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What Is A Print Server?

Last Updated on May 16, 2023 by Christian Ralph

Printers For Your Home Office

If your business uses a professional printer, you may have come across a print server – the software application or network device that manages files in your printing queue and sends them from your computer to your printer.

A print server can manage printing requests that both your computer and printing device receive, and they’re used in any kind of printing operation for businesses all over the world.

Prior to the introduction of dedicated print servers, terminal servers were used to allow multiple computers to be connected a single connection point or wide area network (WAN).

As terminal servers continued to advance, printers began to be added to the servers and subsequently support for print queueing was added.

This development of terminal technology eventually led to the development of dedicated print servers.

We’ve shared all you need to know if you are interested in how a print server works, and how having one can enhance the daily operations of your business.

Copyright: DivVector

Copyright: DivVector

What is the difference between a print server and a printer?

Whilst both a print server and printer are used during the printing process, the differences between a print server and a printer are not always clear.

The fundamental difference between a print server and a printer relates to their functionality.

A printer’s core purpose is to produce hard copies of documents and images from digital files. A printer usually receives print jobs directly from a computer or device, with no intermediary involved in the process.

A print server is different in that it is specifically designed to manage print jobs that are sent to a printer from multiple devices on the same network.

A print server works to enhance and compliment the functionality of one or multiple printers on a network.

How does a print server work?

Print servers are devices or programs that connect printers to computers over a network. They act as an intermediary between computers and printers, accepting printing jobs from computers and sending them on to the correct printer. They do this by storing and queueing print requests locally and to avoid overloading a busy printing device.

What are the different types of print servers?

The software required by a print server can be installed on any computing machine or PC. Operating systems that use the UNIX software often have built-in capacity for print servers.

Alternatively, you can get a network-based print server that connects your device directly to a printer. Depending on the type of computing software applications that you have, you may already have hardware that will allow the device to directly connect to your network router.

The print server can be connected to your printing device through a parallel, USB or wireless connection.

Copyright: lvcandy

Copyright: lvcandy

Why is a print server useful?

You may find a print server useful if your business has multiple printers and a significant need for printing high volumes. This is because a print server can manage the queue of each connected printer and send the files to the machine that is able to accommodate faster printing, helping to improve office efficiency.

A print server is also a great way to manage printers from one central location. If your business’ building consists of multiple floors and offices, using a print server will allow you to print, reorder or delete pending files that you’ve ordered to print at several different machines.

The ongoing management of print jobs that a print server allows is important for preventing bottlenecks and avoiding delays or issues with printing jobs.

Print servers also allow for the processing power which is needed to manage large job queues to be offloaded to a device which is specifically designed for this task.

Print servers also offer a host of cost saving benefits. Print servers can help organisations to save overall printing costs by reducing the need for multiple printers. A print server allows multiple users to effectively share a single printer, alleviating the costs of purchasing and maintaining individual printers.

Print servers can also help to take the stress out of print management for end users, freeing up time previously dedicated to manual updating of settings or adding new printers.

A centralised print server can help users to easily report and audit on a network’s printing behaviours, allowing for informed assessment of workplace printing policies.

  1. 1) Open the Control Panel and select the ‘Print and Documents Services’ option
  2. 2) Select ‘Add a Printer’ and choose your local printer
  3. 3) Select the option to ‘Create a new port’ and enter your IP address.
  4. 4) Press ‘Custom’, ‘Settings’ and then switch to LPR (Line Printer Remote).
  5. 5) Choose a printer
  6. 6) Use an existing port and select your printer

Disadvantages of a print server

Despite a print server being a great piece of technology that can manage simultaneous printing jobs, there are some disadvantages that come from using the network or software.

If the server encountered a fault, it could affect all printers connected to the device. This could prove costly to your business and may prevent important items from being printed.

A great alternative to a print server that won’t pose the risk of this failure is direct IP printing. This option prevents the chances of all printers in your network being affected if an error occurred, as each printer has their own individual server. If the server was to experience a fault, only the single connected printer would be affected.

As you can see, a print server can provide your business with a way to simply manage and control all your printing jobs – ideal if your company has a large requirement for printing professional documents.

Purchasing a print server from Printerland

Printerland stocks a broad range of print servers from leading manufacturers including Xerox, HP, Kyocera and more.

All our print servers are available for instant purchase from the Printerland website, or if you require further advice why not contact a member of our team of printer experts today.