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Push refers to a system in which data is "pushed" to a user's device rather than "pulled" by the user. In other words, the data transfer is initiated by the server rather than the client.

Push technology, which is also called "server push," can be used to send news data, stock updates, and other information from the Internet to a user's computer. It is also used to send text messages via SMS to people's cell phones. Push e-mail allows users to receive e-mail messages without having to check their e-mail manually. This means new messages appear on the client's device as soon as they are received by the server. However, in order to receive pushed messages, both the mail server and the user's e-mail client must support push technology.

While most information is still "pulled" from the Internet, more kinds of data can now be pushed to users' systems. With push technology, people no longer need to constantly check news sites, e-mail, or other data sources to see if they have been updated. The result is a more efficient means of receiving information. If only we could go back in time and tell the playground bully, "Don't push me, push your e-mail." That would show him.

First Published: 2009
Last Updated: November 30, 1999

Definition from the PC Glossary