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Savant Web Server -- Basic Web server for Windows that is a snap to set up

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jun 5, 2002


Savant is one of those software gems that is not found often: a freely available Windows Web server that is easy to set up and has plenty of firepower and just enough features. Savant shines because its set up is dirt simple. Users simply download a 2 megabyte ZIP file, decompress it, run the installation, and set a few parameters.

Despite Savant's small footprint and simple installation, it is a Web server with serious intent. It contains just enough features to be a workhorse, such as the capability to specify individual user names and passwords to particular directories and the capability to create industry standard user log files. It is also flexible enough to add new MIME types easily, something that cannot be done on less-capable servers. And Savant can easily incorporate a shared local network directory as part of its published Web directories: Other servers require that all Web content be hosted on a local machine. This is a server designed for users to make the transition from desktop to serving Web pages as painless as possible.

Savant is one of those software gems that is not found often: a freely available Windows Web server that is easy to set up and has plenty of firepower and just enough features.

We tested the server on Windows 98 second edition. It took all of five minutes to set up, and that includes time spent reading the manuals and figuring out a few parameters, such as enabling various user names and copying Web content files.

Savant is lacking a corresponding FTP service, something that comes with Microsoft's IIS and StarNine's WebStar. That is its one drawback, and users who wish to upload their Web content will have to do so directly on the local machine or install a separate FTP server. Another disadvantage of Savant is that it is incapable of supporting secure sockets layer (SSL)connections, making it unsuitable for use as an e-commerce server. But these are minor issues, given that the product is free and capable.

Savant was developed by Michael Lamont. Lamont is a Unix systems administrator of Western Kentucky University. He has an active support group and hosts a discussion forum on eGroups. He handles queries quickly. (When was the last time someone at Microsoft answered your question?) Documentation for Savant can be found on the server's Web site as well as installed on a local machine.

We recommend Savant for users new to setting up their own Windows Web servers and who want a free product with enough depth and support to make learning comfortable. While IIS is free, users do need to purchase the server versions of NT or Windows 2000, which can be an extra expense. IIS and Web servers are also more difficult to set up and manage than Savant.

Pros: 7 Extremely easy to configure 7 Supports local network drive shares as Web directories 7 Simple security model for directories

Cons: 7 No FTP server included 7 Does not support SSL 7 No remote administration

New in 3.0: CERN/NCSA Common Log Format logging, including browser and referrer entries; performance logs and error logs; configurable logging; WinCGI support; ISAPI Application support; user-based password protection; can limit access by IP addresses; complete source code for server and configuration utility available; Web-based support system; support mailing lists; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 4

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Version Reviewed: 2.1
Date of Review: 2/9/00
Reviewed by: David Strom
Date Last Updated: 2/27/01