What is a Server?

Wikipedia defines it as so:


In computing, a server is a computer program or a device that provides functionality for other programs or devices, called “clients”. This architecture is called the client�server model, and a single overall computation is distributed across multiple processes or devices.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_(computing

So what does this mean?

Simply put a server is a computer that has software on it that allows you as the client to connect to it and then it returns responses to the request in the nature in which you request a.k.a. you type in a website address and the server response with the pages or page you asked for.

Some types of servers that you come across all the time without realizing are:

  • Email Server : POP3/IMAP/SMTP – POP3 and IMAP are the Services that the Email server uses to give you email while SMTP is the Service usually used to send email. These can be on separate servers or the same one.
  • Web Server: This is what you are interacting with whenever you go to a website. e.g. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, AdamBlansett.com, etc…
  • DNS Server: When it comes to web you usually interact with one of these that basically routes traffic from the domain i.e. adamblansett.com to the IP Address or Internet Protocol Address of the Server/Web Server that handles the request.
  • Database Server: Most websites and applications will interact with some type of database and in order for them to do so the Database (DB) Server will handle those request. Some Databases that you might be familiar with would be MySQL, Oracle, MSSQL and there are many more but in the realm of Databases Servers they are some of the most common.

I could continue listing different types of Servers but in the context of this website we will just stick with these few.

If you want more of an extensive list see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_(computing)

What is a SSL?

SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer and what it does is encrypt the traffic going from your browser to the Web Server.

SSL is really no longer a thing and has been replaced by TLS or Transport Layer Security. It is just still referred to as SSL for simplicity and old habits die hard as it were.

Do to many regulations if you have any type of login or PII (Personal Identifiable Information) you maybe legally required to have an SSL to encrypt all of your website traffic or at least the the parts with logins and sensitive information.

If you do not have a SSL your web traffic will not be encrypted and a nefarious hacker can sniff the traffic and steal this information.

The things that often define price are:

  • Encryption Level aka 128 bit, 256 bit, etc..
  • How many domains/subdomains does it cover
  • The Name i.e. Symantec which are great SSL as offer many Benefits and one of the many reason people like and get them is because it is a name that everyone knows.
  • Many SSLs offer some type of insurance in case there are legal issue do to there SSLs encryption.

You can get some SSLs for free, the ones you get from your web host are fine. The there are some others out there that are questionable.

One you do not usually want to use for External Website Traffic is a Self-Signed SSL by your server.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-signed_certificate

These type of SSLs are fine for Internal websites that are on a company website or server to server communication.