Non-computer network servers

Article 1: Non-computer network servers

When people hear the word server, they automatically think of a large, powerful computer that performs network related functions. When the term non-computer server is mentioned, a blank stare may be the resulting response. A server is more than just a machine; it is also the software that performs many different services for the users on a network. Non-computer servers can be: print servers, web servers, application servers, file servers, or mail servers, just to name a few.

Software can turn a PC into a server. A print server uses software to control the printers on a network. Print server software can be located on a computer, or on a hardware device located on a network printer. These hardware devices can be a plug-in card for printers that have an expansion slot, or as an external unit that plugs into the printer’s parallel port. Print servers also have an Ethernet port for network connection.

A Web server uses software to provide World Wide Web services on the Internet. Wed server software uses TCP/IP protocols and the Web site content to allow the user access to the Web site. A Web server works on the client/server principle and provides a specific service of giving out Web pages to clients called Web browsers. Web servers have a unique IP address and directly connect to the Internet. Web servers run as a background application listening for any connection request, generally from Web browsers, at port 80, which is a reserved and standard port for Web servers. Besides the IP address, a client application also requires a port number to connect to a Web server. For example, when you type a URL, the Web browser finds the corresponding IP address of the machine from a Domain Name Server (DNS), after which it connects to the Web server at port 80.

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