Fat Client


A “fat client” refers to a computer in a client-server architecture that is equipped with extensive capabilities and resources. Unlike a “thin client”, a fat client does server-like tasks locally, such as processing data or running applications. This minimizes the reliance on continuous server communication, but it can require more powerful hardware and software management.


The phonetics of the keyword “Fat Client” are: / fæt kliːənt /

Key Takeaways

Main Takeaways about Fat Client

  1. Processing Power: A fat client is a computer that has a lot of processing power and memory because it handles a lot of the computation and storage in client-server architecture. This reduces the workload of the server because the client application is responsible for processing the data.
  2. Reduced Network Traffic: Due to local processing of data, fat clients result in significantly reduced network traffic as compared to thin clients. This can speed up response times and reduce the likelihood of network congestion.
  3. High Maintenance: Fat clients require higher maintenance and administration because they need to be individually managed and updated. However, because the data is processed locally, they can continue operating offline, unlike thin clients that are completely dependent on the server.


The term “Fat Client” is important in technology as it refers to a computer or client in a network that is responsible for processing the majority of the data, instead of leaving it to the server. Fat clients, also known as thick clients, perform the bulk of data processing operations, reducing the need for continuous and heavy server loads. This can lead to improved performance, especially in situations where application responsiveness and data processing speed are crucial. Efficient use of fat clients may also reduce network traffic, provide a better degree of offline operation capability, and allow more customization due to the resources available on the client-side. However, it may also require more management tasks and higher cost due to software licenses and hardware upgrades.


A fat client, also known as a rich client or thick client, is a type of client in client-server architecture that performs the bulk of any data processing operations itself, and does not necessarily rely on the server. The purpose of a fat client is to offload data and processing operations from the server, which can decrease network traffic and streamline operations, particularly in distributed computing environments. Having the computational resources at hand, they are well suited for resource-intensive applications where a great amount of data needs to be processed, and a lot of business logic needs to be executed, such as video editing software or advanced scientific calculations.Fat clients have all the features and capabilities to choose, edit, and upload the relevant software applicable to the system. They operate independently without any server influence, but they can interact with the server for certain information or actions. Fat clients are especially useful in complex applications where immediate responses from the system are required, such as in graphic design or gaming applications, where the sophisticated computations and graphics processing can be conducted on the client side, ensuring a higher performance and better user experience. Fat clients can be more expensive to purchase and maintain, though, due to these high computational capabilities.


A fat client, also known as a rich client or thick client, refers to a computer (client) in client–server architecture or networks that typically provides rich functionality, as opposed to a thin client.Three real-world examples of fat client technology include:1. Video Games: Most video games, especially those that run on PC, can be considered as fat clients. these games are typically installed directly onto a computer and use its hardware to run, whereas a thin client relies more on the server. The major processing work happens on the local machines, while servers are used for multi-player network communications, matchmaking, etc.2. Microsoft Office Suite: Microsoft Office tools such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are other examples of fat client applications. They are installed directly onto the user’s computer and all processing is done locally, taking the heavy load off the server. 3. Graphic Design Software: Edits and operations done using graphic design programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Autodesk AutoCAD happen locally, hence they are considered fat client applications. These types of software are typically installed directly onto the user’s machine, where all the processing and rendering of graphical elements takes place. Servers, if any, might only be incorporated for file sharing or backup purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

**Q1: What is a Fat Client?**A1: A Fat Client (also known as a thick client or rich client) is a type of client in client-server architecture network which possesses most of the data processing operations and functionalities independently. Unlike thin clients, which rely heavily on the server for processing, fat clients can handle this processing load on their own.**Q2: How does a Fat Client work?**A2: A Fat Client runs more applications, software, and processes on the client side, substantially reducing the load on the server, as it doesn’t have to perform an operation every time a client demands it. **Q3: What are the advantages of using a Fat Client?**A3: Fat Clients are quite efficient because they handle their processing, leading to less network traffic and faster response times. These clients are generally more robust, since a server failure will have less impact on a fat client than on a thin one. Overall, they offer better performance and functionality.**Q4: What are the disadvantages of using a Fat Client?**A4: Fat Clients can be more expensive than thin clients, considering the costs for higher computational power and software licenses needed. They require more local resources and may need more robust (and costly) hardware. Additionally, system management might be more complicated due to the need to manage multiple standalone systems rather than a centralized server.**Q5: What are the real-world examples where Fat Clients are used?**A5: Fat Clients are mostly found in environments where high-performance workstations are needed, such as graphic design studios, video editing firms, and in scientific computing. Any environment that requires substantial local processing power or operates with large files benefits from a fat client configuration.**Q6: Is a Fat Client better than a Thin Client?**A6: It depends on the needs of the organization. If local processing power, speed, and less reliance on continuous networking are crucial, fat clients are effective. However, if cost, easy central management, and energy efficiency are paramount, then thin clients might be preferred. **Q7: How to maintain a Fat Client?**A7: Maintaining a fat client may involve regular hardware check-ups, software updates, virus scans, and other administrative tasks performed on an individual basis, rather than from a centralized server. Proper training is also necessary so end-users can operate the systems correctly.

Related Finance Terms

  • Thick Client
  • Client-Server Architecture
  • Server
  • Thin Client
  • Networking

Sources for More Information


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