The Truth About Servers Page 6

Mail Servers

The e-mail server also handles outgoing messages in a fashion similar to how the apartment building's mailman collects outgoing mail left by residents. Just as the mailman does not personally deliver each outgoing message to its final address, the e-mail server is configured to interact with other servers, or nodes, through which a message is passed until it reaches its own destination network. At that point, the destination network's e-mail server handles the delivery to the final mailbox.

Most Internet providers offer an e-mail server to their subscribers, so individual users rarely need to install their own e-mail servers. Organizations, regardless of their size, may benefit from installing their own e-mail server, as this can offer increased customizability compared to relying on an ISP's server. Obvious advantages of this include customization (e.g., the choice of mailbox names and behavioral characteristics like quotas, auto-replies, listserv management) and cost savings resulting from the ongoing cost of activating many e-mail addresses through an outside provider.

In some cases, DHCP server software is integrated into a hardware product. For example, several hybrid router/switches with DHCP servers have come on to the market from companies such as Linksys, Netgear, and D-Link. These products enable a LAN to share a single broadband connection to the Internet. Often, these devices can be configured to use their own internal DHCP server to assign IP addresses on the local network. This makes it easy to add and remove machines to the local network without any further configuration.

Similarly, a single host machine on a LAN can perform that role by running DHCP server software, such as Vicomsoft's DHCP server for Windows and Macintoshes, SimpleDNS Plus for Windows, IPWorks DHCP server for Solaris and Windows, and Moreton Bay's DHCP server for Linux and Windows.

This article was originally published on Jan 29, 2001

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