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Scaleable Internet suite with Web

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


The missing link between the once-vital BBS scene and the Internet, Mustang Software's Wildcat! Interactive Net Server (WIN Server) is a melange of core Internet services -- World Wide Web, file libraries, SMTP/POP3 Internet mail, Usenet newsgroups, telnet and FTP -- that can be augmented with additional modules, including an online casino, the askSam database manager, and an automated listserver.

At a basic level, it's easy to install and configure WIN Server; we downloaded the Personal Edition version and had a basic Web server up and running in no time. For those who want a down-and-dirty Internet server with a slew of basic capabilities, then Wildcat! Interactive Net Server should be strongly considered.

At a basic level, it's easy to install and configure WIN Server; we downloaded the Personal Edition version and had a basic Web server up and running in no time.

Users can access WIN Server with their own Web browser or a customized version of Microsoft Internet Explorer called Wildcat! Navigator. With Wildcat! Navigator, users can access some specialized WIN Server functionality (such as chat); users of other Web browsers will receive a message offering a plug-in to add the specific functionality. The Wildcat! Navigator also features a dialer for connecting directly to a Wildcat! Interactive Net Server without using a Winsock or performing any network configuration on the client. Once connected to your Wildcat! Interactive Net Server, a user can use the server to browse the Internet. Purchase of the WIN Server includes a license to redistribute Wildcat! Navigator free of charge.

The Wildcat! Interactive Net Server comes in four basic configurations: Personal Edition (free download), Community Edition ($99), Business Edition ($1,495), and Enterprise Edition ($3,995). You can fine-tine a configuration by adding specific features from Mustang Software (a complete list of add-ons is available from the WIN Server Web site).

7 Personal Edition - The downloadable Personal Edition is a fully functional demo version of WIN Server. The only restrictions placed on the Personal Edition are a thirty-day evaluation period and a limit of two concurrent users and 50 total users. The Personal Edition is also available on CD-ROM for a $5 shipping fee.

7 Community Edition - The Community Edition includes all the basic Wildcat! Interactive Net Server features: messaging, chat and file libraries, with the ability to support up to two authenticated dial-up users at a time (there is no limit on the number of Web surfers). Also included is a secure subscription module (wcSubscribe), and a one-year license to distribute Wildcat! Navigator.

7 Business Edition - The Business Edition supports up to 16 authenticated users at a time (again, there is no limit on the number of Web surfers) and adds a database reporting and statistics tool (wcReports), an e-mail list server (wcListServe), and one full year of toll-free technical support.

7 Enterprise Edition - The Enterprise Edition supports up to 64 authenticated users at a time (once again, there is no limit on the number of Web surfers) adds a license for the wcExchange intranet mail server, which serves as replacement for a Microsoft Exchange server.

In addition, the entire system is perhaps the most scaleable Web server we've seen. If you need support for additional dial-up users, you can buy additional nodes from Mustang. If you need to add database capabilities, you can purchase askSam. If you want to add your own custom software, you can purchase the Wildcat! Software Development Kit or the wcCode Integrated Development Environment for customizing Active HTML and ANSI/ASCII interfaces. Other modules available for purchase include an online casino and a mailing-list manager.

When you break down the features, it's pretty apparent that Wildcat! Interactive Net Server is a much better value at the low end (small businesses and satellite offices) than at the enterprise level. As an easy-to-implement Web server, the Community Edition offers a lot of functionality while providing an easy-to-grasp interface -- an interface that distinguishes WIN Server from freeware Web servers like the Apache Web server.

With the ability to block access to specific Web sites and IP addresses, WIN Server is also appropriate for non-profit situations (i.e., churches and schools) where more control over access is desired. Indeed, the majority of configuration options and sample pages are geared for these areas. (You probably won't want to go with these bland example pages; thankfully, you can use the included HoTMetaL Pro editor to spiff up the Web pages or to create your own from scratch.)

At the high end, Wildcat! Interactive Net Server would be applicable for a high-traffic public site that requires some direct dial-in support, but this dial-up support may be hard to implement on a large scale, since names cannot be imported from the Windows NT User Directory or another source. And WIN Server is totally inappropriate for any site that needs advanced security capabilities. There's no support for any data encryption, certificates, VPN connections, or the Secure Sockets Layer, and the server itself has no firewall or proxy capabilities. There is, however, support for secure online transactions after a user has been properly authenticated. You can also set up a billing system for online connect time.

Indeed, it's this lack of advanced security support that is the biggest shortcoming in Wildcat! Interactive Net Server. Once advanced security is implemented in WIN Server, we can whole-heartedly recommend the server in almost every Internet and intranet situation. Until then, however, you'll need to decide how important security is now or will be in your future, and judge Wildcat! Interactive Net Server accordingly.

Pros: 7 A wide range of plans to meet entry-level, mid-range, and high-end needs; 7 So many tools that you may lose track of them; 7 Secure online transactions; 7 Easy installation and configuration; 7 Support for dial-up users without the need for Winsock capabilities; 7 Scaleable performance when you outgrow a configuration

Cons: 7 No advance security capabilities, 7 Sample Web pages and sites aren't very usable in the real world, 7 Limited support for the low-end version

New: 7 This is the initial review for Wildcat! Interactive Net Server

Version Reviewed: 5.0
Reviewed by: Kevin Reichard
Last Updated: Initial Review
Date of Original Review: 9/10/98


Technical Support Information: Mustand Software offers 45 days of free support after purchase for the Community Edition and one year of toll-free support for the Business and Enterprise Editions, with extended service plans available. The free support includes unlimited e-mail support (support@mustang.com) with responses promised within two business days, as well as a Technical Support Web site that offers online forums and mailing lists.

Operating Systems Supported: Windows 95/98. Windows NT

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