The term client machine refers to a user’s computer that is connected to a network and accesses another computer, called a server, to request various types of resources, save data, or run certain programs or perform certain functions. The term “client” is sometimes used interchangeably with client machine, but client is a less specific term that can also refer to a computer application rather than an actual computer. The machine is sometimes called a requesting machine because it requests files or other data from a server, sometimes called a provider machine. A client computer usually has a user interface provided by the client operating system, for example Unix, Windows or Linux. Different types of networks can be used to connect a client to a server, for example a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN).
A client machine connects to a server.
A client machine can be a laptop, office workstation, IBM-compatible personal computer (PC), Mac, or another individual computer that relies on interactions with a server to perform its functions. Sometimes a client download is required for the machine to interact with the server. This means that a program must be downloaded from the server and installed on the machine. For example, individuals who play computer games online often need a client download to allow them to play using data provided by the game company’s servers.
A common example of a client machine is in an office environment, where an individual employee can use their workstation, either at the office or remotely from other locations, to access disk storage space, data, or other company computer resources. acting as servers. Today, client computers can often run their own programs without accessing the server. However, in the early days of computers, some client machines were called dumb terminals, unable to run any program without input from a server.
Examples of different types of client machines are fat client, thin client, and hybrid client. A fat client refers to a machine that is capable of performing much of its own processing and does not require continuous contact with the server to perform its functions. Thin clients rely more heavily on servers. A hybrid client computer, sometimes called a networked computer, usually performs much of its own processing, but often uses a server to store data. Some hybrid client computers are called diskless nodes, which do not have persistent hard disks and instead use server-centric storage.