Got 5 minutes? Create your Web site with Webserver 1.0

These days everybody wants to launch shining logos and messages
into cyberspace for the World Wide Web-browsing masses to adore.


WebServer 1.0 will get you up there in about five minutes, plus the time it takes to
register a host name. WebServer runs on most Microsoft Windows PCs and works with any
Windows Sockets TCP/IP stack. And it comes bundled with Novell Inc.'s LAN WorkPlace TCP
stack, in case you don't have one.


I ran WebServer successfully under Windows 3.11 with several different TCP stacks. It
also worked without a hitch on a Windows NT 3.5 server. Unfortunately, the same can't be
said for Microsoft's latest operating system.


WebServer just wouldn't run with the June test build of Windows 95. When I tried
starting it up, the information screen flicked past my eyes and was gone. Win95's TCP
Sockets refused entry to Hypertext Transfer Protocol requests.


Windows NT 3.51 Workstation misbehaved even more dramatically. With the WebServer
configuration utility, which uses a run-time dynamic link library for Visual Basic 3.0,
the NT machine locked up. Quarterdeck has promised a 32-bit version of the software for
Win95 and NT 3.51 soon, so a solution should be only a couple of diskettes away.


The WebServer software comes in a tight little bundle. Two floppy disks carry the
entire server and LAN WorkPlace TCP stack. The server itself, including sample files,
takes up less than 2M of disk room installed, so even your most lightweight Windows
machine can become a Web host.


I supplemented WebServer's sample pages by coding a few of my own Hypertext Markup
Language documents with lots of links, a few large graphics files and some forms. I then
set up permissions for the various directories on my server machine and started up the
server software.


WebServer supports 16 simultaneous connections and up to 25,000 requests per hour, with
a fairly comprehensive security system. Sixteen connections won't do for a primary Web
site, but WebServer isn't designed for that. It falls short of the throughput of a
high-end Unix platform, obviously, and it doesn't have a full firewall for protection.
It's really intended as an easy-to-run departmental Web server or for use on a WAN, and it
fills those roles well.


The administrative utility establishes security with user groups, user names and
password protection. It supports IP address screening, blocking specific host addresses
from connecting to all or parts of the server's documents.


WebServer also keeps chronological log files, showing which sites have opened which
files for viewing. That makes it fairly easy to track usage of your server and justify its
existence to your managers. If the site gets hit frequently, your log file could even be
used as an argument for buying a better server.


But WebServer's usefulness isn't limited to Web publishing. If you're looking for a way
to put memoranda, manuals, policy statements and other documents on your internal network,
WebServer is a cheap way to do it.


Quarterdeck's other Web product, WebAuthor, makes it easy for Microsoft Word 6.0 users
to turn their documents into HTML pages, so you don't have to worry about manually coding
all those ""<>'' formatting commands into electronic files.


On GCN's laboratory LAN, WebServer responded as if files were on a local disk. Across
the Internet, it held up to its advertised load of 16 simultaneous hits, with little
attenuation in response time or throughput.


In fact, I ran into bandwidth problems with our Net connection long before the server
was overtaxed. I suspect an asynchronous transfer mode connection to the WebServer PC
would quickly show the package's limitations.


WebServer for Windows 1.0 is street-priced around $129. The General Services
Administration schedule price will be slightly lower. WebServer recieved its certification
of commerciality on June 30, so it should appear on many federal resellers' discount
schedules soon.


You can find other free Web server software [GCN, July 17, Page 33] or bundled
with TCP/IP Windows networking suites, but WebServer 1.0 probably is your easiest path to
the Web--and the cheapest to maintain.


Quarterdeck Corp., Santa Monica, Calif.; tel. 310-314-4216


About the Author

Sean Gallagher is senior contributing editor for Defense Systems.

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