WFTPD -- Entry-level/mid-range FTP server for Windows 95/NT/3.x platforms

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


WFTPD, or Windows FTP Daemon, is one of two popular shareware FTP servers for Windows that have been battling it out since the early days of the 'net (i.e. pre-Netscape - circa 1993). Like its veteran rival FTP Serv-U, FTP Serv-U offers many but not all of the features found in the current king of FTP servers, War FTP Daemon. But unlike War FTP, WFTPD is available for Windows 3.x (16-bit version) as well as for Windows 95 and NT (Intel-only). The server is available for download as a 30-day evaluation release and can be purchased for $20 (in contrast to the $25 FTP Serv-U and the freeware War FTP Daemon). The evaluation release is crippled in two ways -- users are greeted with an unregistered server message when they log in and they are limited to five transfers per login.

In addition to the standard WFTPD server, a pro version has also been released for high-end environments. Available for $80, WFTPD Pro offers the following additional features to go along with a revised and more attractive interface -- the ability to run as a native Windows NT system service (runs whether users are logged in or not), multihoming support (serves multiple virtual hosts from one system), a control manager for administering multiple virtual hosts, and full context-sensitive help. WFTPD Pro is currently available only for the Intel version of Windows NT; a Windows 95 version is expected to be released in the near future. WFTPD, or Windows FTP Daemon, is one of two popular shareware FTP servers for Windows that have been battling it out since the early days of the 'net (i.e. pre-Netscape - circa 1993).

Among WFTPD's many features are open standards compliance (with full support for RFC 959 and 1123), the ability to run as a system service under Windows 95, capabilities for resuming interrupted transfers (using REST, SIZE, and MDTM commands), the ability to play a sound when users log in and log out, configurable sign-on and sign-off messages (for all users only -- lacks War FTP's support for personalized greetings), online help documentation, and support for long filenames. Relative to FTP Serv-U and War FTP Daemon, WFTPD lacks features like system traybar icon support, online and offline modes of operation, multihoming support (available in the pro version), transfer capabilities to or from ports like PRN: or LPT1: (primarily useful for remote printing via FTP), and the widespread availability of add-on utilities and plug-in modules.

While also not as extensive as those of War FTP Daemon and FTP Serv-U, WFTPD does offer a solid selection of security capabilities. Configurable options are available only for individual users (as opposed to the other two servers which also allow you to set preferences for groups and classes of users). Security options include directory restrictions (allows access only to a specific directory and its sub-directories), directory access permissions (read, list, create, and overwrite/delete file options that can be set for specific directories), limits on the maximum number of users (but without separate options for regular and anonymous users), logging capabilities (tracks number of times connected, files uploaded, files downloaded, file commands, etc.), and access restrictions by password or IP address (numeric address only). When compared to Serv-U and War FTP Daemon, WFTPD lacks security features like upload/download restrictions and ratio options, disk quotas, individual file access permissions, access restrictions by host address name, file ban capabilities, maximum transfer speed controls (limits the network bandwidth available for use by the FTP server).

Getting up and running with WFTPD is relatively easy. The server is ready to serve users as soon as you launch it and additional configuration tasks take only a few minutes. The ease of installation is a good thing considering that aside from the program's online help documentation, WFTPD doesn't offer much by way of assistance. Whereas FTP Serv-U and War FTP offer extensive support from their Web sites, WFTPD's Web site support section is limited to a page of reported bugs you'll want to watch out for in the server. The good news is that the server is straightforward enough that most users won't need additional help in configuring and administering WFTPD.

While WFTPD trails behind the competition in several areas, it does stand out in a couple. Most notably, WFTP's stability and reliability as well as its solid performance make the server a good choice for Windows-based small and medium-sized businesses. The server is also compatible with numerous FTP clients like Cute-FTP, WS_FTP, and FTP Voyager as well as the built-in FTP clients of Web browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Communicator. Overall, FTP Serv-U is a solid choice for those looking to add a proven FTP server to their selection of Internet services.

Pros: Solid feature-set, Win 9x/NT & Win 3.x versions, reliable & stable (available since 1993)
Cons: Lacks numerous features found in competing offerings like War FTP Daemon
New: Pro version ($100) with additional features, Windows 95/98 system service support

New in v2.40: Shortcuts (.LNK files), UNC (Unified Naming Convention) filename support (32-bit release), activity monitor, safety shutdown, sound alert, 'Magic Cookies'
Upgrade Meter: 5

New in v2.41 RC5: "Magic Cookies" that include additional information; STAT command supports file listing to the control connection; shortcuts (.LNK files) and UNC file names supported on 32-bit Windows; transfer statistics included in log files; numeric codes handled correctly at the start of lines in messages; wildcard expansion inside of path components; activity monitor that allows the immediate disconnect of unruly users; and a sound alert that informs when users are logging in or out
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v2.41 RC7: Added help text for each FTP command in the Control Connection; prevents directory currently in use from locking; connections slightly delayed while a reverse DNS lookup is attempted to get the client's name; logging of connection refusals lists the IP address that was refused; allows the PORT value of 1024, even when low ports are disallowed; users can access LNK files; correctly logs unknown Winsock error codes listing their number
Upgrade Meter: 2

New in v2.41 RC8: Corrected log-in failure in cases where the directory cannot be found if it ends in a backslash; changed the method of creating uploaded files to try to get around a reported sharing problem with IIS (which maintains locks to files after it's finished reading them); slight speed improvement on comparison of rights when listing files
Upgrade Meter: 1

New in v2.41 RC9: "Magic Cookies" include time and date, user's name, disk space remaining, etc., in greeting, farewell and navigational messages; STAT command now supports file listing to the control connection; shortcuts (.LNK files) are supported on 32-bit Windows, acting just like symbolic links on Unix; Unified Naming Convention filenames are supported on 32-bit Windows (Windows 3.1x support for UNCs will follow shortly; transfer statistics are now included in log files; numeric codes are now handled correctly at the start of lines in message output
Upgrade Meter: 2

New in v2.41 RC11: Supports files and disks larger than 2GB; new commands added: FEAT (reports on the post-RFC 959 features supported), OPTS (for setting feature options), MLST (new machine-readable listing format), and MLSD (a format similar to MLST); new HOST command is recognized but remains unimplemented; added a dynamically sized command buffer designed to throw off even the most outrageous of FTP denial-of-service attempts without hiccuping; Y2K code review carried out; cookies and responses that used angle brackets ("<>") now use curly braces ("{}"); improved interaction with Nagle/Delayed ACK algorithms to improve command response time to well-behaved FTP clients; PORT command can no longer be used to subvert restrictions to ports smaller than 1K
Upgrade Meter: 1

New in v2.41 RC12: Fixes a GPF that can be triggered by remote users (i.e., can be a denial-of-service attack); added help text for each FTP command in the Control Connection
Upgrade Meter: 2

New in v2.41 RC13: Full implementation of required features of the FTP standard; supports Windows 2000 running Winsock 1.1/2.x TCP/IP; can run on nonstandard ports on any or all IP addresses in use
Upgrade Meter: 1

New in v2.41 RC14Can now remotely connect to and configure a remote WFTPD Pro installation; in an effort to provide some level of support for Windows 95/98, the control panel can configure a WFTPD Pro system running as a regular application, rather than as an NT service; accelerators added for more dialog buttons; the control panel window can no longer be shrunk so small that buttons overlap or disappear; read-only sound files can be used for login/logout notice; to allow connecting hosts to be validated by name as well as IP address, reverse DNS lookup is now available; long path names are used to store, and reference, all rights entries; Y2K code review carried out; conversions page can now correctly add new conversion names; browsing for the log file now displays "Save" instead of "Open"; selecting servers with fatal errors now gives the option to "Go" instead of having to "Stop" then "Go"
Upgrade Meter: 2

Version Reviewed: 2.40
Date of Review: 7/25/98
Last Updated: 11/9/01
Reviewed by: Forrest Stroud

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