Email Server and File Server

What is a Mail Server and How Does It Work?


A mail server (sometimes also referred to an e-mail server) is a server that handles and delivers e-mail over a network, usually over the Internet. A mail server can receive e-mails from client computers and deliver them to other mail servers. A mail server can also deliver e-mails to client computers. A client computer is normally the computer where you read your e-mails, for example your computer at home or in your office. Also an advanced mobile phone or Smartphone, with e-mail capabilities, can be regarded as a client computer in these circumstances.

You might think that putting in your own mail server means a big outlay in new equipment, expensive software, and time to manage it all. As long as you have an always-on, broadband Internet connection, however, it can be a snap. Because many of the mail server applications run on Windows 9x and other non server operating systems, you may not even need to change your existing systems. Even if you don’t have a dedicated Internet connection, you can still install a mail server that dials your ISP to send and receive messages.

To set a personal email server, someone would need to:

  • Buy a server, which is about the size of a desktop computer.
  • Buy an operating system to run the server, most likely a version of Microsoft Windows or Linux.
  • Buy an exchange program to manage the flow of emails (Microsoft Exchange Server is the most common).
  • Buy a digital certificate to certify that the server has been encrypted.
  • Buy a domain name (in this case,
  • Install the software.
  • Install virus and spam filters.
  • Set up firewalls, including a message-transfer agent, an email-specific firewall.
  • Get a business-class Internet connection—a regular consumer connection likely isn’t reliable enough.
  • Configure the devices using the server, such as a smart phone.

File server

A device that controls access to separately stored files, as part of a multiuser system. In the client/server model, a file server is a computer responsible for the central storage and management of data files so that other computers on the same network can access the files. A file server allows users to share information over a network without having to physically transfer files by floppy diskette or some other external storage device. Any computer can be configured to be a host and act as a file server. In its simplest form, a file server may be an ordinary PC that handles requests for files and sends them over the network. In a more sophisticated network, a file server might be a dedicated network-attached storage (NAS) device that also serves as a remote hard disk drive for other computers, allowing anyone on the network to store files on it as if to their own hard drive.

Before you configure your computer as a file server, verify whether or not:


  • The operating system is configured correctly. In the Windows Server 2003 family, file services depend on the appropriate configuration of the operating system and its services. If you have a new installation of a Windows Server 2003 operating system, you can use the default service settings. No further action is necessary. If you upgraded to a Windows Server 2003 operating system or you want to confirm that your services are configured correctly for best performance and security, verify your service settings by comparing them to the table in Default settings for services.
  • The computer is joined to an Active Directory domain as a member server. If you want to authenticate clients or publish a shared folder to Active Directory, the file server must be joined to a domain. If you do not need to perform either of these tasks, the file server does not need to be joined to a domain.
  • All available disk space is allocated. You can use Disk Management or DiskPart.exe to create a new partition out of unallocated space. For more information, see Create a partition or logical drive.
  • All existing disk volumes use the NTFS file system. FAT32 volumes are not secure, and they do not support file and folder compression, disk quotas, file encryption, or individual file permissions.
  • Windows Firewall is enabled. For more information, see Enable Windows Firewall with no exceptions.

    If Windows Firewall is enabled, you must select File and Printer Sharing on the Exceptions tab in Windows Firewall in order for the File Server Role to function properly.

  • The Security Configuration Wizard is installed and enabled. For information about the Security Configuration wizard, see Security Configuration Wizard Overview.

Some individuals who have home offices usually would invest in an email and file server.