What is Server in APN Settings? (This is What it Means)

You’ve probably come across a “server” field under the APN (Access Point Name) settings on your phone. But what exactly does this server entry refer to and what purpose does it serve when connecting to mobile data?

In this article, I’ll be explaining what the server in APN settings is, how it enables key smartphone functionality behind the scenes, what the average user needs to know about it, and whether you should ever need to change it.

What is it?The IP address or URL of the carrier’s gateway server for establishing a data connection and internet access.
Examples172.16.1.1, gateway.carrier.com, lte.apn.carrier.net
ImportanceA crucial value because without the proper server address, the device won’t know where to send the connection request to get on the carrier’s data network.
Pre-configuredMost carriers provide this value pre-configured on their supported devices.
Manual SetupFor manual APN setup, you need to input the correct server address provided by the carrier.
PurposeIt’s the address the device uses to initiate the connection to the carrier’s data network.
screenshot of server cropped

What is Servers in General (APN Settings)?

In my experience setting up APN settings, one of the critical values is the “Server” field. This refers to the IP address or URL of my carrier’s gateway server that my mobile device connects to in order to establish a data connection and get access to the internet.

Some examples of what this “Server” value might look like in my case are, gateway.carrier.com, or lte.apn.carrier.net. Essentially, it’s the address that my device uses to initiate the connection to my carrier’s data network.

server from the edit access point names with quick-apn.com

When I’m configuring APN settings manually, the server value is crucial because without the proper address, my device won’t know where to send the connection request to get on the carrier’s data network. Most carriers provide this value preconfigured on their supported devices, but for manual setup you need to input the correct server address.

What is a Server in APN Settings?

The “server” entry in the Access Point Name (APN) settings on your phone refers to the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) Server used by your mobile carrier. This key server enables sending and receiving multimedia text messages containing images, audio, or video. When you send an MMS message, it routes through the MMS Server before reaching the recipient. Incoming MMS messages also get handled by the MMS Server before arriving on your phone. So the MMS Server acts as a central hub for all non-text multimedia messages on the carrier’s network. If you need to configure MMS and see a server setting, it’s typically pointing to this critical component that powers multimedia messaging behind the scenes.

server value not set

Sure, here’s the table with more examples of server values:

Server TypeExample Values
IP Address172.16.1.1,,,,,
URL/Hostnamegateway.carrier.com, lte.apn.carrier.net, broadband.carrier.com,  internet.carrier.org, data.sim.carrier.net, tether.isprovidername.com
Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN)vpn.data.carrier.com, isp.secure.akam.net, gateway.m2m.carrier.co.uk, internet.bermudatriangle.com, cp.cloudsync.provider.net, broadband.isp.mysuperior.net

Some additional examples from various carriers and plans:

  • An MVNO using a major carrier’s network had the server: mvno.data.sprintpcs.com
  • A prepaid carrier used the IP address server:
  • An enterprise M2M plan used the FQDN server: m2m.cust.customdatainc.net
  • A mobile hotspot/tether plan server was: hotspot.altcustomer.net
screenshot of server in the apn settings

The Server in APN Settings Explained

In my experience, the “server” field in APN settings typically refers to the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) Server. This server plays a critical role in handling multimedia content, like pictures and videos, embedded within MMS messages that I send and receive.

server highlighted in the airtel apn settings

For example, when I want to send a picture message to a friend, my phone composes the message and sends it to the MMS server. The server then acts as a mediator, forwarding the multimedia content to my friend’s phone. Similarly, when I receive an MMS message, the MMS server first receives it and then delivers it to my phone.

It’s important to note that depending on my carrier, there might be other server entries in my APN settings, such as the Multimedia Messaging Service Center (MMSC). However, from what I’ve seen, the MMS server plays the primary role in managing the transfer of multimedia content in my case.

So in summary, if you see a “server” field in your APN settings, it most likely refers to the MMS Server that handles sending and receiving pictures, videos, and other multimedia messages on your device.

Importance of Correct Server Information

Having the correct server information in your APN settings is crucial for sending and receiving MMS messages. If the information is incorrect, you might encounter issues like:

  • Failed MMS delivery: Your messages might not reach the intended recipient.
  • Delayed receipt: MMS messages might take a longer time to arrive or might not arrive at all.
  • Delivery errors: You might receive error messages when trying to send or receive MMS messages.

Therefore, it’s essential to obtain the correct server information from your mobile network carrier to ensure seamless MMS communication.


That’s it for today’s blog post explaining the server field in Access Point Name (APN) settings. Throughout this article, I aimed to show you that the “server” entry typically refers to the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) Server used by your mobile carrier. This key component in the background facilitates multimedia messaging capabilities, enabling you to send and receive picture messages, video clips, and more.

I described how the MMS Server acts as a central hub for all non-text multimedia messages on your carrier’s network. It routes both outgoing MMS messages to recipients and incoming ones to your phone. While most users don’t modify APN settings often, I hope this gives you better clarity on what this MMS Server does behind the scenes.

If you have any other questions related to the server in APN settings, what the MMS Server does, or multimedia messaging in general, feel free to ask in the comments! or simply contact us. I’m happy to provide more details about this critical piece that powers picture and video messaging for smartphones.