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A thin server refers to a computer that has enough computing resources to operate and provide some low level processes to other computers in a network. It enables providing network based tasks and processes in a client/server network architecture, which otherwise would have been performed by a standard server.
A thin server is primarily a computer within a network that has been configured to act as a server as well. A thin server is usually designed to operate in small network environments.
Installing a standard server in such environments will cost more than a thin server or their capabilities far exceed than the requirements. Typically, a thin server has computing resources equivalent to other computers in the network, but may be installed with an advanced or server side OS along with necessary network components and applications.
Some of the services provided by a thin server include file sharing, printer access, storage and Internet access.