Many printers usually require a separate print server to allow network connectivity because these printers do not have built-in network interfaces. A hardware print server is a device that is not a computer, it is a device with a network card and memory. It connects to the network and printers to enable printers to be shared over the network.

A computer can also be used as a print server. Most personal computer operating systems have built-in printer sharing capability.

Print servers enable multiple computer users to access a single printer. A print server has three functions: