Difference Between Client and Server (with Table)

As simple operating systems, clients generate requests for web pages, files or data sets that are efficiently processed by the server. The tasks of a client operating system are mainly limited to formulating service requests.

The complex server operating system manages and handles multiple client requests simultaneously to provide them with the services requested. This functional difference between the client and server is seminal.

Client vs Server

The difference between a client and a server is in terms of their functionality. The former operates to generate requests that are to be processed by the server. The role and function of a server are to authenticate, process, and respond to client requests.

Comparison Table Between Client and Server

Parameters of ComparisonClientServer
FunctionalityClient systems operate to generate requests for various services.Server systems process client requests for various services.
ConfigurationClient system configurations are relatively simple as their tasks are limited to generating requests.Server systems have a more complex and sophisticated configuration.
Log-in PotentialThey solely support single user log-ins.They support simultaneous multiple user log-in and request processing.
EfficiencyLimited efficiency.High performance and efficiency.
Tasks PerformedFairly simple tasks that mostly include requesting services (like web pages) are common for clients. Complex tasks like data analysis, storing and processing large datasets as well as fulfilling client requests are common for server systems.
Power OffThey can be switched off without major repercussions.Switching off servers may have severe repercussions. They are usually never switched off.
Included SystemsDesktops, laptops, tabs.Web servers, data servers, network servers.

What is a Client?

A client may be an operating system or software that is designed to produce requests that are to be processed by the server. The client system accesses the server for requests through a network.

Clients can be classified into three groups- ones that can do not engage in the processing data and simply display the server processed outcomes as opposed to the second group that can process most of the data on its own. The former are known as thin clients while the latter is called fat clients. Anti-virus software is an instance of fat clients.

And the third type is the hybrid variety that incorporates the characteristics of both the other groups. There may be several client computers joined and connected to a single server. This is done to facilitate easy access to the resources stored on the server.

Internet protocols are the most commonly used medium for connecting to servers. But clients can also use methods like shared memory or domain sockets. Desktops, laptops, tabs, smartphones are often used as client operating systems.

What is a Server?

A server is an operating system or software used to authenticate and process requests made by client systems. The client system can make requests for multiple different kinds of information ranging from web pages to data sets. The server responds to these requests and processes the needed information.

The operating protocol of a server is highly complex. They are suited to perform several complicated tasks like complex calculations, management of network resources and large datasets. They enable simultaneous multiple-user logins from clients. This is possible due to their superior system configuration.

Some servers may be dedicated to performing specific operations while others may be shared servers enabling a variety of different usages.

Servers can be of various types like proxy servers, web servers, database servers, etc. Servers may be located on-site – like corporate servers- or they may be stored in remote locations –like data servers.

Main Differences Between Client and Server

  1. The first main difference between a client and a server is in terms of their operation configurations. The client is an operating system that relies on the services of a server. Whereas, the server operating system authorizes these client requests and facilitates them with the services requested.
  2. The server system is based on a relatively simply operating protocol since its functionality is mostly limited to generating requests. The server operating system is much more complex and sophisticated as it has to process and handle considerable amounts of requests.
  3. Only a single user can make requests using a client operating system at a given point in time. On the other hand, a server operating system can process multiple requests from multiple clients at the same time. This is made possible due to the sophisticated configuration protocols of a server. Thus, only single user logins are possible through the client system but multiple-user logins are feasible through the server system.
  4. The efficiency levels of a server are much more enhanced than a client system. This is because it has to swiftly and accurately handle and process multiple requests from various clients.
  5. Clients include desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Whereas, servers may include web servers, file servers and database servers.
  6. The server system can store and analyze large data sets. The client system is not suited for such tasks. It is well-tuned for simpler tasks like formulating requests to be processed by the server. High-end performativity can solely be expected from the server system.
  7. Servers are usually never switched off. Switching off servers may be catastrophic for client systems that constantly request services. Client systems on the other hand can be switched off without fear of such repercussions.


There are certain conspicuous differences between a client and a server. The first difference can be noted in terms of their functionality where the former operates to make service requests to the server, and the latter is responsible for processing these requests.

The operating systems of each are configured to handle tasks that are best suited for them. Clients operate on simple protocols that allow single-user logins and support simple functions. The server operates on a much more complex operating protocol that is built to handle multitasking and multi-user logins.

However, one cannot function without the other. These two operating systems must remain in sync to ensure a working equilibrium.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1540-5915.1997.tb01334.x
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Shakirat_Sulyman/publication/271295146_Client-Server_Model/links/5864e11308ae8fce490c1b01/Client-Server-Model.pdf