10 Uses for a Computer Server

10 Uses for a Computer Server

Here at Servers & More, we are fans of computer servers. Shocking, I know. 

We have a list of complete servers that you can browse, and in past blog posts, we have invited you to contact us for custom builds. Perhaps you need a server for your company, or you have ideas for a side hustle and want to automate most of the work to gift yourself more free time for planning and strategizing. Maybe you need a server to store your digital media, or you might want a data backup plan that goes beyond paying a monthly service fee to allow someone else to store your data. 

It’s possible that you found your way here because you don’t know why people love computer servers and the title lured you to our blog. We are here for you, too! 

Below is a list of ten common uses for computer servers, but there are several more uses for these super machines! If we missed your favorite server utility, leave a comment telling us what it is and why you love it. 

Web Hosting 

One of the most common uses for computer servers (and our parent company’s primary business) is hosting websites and applications. These days, many individuals use website builders and host their finished sites with those services, but those types of websites often share many design features with other unrelated websites. 

It’s hard to build your website’s brand if the layout looks similar to hundreds of other websites. For that reason, many web designers will code and build their own websites and then host them on a server. This type of setup allows you to own your branding and design without worrying that hundreds of other websites will look similar to yours. 

Many of these websites will then rent a server from another company, paying a monthly fee to keep the website online at all times. Some will buy their own server and manage the hosting on their own. In the long run, this saves the site owner hundreds of dollars on monthly fees, but it does come with its own set of stressors. 

Email Hosting 

Perhaps your company works with hundreds of customers each day, or perhaps you are building a marketing list and need a secure place to store email addresses and to manage the automation of sending, receiving, and storing emails. Either way, many companies rely on a computer server to manage their emails and automation strategies. 

Phone calls are less popular than virtually any time in the telephone’s history. Most people do not want to talk on phones, and a big reason for that is because it is harder to maintain a paper trail. Sure, a phone conversation is shorter, but that does not mean all parties will remember what was agreed. 

For that reason, many are emphasizing email or text contacts. If you can store all emails on a server, running your business becomes much smoother. Thanks to your ability to save large quantities of emails, you will always have a written history of discussions and agreements. 

Most companies using servers for email hosting will establish a purge schedule, an amount of time emails can stay stored on the server before they are deleted to make room for new emails. If your business deals with hundreds of emails each day, an aggressive purge schedule is a great idea, but for most small businesses, you will likely be able to store all emails and contacts for years before trying to free up space on your server. 

File Storage and Sharing 

For many companies, multiple teams will work on a single project before it is ready for the customer. In video game design, artists and programmers work together to create massive worlds and populate them with objects, characters, and creatures. 

Teams could share their files by storing elements on USB drives and passing them back and forth, but this is slow and tedious. Instead, most teams save their work to a single server, which allows other team members to access and use the files needed to complete their projects. 

If you are working with anyone else to complete a large project, a file server is a great option to keep everyone’s work organized and accessible. Naturally, there are many services that allow small teams to share work for free, but at a certain level, you will have to pay to upgrade your usage. At that point, it is a good idea to consider buying a server and saving hundreds each month on service fees. 

Database Management 

Often, people have trouble understanding just how large a database can get. As your company collects data, they utilize more and more storage space. You could try to keep up with the problem by regularly buying hard drives, or you can buy a server with multiple terabytes of storage capacity. 

Whatever data your company manages, maintaining and preserving it on your own servers is the best way to keep it safe. Naturally, you will need to invest in network security, but it is best to maintain your data on your own server. 

Application Hosting 

The next two uses often go together, but they are different uses. We will start with application hosting, where a server acts as the access point for anyone using specific software applications. Some software applications are quite large and need constant access to specific assets. You could try hosting that software on each of your team’s workstations, but depending on the size of the program and its assets, you could be spending thousands on storage as your team uses the software and saves their creations. 

Instead, by hosting the software on a single server, your team saves space on their workstations. If the software allows for multiple users to work on a single project, the server will host all team members as they contribute to the project simultaneously. 


Similar to application hosting, a server can offer virtualization of your team’s workstations. We wrote about virtual machines in the past, so we will not go into detail here. 

In short, when your team accesses the server through a virtual machine, you are able to control what goes in and out of the server. If a team member gets a virus on their computer and later tries to upload it to the server, you can set protocols to block unauthorized storage. 

In other words, only the files and changes that you expect are accepted, and all else gets deleted. Virtualization offers a strong amount of security while allowing teams to save on individual workstations. 

Cloud Computing 

Perhaps the main component of a cloud computing setup is the server. In a cloud computing setup, when your computer needs extra resources, it pulls them from the server. This keeps your performance and speeds high. 

The primary users of cloud computing tend to be video games and large artistic projects, like movies. In video games, multiple players try accessing the same environment at the same time, and their machine may not have the muscle to render the 3D environment in real time. Likewise, a visual effects house working on a big-budget film or television series needs to create assets quickly, and as effects get larger in scale, one computer may not have the ability to fully render an effects-heavy scene. 

The server has the ability to offer that extra bit of computing power that the individual machines need. 

Game Hosting 

Many online games allow players to host private games, and some allow for the creation of a persistent game state saved on a server. This allows multiple players to access the same game instance simultaneously. 

For many, this is the most obvious usage of computer servers, and for most gamers, game hosting servers exist in the abstract. They are able to access online games without owning a server, or they rent server space for their friends to access and play together. 

Although this is among the most popular usages for computer servers, few will buy a server for game hosting. In fact, most game development studios will rent their servers to find centralized locations and to give players the fastest connections possible. 


When most people buy their first computer server, it is usually to store their digital media. By storing shows, movies, games, and pictures on a single server, users can access that media from any friendly device. 

Media servers solve the problem that often comes with streaming services. Unless a streaming service owns the content, their license will eventually expire, and if they decide not to renew the license, you will lose access to that show or movie. Instead, some choose to buy their media and download it to their server. Eventually, they can cancel their streaming memberships and save a few hundred dollars on monthly fees. 

Another advantage to a media server is that you become your own streaming service. As long as the server is running and you have established a connection to it, you can watch your movies and shows from anywhere in the world. If you used to collect physical media, there’s a strong chance that many of your movies came with digital codes to download the content you bought on disc. Once you have a media server, you have a home for the digital media you have been collecting. 

Backup and Disaster Recovery 

Sometimes, terrible things happen. Maybe your building catches fire and destroys your team’s computers and your on-site server. Maybe someone stole your server or its drives. Maybe a power serge destroyed your hardware. 

For many companies, by maintaining an off-site server acting as a data backup system, recovery is significantly smoother. In fact, some security experts state there is no such thing as too many backup systems. 

A backup server does not need to be filled with the latest and best hardware. In fact, it does not need to run constantly, so it does not need to have the same energy consumption costs as the rest of the servers on this list. Your backup server can run three to four times a day, copying data and going back to a resting state. 

Later, if the unthinkable happens, you can quickly recover your data and pick up where you left off. It is always better to be safe than sorry, so if you have all of your mission-critical files and data on one machine, consider getting or renting a backup server. 


This is certainly not a complete or conclusive list of server uses, but if you have been thinking about starting a website, creating software, or storing your home media, a computer server may be just what you need. You can browse our section of complete servers, and if you do not see what you are looking for, you can contact us for a custom server. 

Perhaps there is a server usage we did not mention. Jump into the comments and let us know what it is and why you love it! 

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