Although many people refer to the big whirring boxes that store information as servers, the actual definition of the server is any program that uses HTTP to serve up files for pages. Essentially any computer which hosts a website will contain a web server program.
Can an individual computer be a web server?
If you’ve read the definition above, you will agree that it can be. As long as it contains server software and is connected to the Internet it can deliver Webpages and therefore would qualify as a server. Any system which is able to deliver information for retrieval by another would qualify.
The HTTP protocol
Known as Hypertext transfer protocol, HTTP is essentially an application protocol used by the whole web. Defining how messages are transmitted and formatted, as well as how other servers and browsers should respond, the invention of HTTP goes back to the very origins of the Internet. Tim Berners-Lee when he envisaged his World Wide Web project in 1989.
Does my business need a server?
At one stage it was common for even small businesses to have office-based service which will run their files and backups. Thankfully, these hard-working PCs have now been largely relegated to antique shops while state-of-the-art cloud-based servers have replaced them. Designed to run 24, seven these machines are designed to allow for component swaps while running, as well as to allow for the large volumes of heat created by continual running.
For almost all businesses now, cloud solutions are the most advantageous and, with Internet speed getting faster all the time, the availability of information is no longer a problem.