Routers and servers are both essential elements in most computer networks. In this article, we discuss the differences between network routers and servers.
Router Vs. Server
A router is a networking device that forwards data packets between different networks. Its main task is connecting different networks using IP routing.
What Is A Router?
A router is a networking device that forwards data packets between different networks. Routers can connect two or more local networks. They can also connect larger networks in the Internet backbone.
What Is A Server?
A server is a computer or software application that serves client requests. Servers store data used by connected clients.
Client devices like your computer and smartphone connect to web servers to view webpages.
What Is A Proxy Server?
A proxy server acts as an intermediary between a client device and a server. It can be a software application running on the same web server. Or it can be a dedicated server running a proxy application.
Proxy servers provide many benefits for network users. They can separate users from the Internet. They can also act as a firewall and filter web pages.
You can configure a proxy server to block specific websites so that no one on the local network can access those blocked websites.
Proxy servers can also speed up your Internet connection by caching web content. They can also hide your IP address to improve your privacy.
VPN Router Vs. VPN Server
VPN routers have VPN client software pre-installed on them. Some VPN routers also allow you to install VPN client software using the router’s user interface (Web UI or router’s app).
A VPN router collects all traffic from the connected devices, encrypts the traffic, and sends the traffic to remote VPN servers.
Therefore, the VPN router acts as the client in the VPN tunnel, while the remote VPN server is responsible for forwarding your traffic to the destination.
Can You Use A Router As A Server?
In theory, it is possible to use a router as a server. Routers can be flashed a simple server OS to host minimal static websites.
However, it’s not practical to use a router as a server. Routers have limited storage capacity and can’t store much web content.
They also have slow CPUs and will cause high latency for user requests. Most routers only have very low RAM. So they can’t run demanding server software.
Can You Host A Website On A Router?
As we explained before, you can host a very light static website on a router. However, whether you can host a website on your router depends on the router model and its CPU, RAM, and other hardware components.
To host a website in a router, you have to install a server OS on the router. However, it is not practical to host a website in a router because of the limited CPU, RAM, and storage on a typical router.
Users will also experience much higher latency if you use a router as a web server.
Can You Use A Server As A Router?
You can use both Linux and Windows servers as routers. Router software applications are available for most operating systems. So, you can simply install one such application and your server will route packets between different networks.
Most Linux operating systems can perform IP routing without any additional software.
Routers forward IP traffic between different networks, while servers store the web content that clients view.
Routers have slower CPUs, low RAM, and low storage. So, it’s not practical to use a router as a server.
On the other hand, you can install router software on a server to use the server as a router.