The role of a server is specified when you create a new farm or join a server to an existing farm. SharePoint automatically configures the services on each server based on the server role, optimizing the performance of the farm based on that topology. There are eight predefined server roles that are available, as shown in the following table.
|Front-end||Service applications, services, and components that serve user requests belong on front-end web servers. These servers are optimized for low latency.|
|Application||Service applications, services, and components that serve back-end requests, such as background jobs or search crawl requests, belong on Application servers. These servers are optimized for high throughput.|
|Distributed Cache||Service applications, services, and components that are required for a distributed cache belong on Distributed Cache servers.|
|Search||Service applications, services, and components that are required for search belong on Search servers.|
|Custom||Custom service applications, services, and components that do not integrate with MinRole belong on Custom servers. The farm administrator has full control over which service instances can run on servers assigned to the Custom role. MinRole does not control which service instances are provisioned on this role.|
|Single-Server Farm||Service applications, services, and components required for a single-machine farm belong on a Single-Server Farm. A Single-Server Farm is meant for development, testing, and very limited production use. A SharePoint farm with the Single-Server Farm role cannot have more than one SharePoint server in the farm.Important:The Standalone Install mode is no longer available in SharePoint Server 2016. The Single-Server Farm role replaces the Standalone Install mode available in previous SharePoint Server releases. Unlike Standalone Install, the SharePoint administrator must separately install and prepare Microsoft SQL Server for SharePoint. The SharePoint administrator must also configure the SharePoint farm services and web applications, either manually or by running the Farm Configuration Wizard.|
|Front-end with Distributed Cache||Shared role that combines the Front-end and Distributed Cache roles on the same server.Note:This shared role was introduced in the November Public Update for SharePoint Server 2016 (Feature Pack 1).|
|Application with Search||Shared role that combines the Application and Search roles on the same server.Note:This shared role was introduced in the November Public Update for SharePoint Server 2016 (Feature Pack 1).|
For more information about the MinRole feature, see Overview of MinRole Server Roles in SharePoint Server 2016 and Planning for a MinRole server deployment in SharePoint Server 2016.