Picture the internet as a bustling metropolis with skyscrapers of websites, apps, and services towering over digital avenues. What holds up these virtual giants to keep the city running like clockwork? The foundations of the digital world – servers!

They store, send, and receive data in the blink of an eye. So, are you ready to ‘server’ up some knowledge about online infrastructure? Let’s break it down!

What is a server?

At its digital core, a server is like a supercharged computer that fulfills your online requests, like sending an email or loading a website. How do they work? Let’s take a look…

  • Storage hub – Equipped with large storage capacities, servers hold data, like websites, applications, files, and databases, making it accessible whenever needed.
  • Request processing – When clicking a link or typing in a web address, your device sends a request to a server.
  • Data retrieval – The server processes your request, locates the data, and prepares it for delivery.
  • Data transmission – Once ready, the server sends the data back to your device over the internet.
  • Display – Your device receives the data and displays the requested content.
  • Interaction – Whether you’re saving your game progress or submitting a form, servers process your input, update the data, and send back confirmation or results.
  • Load balancing – High-traffic websites often use multiple servers to distribute the workload and ensure smooth performance, even during peak times.

What are the different types of servers?

Servers are like cereals – so many different options to choose from, but which is best? Each type has a different purpose. Here are just a few...

Dedicated server

Dedicated servers (Intel and AMD) are just that – dedicated to you. Without competing for resources, you’ll get all that power to yourself. A dedicated server is suitable for growing website traffic and those with security concerns.

Storage server

Storage servers are like dedicated servers but with higher capacity – up to 96TB – for more files and bigger backups. They're suitable if you have a massive database of clients to manage, work with big photo and video files, or want space for your own private storage network. Go big or go home!

Cloud server

Fly high with advanced technology, flexibility, and super-fast speeds. Cloud servers are scalable and reliable, with 100% SSD storage, up to 128GB RAM, and a powerful Intel processor. They use a network of many interconnected virtual servers, which work together as a single server would.

Bare Metal server

Bare Metal servers give you the lightning-fast performance of a dedicated server, with resources that are exclusively yours and the down-to-the-minute billing that you’d normally get with cloud servers.

Virtual private server (VPS)

Virtual private servers offer server resources shared over multiple virtual machines, providing the power and performance of a dedicated server, but at a cheaper price point. You share the server space with others, but get your own resources – like renting a flat in a multi-tenant building. Whether you’re building, testing, selling, or playing, a VPS is good for plenty of projects.

Gaming servers

Need a larger VPS for the ultimate fighting team? Or looking for a smaller package for just you and a few friends? Gaming servers are flexible, customisable, and high-performing, with full root access and total control for a personalised gaming experience.

Protect your server

Servers are pretty important, right? So you want to look after yours. You wouldn’t buy a brand-new Rolls-Royce and leave the keys in the ignition.

Server security stands as a formidable shield guarding against cyber attacks. Firewalls are particularly central to this defence – scrutinising incoming and outgoing data. They’re able to fend off malicious intruders, preventing unauthorised access and safeguarding sensitive information.

And it doesn’t stop there. SSL certificates encrypt data transmission between servers and users, making sure your digital messages reach their destination securely. Regular backups are vital, too – if a breach does occur, you can restore the stored information, minimising damage and downtime.

Master scalability and high performance

Picture this. Your website or app begins to gain momentum, you draw in hordes of eager users and, with each passing day, the influx grows. But with great popularity comes great traffic. A website that once handled visitors may start to stumble, slow down, and frustrate your users if the servers aren't up to scratch.

As your digital empire expands, the quest for scalability is on.

A scalable server allows for adapting and expanding to meet demand. Like a rubber band, it’ll stretch and contract to conserve resources without compromising its integrity. You can accommodate higher volumes of traffic with consistent and reliable performance, regardless of spikes in user engagement.

Feeling ‘server’-whelmed by online tech?

Got your eye on a gaming server that will take your Minecraft experience to the next level? Or are you looking for something to match the growing needs of your business? We can help.

Fasthosts have a range of servers to choose from, with down-to-the-minute billing and all the latest tech. From Cloud to VPS, check out what we've got to offer!

Not sure what server would suit you? Get in touch with our team of experts to chat. Give us a call on 0333 254 4082 or message via live chat.