File Server [Definition, Main Features, and Pro & Cons] [MiniTool Wiki]

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File Server Definition

File server refers to the central server in a computer network, which offers file systems or components of a file system to the connected clients. This Windows file server provides you a central storage place for files on internal data media, which can access all authorized clients.

Tip: The server administrator will define rigorous rules on users who are accessible to the files on internal data media. You can view the detailed information from this post of MiniTool.

To be specific, the configuration or file authorizations of each file system allow the administrator to set the files that can be seen and opened by a certain user or group. Besides, these settings can determine if your data can only be viewed, added, edited, or deleted.

When file servers connected to the Internet and configured accordingly, you can access the files from both the local network and remote network. Therefore, your files can be accessed and stored on the file server even if you are not at the office.

Operating systems like Windows, Linux and MacOS can be utilized on a file server. File servers can be used to store and manage files. In addition, they can used as a backup server and a repository for programs that are required to have access to multiple network participants.

To get the detailed information about state repository service, please refer to this post: What Is State Repository Service & How to Fix Its High CPU Usage

What is a file server? Read here, you may know the answers. To get the details of free file server, please keep reading.

Main Features of File Server

The main purposes of file servers are to enable multiple users to access the stored files and release storage space for your file repository. Due this reason, file servers are popular with individual users.

In many cases, firms especially in the open-source sector use the file server as a download server connected to their web offering. By doing so, users or their website visitors can download the selected content like programs, drivers, updates, images, or videos easily.

Tip: File servers are frequently used in schools and offices, where users connect their client computers via the local area network.

A file server can also be used for backing up data. Different from relevant file storage and management, the data backup refers to the creation and maintenance of conventional backups (system files and personal files). It is an easy and low-cost way to store these backups on the file server.

How Does a File Server Work

It is vital to learn that how does a file server function. What makes a reliable file server? A correct hardware is a necessity. Besides, a hard drive with enough space for the files and essential programs, operating system and the software for using the clients is also important.

Tip: The file server doesn’t perform computational tasks or run programs for its client workstations.

What’s more, this file server has sufficient working memory and processing power in order to speed up files and programs accesses for multiple users as soon as possible. You also need to pay attention to the fact that whether the hardware requirements can be fulfilled by a standard computer and whether a special server setup is asked mainly depend on the number of users.

You may also like this: How Does a Hard Drive Work? Here Are Answers for You

The communication between the file server and clients is managed by special network protocols. The SMB (Server Message Block) protocol is often used in local networks with Windows, MacOS devices, PCs with Unix-like systems. In order to combine the two protocols in one network, Unix/Linux based clients and file servers are required to equipped with software that implements the SMB protocols in these systems.

The Internet used to access the file server typically works with file transfer protocol or the encrypted variant secure FTP. Of course, you can also use SCP (secure copy) and HTTP-based WebDAV protocols as alternatives.

Pros and Cons of File Server

The file server has its own advantages and disadvantages as well. What are they? The pros of file server have been listed as follows.

  • Easy to organize the entire file inventory
  • High degree of clarity
  • Convenient to share files
  • Collaborative with other versions without version conflicts
  • Reduce the storage space pressure of client computer
  • Can be accessed remotely via WebDAV, SCP, etc
  • Protect your data

What about its cons? If the file server is configured improperly, the hardware can be stretched to the limits after a short time. Besides, plenty of advantages of file server cannot take effect. More importantly, you should know where and how files should be stored on the file server. In a word, the requirements for using a file server is rather high. Otherwise, you cannot make full use of it.

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