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Do I need a dedicated print server?



PaperCut MF and NG monitors printing by watching the jobs pass via a print queue. It needs to intercept the print jobs between the workstation and the printer so that it can perform analysis and control jobs for various reasons (e.g. delete it if the user doesn’t have quota available, or hold it if using a release station).

A traditional solution to this in a medium to large network is to host your printers and PaperCut on a “print server”. In some cases a print server may be a dedicated server, however on most networks an existing file server or domain server will fill this task. Hosting printers on a centralized server also has a number of administrative advantages over direct printer connection, including:

  • Automatic printer driver deployment and updates from the server
  • Centralized access control
  • Ability to deploy printers via Active Directory and related tools
  • Consolidated queue management, which allows you to
    • use Windows/OS level security to secure the printer (e.g. a staff only printer)
    • view/manage all print jobs in a queue


Not everyone wants or needs a print server (for example if you’re a small business or a distributed site organization with a modest numbers of users that are separated by different offices). In which case it may make more sense to print directly to a printer rather than have your print jobs travel through a print server.

Alternatives include:

Categories: Reference Articles , Architecture

Keywords: print server , printer setup , configuration , installation , direct IP connection , BODP , branch office direct printing , direct print


Last updated February 15, 2024