The function of a computer server is to store, retrieve and send computer files and data to other computers on a network. Many businesses use a local network to connect a number of computers. On a larger scale, the worldwide computer network known as the Internet depends on a large number of servers located around the world. The files, data and functionality of a given website is based on servers.
Servers have more processing power, memory and storage than their client computers. The client is the computer that is not acting as the server and is requesting information from the server. When computers are connected in some physical or wireless way and sharing services or information, this is referred to as a computer network. A computer network requires at least two participants, with at least one of them acting as a client and at least one acting as a server.
Numerous systems use this client-server networking model, including websites and email services. An alternative model, peer-to-peer networking, enables all computers to act as either a server or a client. Hardware requirements for servers vary depending on the server applications and the number of clients. Servers run for long periods without interruption, so hardware reliability and durability are extremely important. Servers are noisy and need a stable power supply, good Internet access and increased security, so they are usually stored in a dedicated server room or center.