Servers for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses – Portable, Web, & More

A server is a computer that provides files, data or other software programs to clients. They can typically be located either locally on the network or online on the Internet – however, the most innovative of companies are utilizing what are known as “portable” servers more and more every day.

Businesses utilize servers for many reasons, such as cost efficiency and dependability. In the following article, I’ll take a closer look at some of the most common types of servers used by small to medium-sized businesses.

File Server

File servers in computers provide shared disk access to files that can be accessed by workstations connected through a computer network. They’re commonly used in schools and offices as central storage for all users on the network, though they usually don’t perform computational tasks or run programs on behalf of clients – although they can be configured to back up important data.

Businesses use file servers to store internal company data, such as business documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Employees access this information via mapped drives or mounted volumes on Windows and macOS desktop interfaces. They can open these files using line-of-business applications like QuickBooks, AutoCAD, Photoshop or Microsoft Offices.

One of the primary advantages of a file server is that it eliminates the need for duplicate copies of files on individual computers, thus saving valuable space. This is especially beneficial in companies with many employees who require access to one common repository and whose work profiles are centrally managed through these servers.

This makes the file repository extremely scalable and flexible, especially in terms of fault tolerance, data security, and stringent regulatory compliance. Furthermore, employees can roam across the organization without needing to log in again.

Portable Server

Portable servers are computers running software specifically designed to offer portable services. They play an essential role in client-server computing environments, providing business critical information requested by clients.

Portable database context: the server manages data access and retrieval, while the client executes application logic and user interfaces. When an end-user submits a request to a client, they convert it into SQL or another database language and transmit it directly to the server; which then processes and returns the request back to them.

These machines can range in size from a single machine to networks of computers. A portable server can be as small as a cigar box, making them great for small spaces. Usually, these rack-mounted machines are dedicated to performing one specific function and designed with efficiency in mind.

Most databases are relational, which means they store and display data in structured tables or sets of information. Typically, relational databases run on software programs known as database management systems (DBMSs).

The type of engine a database uses depends on the nature of its data. A key-value store, for instance, is best suited to storing key-value pairs that are easy to retrieve quickly. On the other hand, document stores offer greater flexibility and can handle dynamic querying better.

Mail Server

A mail server is a computer that manages email messages. It allows users to send and receive emails from various devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops; additionally, it stores mailboxes for those users with email accounts.

Sending an email typically goes through several servers before being delivered to its intended recipient. While this process is quick and efficient, it also involves a great deal of complexity.

Different mail servers exist, each tailored to its function and what you require from it. Some are cloud-based while others reside on-premises.

Outgoing emails typically use SMTP (, a standard set of rules and protocols used by email servers across the Internet. Unfortunately, SMTP isn’t inherently secure so if you’re worried about spoofing, spamming or data thefts, consider choosing an incoming email server with additional security measures in place.

Incoming email servers are typically POP3 or IMAP. Both types store incoming messages on a remote server until they’re opened by an individual’s email client software, which then retrieves and transfers them onto their computer.

Web Server

Web servers are computers that store and distribute web content such as websites, files and email. They also process requests to retrieve data and send it back to users through URLs or HTTP codes.

Web browsers are programs that send requests to a server, which then send the requested files back to the user’s computer. When an order for a website file isn’t processed correctly, an error message will be returned to the browser – such as 404, 403 or 504 errors (which you can read about here, if you’re interested in learning more).

Web servers require various software packages to run properly. These programs can run on personal computers or in a company’s network of computers; most of these applications are free and easily downloaded from the Internet.

The most widely-used web server is Apache. This open-source program was originally designed for UNIX systems, but can now be installed on nearly any operating system. Most businesses utilize Apache to host their websites; however, Microsoft IIS is an alternative choice available for Windows users.