Web Servers and Usenet News Servers
Microsoft Internet Information Server comes "free" with Windows Server, which - like so much other Microsoft software - explains how it gained market share. It's a powerful system, but among its powers are countless open doors for crackers to take control of your server. At one point it was so chronically vulnerable that the Gartner Group (who are usually big promoters of Microsoft) recommended that people who use it look into replacing it. The problem for many of them is that they're stuck with it, because as soon as you start using some of its proprietary Microsoft-only extensions, the only way to switch to a different platform involves some serious reconstruction of the whole web site. But there are other web servers that run on Windows, and most of the alternatives also give you the freedom to choose what OS to run them on.
close match high quality low price challenge MS Apache is the most popular web server on the planet, running more sites than all the others combined (and growing). There are two main reasons for this: 1) It's free. 2) It works. Apache is built by some of the best server programmers in the world, and because it's open-source, it's been tested by the best crackers on the planet and you can get help from some of the sharpest hackers just about anywhere. It'll run on nearly any operating system. It can be extended to do just about anything. This site uses Apache, running on a Linux system built from "obsolete" hardware. Apache 2.0 has been out for a few years now and features some significant improvements, but Apache 1.3 works so well that many system operators are taking their time switching. my choice Unix-like Windows Mac OS Netware OS/2 BeOS AtheOS
close match high quality challenge MS Sun Java System Web Server was the first serious commercial alternative to Apache. It was originally developed by Netscape, who then worked jointly with Sun to develop it, and now Sun is carrying it forward on its own. It's industrial-strength software, and can be counted on for even the most demanding systems, including high-traffic e-commerce sites. The only downside is that you really pay for it. But if you're a business that's counting on vendor support to stay online, you may find that worth it. For Windows and major Unix-like systems. An earlier version (when it was still known as "Netscape Enterprise Server") is available as open-source software. Windows Unix-like
high quality low price thttpd stands for "tiny/turbo/throttling hyper text transport protocol daemon", which is another way of saying that this is one of the smallest, quickest, and most "balanced" high-end web servers available. Aside from its ability to handle heavy loads without slowing down, its unique "URL throttling" feature prevents requests for one page from swamping the whole machine and preventing other pages from getting served. It's free (they ask for small donations) and runs on most Unix-like systems, with a ported version for Windows. (And it's pronounced just like it looks: "thttpd!") Unix-like Windows
high quality low price lighttpd (pronounced "lighty") is a high-performance, high-efficiency server optimized for high-traffic sites. It's used by such megasites as YouTube and Wikipedia for images, and is great at pushing out static content that doesn't have to be recreated frequently. In its short history it has become one of the most widely used web server packages on the internet. Available for Unix-like systems. Unix-like
high quality challenge MS Zeus is another industrial-quality server, designed to handle very busy sites without slowing down, and efficiently support unlimited virtual hosts, making it a good choice for web-hosting services. It costs some significant money, but the quality and technical support you get for that has helped make this one of the single most popular web servers in the world (and recommended as a commercial option by the developer of lighttpd). Runs on most Unix-like systems. Unix-like
close match high quality challenge MS Lotus Domino is the server component of their ground-breaking Lotus Notes system. In addition to a web server, it also supports standard e-mail and Lotus' collaboration applications. It runs on Unix-like systems, Windows Server, and various IBM big-iron systems, which means it's damn hard to outgrow. Unix-like Windows
high quality low price challenge MS Roxen WebServer is part of the comprehensive Roxen Platform for building and maintaining web sites. Although you can download the server itself for free, it's most useful if you go for the whole integrated system. Available for most Unix-like systems, Mac OS, and Windows Server. Some former Roxen users, unhappy with the direction of version 2.0, have created Caudium, which forked from the open-source code base of Roxen 1.3 (for Unix-like systems only). Unix-like Windows Mac OS
close match high quality low price challenge MS Savant is a free server that includes a nice mix of support for the latest standards, easy installation and administration, but without bogging the thing down with high-end features that a personal web site would never need. It limits itself how much horsepower it will use up, making it good for running in the background on a Windows workstation. Windows
close match high quality MiniPortal is an inexpensive commercial product that includes current stable versions of the free Apache server and Perl scripting language, plus support for FrontPage extensions (if they're installed on your system), in an easy-to-install package for Windows. It starts simple, but if you roll up your sleeves, you can get it to do anything Apache and Perl can (within the limits of Windows). The dynamic-DNS-updating option would be attractive to home sites running on DSL/cable connections with dynamic IP addresses. Windows
close match high quality BadBlue is a server designed to facilitate file-sharing via a web server. It's easy to set up and small enough to run on an ordinary Windows workstation, but includes some powerful features like support for Perl and PHP. It's free for personal and charity use, and very inexpensive for other users. The Enterprise Edition adds text searching and live translation of shared Excel documents, also at an affordable price. Windows
close match low price AnalogX SimpleServer:WWW is just what its name implies, a very simple web server, small enough to fit on a diskette (even an old low-density floppy), trivially easy to install and run, and free. It can be useful as a local - even portable - test/demo server for sites using server-side DOS/Win CGI. (A similar MP3-streaming server is also available.) Windows
low price TinyWeb doesn't offer many customisation options or high-end features, but it takes very modest resources, keeps logs, and supports Perl and compiled CGI. You won't even notice it's there (partly because it's invisible when it's running). A version with secure-sockets support is also available. It's free, and the Delphi source code is even included. Windows
low price Small HTTP Server is not a polished product, either in terms of its name, setup, interface, documentation, or even the developers usage of English. But the coding efficiency of its lone Russian programmer is impressive, supporting forms, Perl/PHP/exe CGI (with external parsers), SSI, proxying, DNS, virtual hosts, FTP, POP3/SMTP, and more. The program size has swelled in recent versions to... nearly 100KB (small enough to fit on a 1980-vintage single-sided, single-density 5.25" floppy). Well worth the modest registration fee he asks. Windows Unix-like
One of the services bundled into Microsoft's IIS is a Usenet News service, for hosting the tens of thousands of discussion groups that are connected to the global Usenet network. This is a different kind of service from the Web, which is why pretty much everyone but the bundlers at Microsoft offer it as a separate package from a Web server. Usenet isn't as "sexy" as the Web, so the range of options isn't as dizzying, but there are still several good News servers to choose from.
close match a close match or substitute for Microsoft's product
high quality an especially high-quality alternative
low price an inexpensive (or even free) alternative
challenge MS offers a strong challenge to Microsoft's influence
my choice my personal selection
Runs on: Windows Windows, Mac OS Mac OS, Unix-like Unix-like systems, Java Java-compatible systems, Symbian Symbian OS, Palm OS Palm OS, Netware Netware, OpenVMS OpenVMS, BeOS BeOS, OS/2 OS/2, Amiga Amiga, RISC OS RISC OS, DOS DOS,
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