In the Forums...
Posted: May 30, 2001
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen
If you’ve been using computers for a number of years, you know that your house will eventually have more than one machine. If you only use computers at work, you know that your office has more than one machine, likely to be connected to a central machine -- a server.
A server is simply a computer that takes the responsibility of being the central point for many computers for a specific reason or specific reasons. A server-client setup has many advantages over client-client setups. For example, if your LAN has five computers and you wanted to give all of them access to one printer, you’ll have to connect the printer to the machine you want to print from. If one of the other computers needed to print, you’ll either have to transfer the document over to the machine with the printer, or disconnect and reconnect the printer. If you had been using a centralized server, any one of those machines could have printed, at any given time.
Setting up a print server is just one of the many reasons to have a server. If you’re really serious about your home LAN, you can also set privileges for each user or each computer. That way, certain computers can gain access to certain resources, while other computers cannot. A server can control file-sharing access, net access, logging access, drive access and even application access.
Not Just for Files
Okay, so maybe you’re not the office type, you want to play games and you love it when people crash your place for a day gaming. In a situation like this, where you want to play games, a server is a must. Whether you’re using a real server to host your games or connecting to your friend’s machine, some type of a server is crucial in multiplayer gaming. There always must be a host, and a client.
In a gaming situation, having a dedicated server can seriously improve the overall experience of your game. This is because no one has to sacrifice performance from their computer in order to host a game, while they are playing in the game at the same time.
If You’re an Enthusiast
Now you feel like you want to setup a server, and you’re wondering how you ever lived without one. Well, here come some more reasons to build a good server. Considering how well the Internet economy is doing *heavy sarcasm*, you may want to consider hosting a website. It of course, won’t be a corporate site, but you can build a decent homepage and host it right in your own room. All you would need is xDSL or cable connection with a static IP and a domain name to point to that IP.
Besides hosting a website, having a dedicated server means you can setup a decent FTP server. You’ll be able to access your files anywhere you go, and give access to your friends. There are a lot of server applications out there on the net and one of the use-to-be popular ones is called Hotline, but we’ll be covering software aspects later. It’s all about the hardware for now.