The Benefits of a PC on a Domain Controller

By Tim McMahon

Networking computers has benefits.
i global computer network image by Michael Brown from

A domain controller's primary function is to control access to the network. A workstation or PC on the domain must communicate with the domain controller to gain access to the network. Without a domain controller, the network is not a domain but simply a workgroup.

Domain Vs. Workgroup

In a workgroup, permissions need to be set at every workstation. Once you have more than 10 workstations or PCs it becomes quite unwieldy to maintain since one change requires you make that change on every PC in the workgroup. A domain keeps all the permission information in one location so you only have to change it once. A domain also is more secure because there is less likelihood of a change or update being missed.


Domains can have numerous servers in addition to the domain controller. Access permissions for all of the servers are stored in the domain controller. Workgroups may not have a server at all, with print sharing just being done from a PC member. Each PC that has to perform additional server functions will be slowed down.


The domain controller maintains a list of who can access the network in an active directory and determines which files users can access and what they can do with these files. In addition to security and convenience, domain controllers provide speed by freeing up individual PC resources from performing server functions.