When learning about servers, the best way to start is to think about a trip to your favorite restaurant. You, the client, make a series of requests to your waiter or waitress. They then relay that request to the kitchen staff who prepare your food. After some time, your food is brought out to you. Ideally, the order is what you asked for.
In this analogy, the wait staff relates to the user experience of an application. You may not realize this, but every time you use an application you send an input through a series of choices. These choices look like buttons, forms, status updates, searches, and custom application settings. Every choice sends an "order" to the "kitchen" or, in our case, server.
In the world of technology, servers are computers that are dedicated to service to other computers. The main job of every server is to respond to requests made by the computers they are serving. These computers are called clients. Clients send routed requests for certain data over a network. The servers retrieve this data and send it back to the client computer.
Servers for businesses are usually found at the business location. They are kept separate from the other computers, in a centralized location. This is best practice so they are only directly modified by authorized employees. Servers can also be found off-site in data centers. These centers are maintained by a secondary company and configured remotely through the use of virtual software.
There are several different types of servers. Internet servers use consistent domain names to identify themselves such as 'google.com'. When a client computer wants to use the Google search engine, all they have to do is type in the 'google.com' domain name to connect to the Google server. Database servers
store information in databases often structured like tables. Storing information in a database makes it searchable by keywords. Many search engines connect to a database server to run keyword "queries" or searches.
Another popular server type is a cloud server. Cloud servers use software to divide a physical server into many virtual servers. One major advantage of storing your information on a cloud server is accessibility. Cloud servers allow access to your files anywhere, any time. They also allow a client to only use as much storage space as they need.
If you run out of cloud storage because you have too many pictures of your fluffy dog, you can buy more storage space to accommodate your needs. Many companies have cloud storage platforms across linked devices. For example, Apple has free iCloud storage that you can access all of your Apple devices.
It can be upgraded based on your storage needs and also frees up storage space on your physical device. Because of these benefits, cloud serving and computing is the way of the future.
Check out these articles for more information regarding servers, cloud servers, and cloud computing: