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Web Server

Web Server

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Published by Sachin Kumar Bassi

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Published by: Sachin Kumar Bassi on Apr 19, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Web server 
Acomputer  that delivers (
 serves up
) Web pages.Every Web server has anIP address and possibly a domain name. For example, if you enter theURL 
in your  browser ,this sends a request to the server whose domain name is
. The server thenfetches the page named
and sends it to your browser.Any computer can be turned into a Web server by installing server software and connecting the machine to theInternet. There are many Web server software applications, including public domain software from NCSA and Apache, and commercial packages from Microsoft, Netscape and others.
Software Review: How May We ServeYou?
With all the Web servers that are available, it's hard to know which one is the best for  your task.
A few years ago (when Mosaic was still the leading browser), if you werelooking for a Web server, your choices were mostly limited to servers that ranon Unix operating systems. There was the Apache server, the CERN server and the NCSA server-all free-that were (and still are) available for most Unixoperating systems, but if you were running an OS other than Unix, you were stuck. Now, dozens of servers are offered for numerous platforms, both for sale and free; Netscape is aggressively marketing servers for Windows NT; and Novell and Microsoftare giving their servers away free with their operating systems, Novell NetWare 4.11 andWindows NT 4.0. With all these choices, it's hard to know which server is right for you.In this review, Web Developer® looks at four Web servers of varying prices andcapabilities. We'll let you know what they can and can't do, and exactly who they aretargeted towards:
Microsoft's Internet Information Server 3.0
 Novell's intranet Web Server 3.0
 Netscape's Enterprise Server 2.01
Luckman's Web Commander Pro, beta 5Although most people think of the Internet when they think of Web servers, a large proportion of Web servers are used for intranet purposes internally, within anorganization. The same Web servers that serve pages to the Internet can also be usedinternally; but several companies are marketing Web servers specifically targeted towardsthe intranet market. Novell, with an estimated user base of more than 3 million Novellnetworks, is releasing their new NetWare Web Server 3.0 in the first quarter of '97, just
as Microsoft releases its Internet Information Server. Both of these servers seem to have alot going for them, and the price is definitely right, but what exactly do they offer?On the other end of the price spectrum is Netscape's Enterprise Server. Netscape has beena leader in the server business since April of 1994. According to Jim Clark and MarcAndreessen, the founders of Netscape, their mission is "to be the premier provider of open software that enables people and companies to exchange information and conductcommerce over the Internet and other global networks." They've been building on that premise ever since.Somewhere in the middle between the Enterprise Server and the two free servers isLuckman's Web Commander Pro. Most people are surprised (and a bit overwhelmed) bythe rich features of this "byte-sized" Web server. Web Commander is offered in twoversions, the basic Web Commander and the Professional version. Web Commander Prodelivers many of the rich features of top-end servers without the bloated price.
Novel Netware Web Server 3.0
 Novell has been in the network business since 1983, and an estimated 55 million peoplelog on to Novell networks around the world every day. Novell is the world's marketleader in server operating environments (with a 52% market share). It stands to reasonthat they know what they're doing when it comes to internal networks, and they'vedesigned their intranet NetWare Web Server with this knowledge firmly in mind. Someof the new features Novell claims for NetWare 4.11 Web Server 3.0 include:
Proxy caching allows delivery of cached HTML pages (4 to 10 times faster)
Double the performance of NetWare Web Server 2.5
up to a 60% reduction of WAN traffic
SSL 3.0 support
full support for Java applications
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) support
Virtual Private Networking Services that run over the Internet using encryptedtunneling
Filtering and IP network address translation at the packet level for systems notusing the proxy cache or circuit gateway
RAS to provide dial-up and dial-out access to intranets
 Novell QuickFinder Web site search engine
Advanced Routing Services allows both IPX and IP to be combined and secured.As the NetWare Web Server is a part of NetWare 4.11, you automatically get theupgraded Web server if you upgrade after the first quarter of 1997.To install the Web Server, you first load the install module (install.nlm), and select"Install NetWare WEB Server" from the list at the top of the screen. After the installationis started, you can simply specify a password for use when you administer the server,
then accept the default file locations and let it do the rest...a pretty straightforwardoperation.Printed documentation for the Web Server is virtually nonexistent, although Online Helpis included with the Novell Web Server Administrator. This is not to say that NetWare4.11 lacks documentation-it comes with a printed Installation Guide and an informativeGuide to NetWare 4 Networks, as well as the online NetWare documentation. However,there's not much in the manuals about the Web Server itself; it's not even listed in either  book's index. The readme file in the Web Server directory of the installation CD told memore about the Web server than anything else in the package. The latest features of theWeb Server are provided in documentation on the installation CDs, as is the DynamicWeb Page Programmer's Guide, a Server Side Includes page and a directory with severalCGI pages. A series of Quick Start cards are provided, one of which describes the NetWare Web Server.From the Quick Start card I learned that to make changes later in the configuration, theWeb Server Administrator is used (see Figure 1), which actually runs on a client machineconnected to the server, not the server itself. Using the administrator, access can begranted or denied based on name or IP address, and client requests to the server can belogged in the access.log file. I found that the best documentation concerning the WebServer is accessed from within the Administrator program. Here's where you find outhow to change the server password, create a virtual host or a virtual server, open the KeyDatabase file and do virtually anything else the server does.Although Novell used to ship InnerWeb Publisher with IntranetWare 4.11, the newversion doesn't ship with any HTML editor. Novell says this is a feature that allows youto continue to use your favorite Web editor. As far as assisting developers with HTML,the included home page shows you several sample pages, quite a few Web images,information about image maps, and some BASIC and Perl scripts. The Novell WebServer also includes a document tree (which they expect you to follow) that placesimages, maps and scripts in subordinate directories under the main WEB directory.Virtual directories allow you to serve Web pages from any file server on the network,which means you don't have to install a separate Web server on each file server.So where does that leave the Novell NetWare Web Server? Pretty good, if you're alreadyusing NetWare. I don't think that anyone's going to run out and buy a NetWare system just for the free Web Server, but Novell does has a very strong product that is a perfectchoice if you're familiar with NetWare, and are looking for a good intranet server. Novellmay want to come up with some decent Web server documentation, include at least anrudimentary HTML editor and throw in a few more Web utilities, just to make it an all-in-one package.
Microsoft Internet Information Server
Microsoft doesn't really need an introduction, and if you don't know who they are or whatthey've been doing, perhaps you're a relatively recent visitor to our planet. Microsoft has

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