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Client vs. Server: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 13, 2024
A client is a computer or software that requests data or services, while a server is a computer or system that provides data or services in response to client requests.

Key Differences

A client initiates requests for data or services, typically from a user's perspective, whereas a server responds to these requests, providing the necessary data or services.
Clients can be diverse, ranging from web browsers to mobile apps, each designed for specific tasks, while servers vary from web servers to database servers, each specialized for particular services.
Clients usually have lesser processing power and storage, relying on servers for heavy computational tasks, whereas servers are equipped with more powerful hardware and storage capacities to handle multiple client requests efficiently.
Clients operate within a network as requestors of services, often needing servers to perform functional operations, while servers act as central points in a network, managing and delivering resources to multiple clients.
Clients depend on servers for accessing various services and resources, while servers need clients to utilize their services, forming a symbiotic relationship in a network environment.

Comparison Chart

Role in Network

Requests data or services.
Provides data or services.


Includes web browsers, mobile apps.
Encompasses web, file, database servers.

Resource Needs

Generally less powerful, less storage.
More powerful hardware, higher storage capacity.


Connects to servers for resources.
Manages network resources for clients.


Depends on servers for services.
Requires clients to utilize services.

Client and Server Definitions


A client operates under a client-server model in networking.
In our office network, each workstation operates as a client.


A server is a computer system that provides data, resources, or services to clients.
The web server hosted multiple websites accessible to clients.


A client is a computer program that accesses services on a network.
The web browser client requested a webpage from the server.


Servers can be dedicated hardware or software providing specific services.
The company's database server securely stores all customer information.


Clients can be software applications or devices that request network resources.
Our smartphones act as clients when accessing cloud storage.


Servers respond to client requests in a network.
The file server responded to the client's request for document access.


Clients initiate communication in a network environment.
The email client initiated a request to retrieve new messages.


Servers play a central role in the client-server architecture.
The game server coordinates and syncs all players' actions in the online game.


Clients depend on servers for data retrieval and computation.
The gaming client relies on the server for multiplayer interactions.


Servers are designed to handle multiple concurrent client connections.
The email server manages thousands of incoming and outgoing emails daily.


The party for which professional services are rendered, as by an attorney.


One who serves food and drink. See Usage Note at waiter.


A customer or patron
Clients of the hotel.


Something, such as a tray, that is used in serving food and drink.


What is a client in computing?

A client is a computer or software that requests services or resources from a server in a network.

Can a device be both a client and a server?

Yes, in certain network configurations, a device can function as both a client and a server.

Is a web browser a client?

Yes, a web browser is a client that requests web pages from web servers.

What are examples of client devices?

Computers, smartphones, and tablets running web browsers or other network-based applications.

How do clients communicate with servers?

Through network protocols like HTTP for web services or FTP for file transfers.

How is client software updated?

Through direct updates from the developer or through communication with a server.

What are the types of servers?

There are various types, including web servers, file servers, database servers, and mail servers.

How does a server differ from a desktop PC?

Servers usually have more powerful hardware and are optimized for reliability and handling concurrent tasks.

What is a client-server architecture?

It's a network design where clients request resources and services from servers, which then respond to these requests.

Can clients operate offline?

Some clients can perform limited functions offline, but they generally require server connectivity for full functionality.

What is a server in computing?

A server is a computer or software that provides services or resources to client devices in a network.

What is a thin client?

A thin client is a minimalistic computer that relies heavily on a server for processing and data storage.

Are mobile apps considered clients?

Yes, many mobile apps are clients that interact with servers over the internet.

What is a virtual server?

It's a software-based server that runs on a physical server, allowing multiple virtual servers on a single machine.

What is a dedicated server?

A server dedicated to a single task or client, providing exclusive resources and performance.

Can one server serve multiple clients?

Yes, servers are often designed to handle requests from multiple clients simultaneously.

Are cloud services considered servers?

Yes, cloud services often provide server-like functionalities over the internet.

How does server security work?

Through measures like firewalls, encryption, access controls, and regular security updates.

What is server maintenance?

Regular processes to ensure the server is running efficiently, including updates, backups, and hardware checks.

How do servers manage high traffic?

Through techniques like load balancing, caching, and sometimes scaling resources or using multiple servers.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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