Definition of server in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is Server (in computer networking)?

A computer whose role in a network is to provide services and resources to users. Servers usually have one or more specific roles in a network:

  • Application servers are used as the back end in a client/server environment. An example of an application server is Microsoft Exchange Server, which functions as the back end of a client/server messaging system that includes Microsoft Outlook as the front-end user interface.
  • File and print servers provide users with centralized locations for storing files and accessing print devices. Microsoft Windows 2000 member servers and Windows 2000 servers running Internet Information Services (IIS) are examples of file servers.
  • Authentication servers or security servers validate users for logging on and accessing network resources. An example is a Windows 2000 domain controller.
  • Web servers can be used to host anything from static Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) pages to commercial Web applications such as online storefronts. IIS is an ideal platform for developing Web-based applications using Active Server Pages (ASP) technology.