Desktop databases are mostly designed to run on “desktop” or personal computers. They are many times cheap and simple. Most desktop databases are very user-friendly. A user does not need to understand SQL in order to use them, and contain a fairly graphical interface. They also often times provide web solutions so that the user can publish data onto the web in various fashions. Microsoft Access is a very popular, well known, desktop database that many people already own.
Server databases are much more complex and expensive than desktop databases. These databases offer organizations the ability to manage large amounts of data and many users. In a server database, APIs are used for rapid development of custom applications providing users with a lot of flexibility. These databases can also expand very quickly if the money is put into investing the proper hardware into one. Unfortunately this can get rather pricey. Common server databases include Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle.