Most network applications are built around a client/server model. In the client/server model, a server application runs on one machine somewhere on a network. That server waits for a request for a particular service it provides. These requests come from client applications that are running on other machines on the network. A service can be as simple as echoing back text sent to the server or as complex as providing a remote login facility. For example, the ftp (File Transfer Program) application copies files between networked machines. Ftp actually consists of two programs, a client and a server. The server waits around for a client to request some service, like listing a directory or transferring a file. On most networks, each machine is capable of running both client and server programs simultaneously, but on some networks a machine is either a client or a server and may only run programs of that type. The focus of this article is peer-to-peer networks (the former), not client-server networks (the latter).
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