What is a Terminal Server and How it Works in RDS

What is a Terminal Server and How it Works in RDS? You might have heard the term “terminal server” before, but what does it mean? How does it work in RDS? A terminal server is a hardware device used to connect several computers to share its resources.

One of the great things about terminal servers is that you don’t need to install a special software to use a terminal server. All you need is an internet connection and a web browser. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of what a terminal server is and how it works in RDS.

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What is a Terminal Server?

First of all, terminal servers are hardware devices that help connect several computers and devices to a network. This network can be either a Wide Area Network (WAN) or a Local Area Network (LAN). Another name used for this type of server is a communication server. Meanwhile, all the devices and computers connected to it are called terminals

Since a terminal server helps to connect all of your devices, it also helps to save the cost of running these devices separately. Instead, you can run and service all the devices through it, which is the central point of a network.

Secondly, terminal servers are often used in businesses where employees need to access specific information or files. Every device or terminal can easily access the information, file, and application stored on a terminal server. This special access to applications on this type of server means you do not need to have an application on a device or terminal to run it. All you have to do is connect the device to the terminal server, and you will be able to run the application from there. Additionally this type of server also provides each terminal with resources or connections to the internet.

History of Terminal Servers

Many things have happened in the past few years that have contributed to terminal servers’ growth and constant development. Let’s take a look at them:

The First Real Terminal Servers

The new generations of terminal servers are very different from the first real ones. This only shows how far they have come since their inception. The first real terminal servers were developed in the 1970s and were used to connect mainframe computers to terminals.

So, at first they were quite primitive as they could only handle one session at a time and were very expensive. But they paved the way for the modern terminal server, which is much more sophisticated. Today they can support thousands of connections and are much more affordable. They’re also easy to use, which makes them a popular choice for businesses and schools.

The Rise of Windows Terminal Services

The constant popularity of terminal servers since the late 80s and early 90s has paved the way for what we have today. The rise was of popularity was greatly elevated later on as Microsoft introduced it. Microsoft introduced them with Windows NT 4.0, which has been a part of the Windows operating system ever since.

In nutshell, terminal services allows users to connect to a remote computer and run applications as if they were on the local machine. It was a major step forward in computing, allowing users to access their applications and data anywhere in the world.

And it’s not just individual users who benefit from them. Businesses can also take advantage of them by setting up remote desktop servers that allow employees to work from home.

The Modern Era of Terminal Servers

In the early days, the only way to access a terminal server. It was through a client installed on a computer. But now, you can access it from any device, including your smartphone or tablet. This has made it much more convenient for people to work from anywhere and has helped to boost productivity.

Another big change in the modern era is the growth of cloud computing. With a terminal server, you can now access your applications and data from the cloud, which is a big advantage for businesses.

How Does a Terminal Server Work in RDS?

You might be wondering how a terminal server works in remote Desktop Services (RDS). It’s a pretty simple process. They work in RDS by connecting any global device to a network, regardless of the location of the device. The terminal network in RDS makes it easy to carry out activities from any location.

Additionally, this type of server doesn’t change the services it provides, whilst working in RDS. When you connect to a terminal server in RDS, you open a session on that server. This session allows you to run your applications and access your files. Moreover, all your activities during this session will be recorded and saved on the terminal server. 

The session is a great way to streamline your workflow because you can access your programs and files from one central location. And since the terminal server is hosted on a remote server, you don’t have to worry about installing any software on your local computer. The software only has to be installed on the terminal server, where it can be accessed by your local computer as well as other devices connected to it from anywhere around the globe. 

What is more, a terminal server is a key component of Remote Desktop Services (RDS). It allows multiple users to connect to a single computer from remote locations. The server also serves as a middleman, forwarding all user requests to the remote computer. In turn, this allows users to connect to the terminal server from any device, including phones and tablets.

What are the Benefits of Using a Terminal Server?

High Performance

Unlike other desktop systems, this type of servers come with higher performance. The performance makes the activities on a network run smoothly and fast. An upgrade to the terminal server will also help to further increase the performance.

Easy Communication and Connection

Additionally, this type of server connects multiple users to a single network. That means you can access your applications and files from any device, anywhere in the network. You can also communicate with other devices or terminals connected to it.

This connection can be a lifesaver when you need to work from home or on the go. You no longer have to panic about missing important deadlines because you can’t get access to your files. With a terminal server, you have everything you need at your fingertips.

License Cost

Another benefit is to help you to reduce costs in acquiring licenses. Some software or programs require a purchase of a license before you can access them. Instead of purchasing licenses for separate devices, you only need to purchase a license for a terminal server. You can then access that license using any of the devices connected to the server at no extra cost.

Single Point Maintenance

Applications are always installed on the terminal server instead of each individual device or terminal, making it easy to carry out application updates. You don’t have to individually update the applications on all the terminals. Updating the application on the terminal server will reflect on every device connected to it. However, this single point maintenance doesn’t necessarily apply to software updates since each device has its own separate software.

Saves Power

An organization will experience power savings when they set up a this kind of server. This is because terminals only use about 20% of the power used by a laptop or desktop. This advantage can help save an organization extra money that could have been spent on electricity bills. Especially if the terminals are made of thin clients.

Disadvantages of Using a Terminal Server

Security Risk

One of the major disadvantages of a terminal server is that it is prone to many cyber security risks. Terminal servers do not come equipped with quality security tools. The lack of security tools means that a terminal server cannot help restrict access to confidential information. Therefore, it is a huge cyber security risk. One thing to note is that you can work on the security of a terminal server by implementing a cyber security program.


Another disadvantage is the issue of compatibility. Not all applications are compatible with this server.  That can be a problem if you need to run a specific application that the server can’t accommodate. If the terminal server can’t run an application, its terminals will not be able to access it. 


Finally, there’s the issue of complexity. They can be difficult to set up and manage, and are especially challenging for less tech savvy users. You need to know how a network forms and operates, and how the terminals communicate to pass information.

Up next with What is a Terminal Server and How it Works in RDS? is to learn how to set it up. 

How to Set Up a Terminal Server?

You might also wonder what it takes to set up a terminal server. Well, you can set it up in several ways. But we’re going to focus on the most common scenario: a company that wants to give users remote access to their corporate network.

  1. You’ll first need to install the Terminal Services role on a server in your environment. You can do this by opening Server Manager.
  2. Click Manage, then select Add Roles and Features.
  3. After installing the role, you’ll need to configure your server properties file to specify which users will have access, what type of connection they’ll be using, and other settings. You can find more information about this in the Microsoft documentation.

Best Practices for Using a Terminal Server

When you’re using a terminal server, there are a few best practices to keep in mind. These practices make it possible to extend the life and strength of your server. Let’s take a look at what you should do:

Check the Bandwidth

You need to first make sure you have enough capacity to support all of your users. If you’re running over your given monthly bandwidth, you could wind up with some unhappy users. This is because some of the services on the network might not get to them. 

Check Configurations

You must ensure you configure your terminal server for the best performance. Pick the configurations that will suit the server and all of its terminals. A good configuration can either make or slow a terminal. You don’t want your users experiencing lag or slow responses. Therefore, you have to do a bit of research on what configurations you need to set up depending on the style and size of your network.

Make Use of Cybersecurity Tools

Also, cyber security should be a major concern. To reduce the risks of a terminal server facing attacks, you need to put in place several security tools that can help you detect malicious activities and eliminate them on time.

Backup Data

One of the most important practices you should follow is to make sure you’re regularly backing up your server. This practice is important for two reasons: first, so you have a copy of your data in case of a disaster; and second, you can restore your terminal server to a previous state if something goes wrong.

If your network experiences a cyber threat, this practice is the best way to get your server and network up and running again. Without backing up your data, you might find it hard for your server to return to its normal activities.

Does the Future of Terminal Servers Look Bright?

A) So what does the future of terminal servers look like? Quite bright! This kind of servers are becoming more and more popular, and the market is predicted to grow by about 12% in the next few years. This increase is due to businesses seeing the benefits of using them, especially saving money and boosting efficiency.

B) Another reason for the bright future of terminal servers is that they’re becoming more and more versatile. In addition to being used for traditional applications like printing and file sharing, they’re now used for video streaming and cloud computing. Plus, the need for remote access will only grow with the rise of mobile devices. 

Thank you for your time in reading What is a Terminal Server and How it Works in RDS? Let’s conclude.

What is a Terminal Server and How it Works in RDS? Conclusion

We have explained about a terminal server and we have pointed out that a terminal server is a hardware device that connects several devices to a network. In terms of RDS, terminal servers make it possible for you to connect a device to a network from anywhere around the globe. This is a huge advantage to a lot of organizations that wish to extend their reach.

Using terminal servers has its pros like: Single point maintenance, reduction of license cost and power. But it also comes with a few cons like compatibility and low security issues. Furthermore, using this kind of server can be very useful to an organization. But to make the best of it, there are a few practices you will need to carry out. Some of these practices involve backing up the data, checking configurations and implementing security tools. All of which has been explained in this article.

Thank you for reading. Please check more content regarding Remote Desktop Services RDS  in our blog here

Avatar for Kamso Oguejiofor
Kamso Oguejiofor

Kamso is a mechanical engineer and writer with a strong interest in anything related to technology. He has over 2 years of experience writing on topics like cyber security, network security, and information security. When he’s not studying or writing, he likes to play basketball, work out, and binge watch anime and drama series.

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