server stores users'

e-mail accounts and sends and receives e-mail messages. For

example, when you send an e-mail to a friend, the message is sent

by a mail server, using the SMTP protocol. A file server is a

computer that stores files that can be accessed by other computers.

File servers are often used within local networks and typically

require a password or some kind of authentication to connect to


These are a few examples of some common servers, but several other

types of servers exist. Just about any computer can be used as a

server if the necessary server software is installed on it. While

servers typically don't need a lot of processing power, lots of RAM

and fast hard drives are helpful for dealing with heavy traffic to

and from the server.

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