Basic entry-level proxy server/firewall for Windows 95/98/NT

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


The Spaghetti Proxy Server is geared for the vast middle class of Internet installations where a smaller network of 10 or so PCs are linked via a single connection to the Internet. In these situations, you want to keep out unwanted intruders while making sure that the users can access the Internet without any undue restrictions. At the same time you want to improve overall system performance by caching frequently accessed Web pages. On this level -- which is really the traditional definition of a proxy server -- the Spaghetti Proxy Server works adequately, while adding support for some Web protocols not universally found in the proxy-server world. For enterprise-level needs, Avirt's more advanced Gateway Proxy Server fits the bill.

You can download a thirty-day evaluation copy of the Spaghetti Proxy Server (limited to 400 connections) and install it on your Windows NT or Windows 95 system that serves as a gateway from the network to your ISP. Once installed, Spaghetti Proxy Server integrates well with other system software, particularly if you're running the Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) 3.0 or better on a Windows NT server. In fact, Spaghetti Proxy Server integrates with IIS to the point where Spaghetti can be administered from the Internet Service Manager. If you're not a Microsoft shop, Spaghetti Proxy Server can be administered from the Control Panel under Windows 95/98 or Windows NT, or it can be run as a service under Windows NT on the Intel and DEC Alpha platforms. In these situations, you want to keep out unwanted intruders while making sure that the users can access the Internet without any undue restrictions.

The Spaghetti Proxy Server supports a wide variety of Internet protocols, including HTTP, Secure HTTP and the Secure Sockets Layer (HTTPS/SSL), FTP, telnet, POP3, SMTP, NNTP, SNEWS, SOCKS4, SOCKS5, RealAudio, RealVideo, VDOLive and Microsoft NetShow. Noteworthy in the list of supported protocols is explicit support for popular online services -- America Online (AOL), Microsoft Network (MSN) and Compuserve (WinCIM) --- which aren't universally supported in the proxy-server world. Also explicitly supported is DNS forwarding. A Statistics tab in the administration applet tells you how active your connection to the Internet has been, including how effective you cache is and how often it has been accessed.

With Spaghetti Proxy Server only Web page caching can be enabled. You can set how long a file is cached and where the files are stored. You can refresh an entire cache hierarchy or just selected files. A logfile tells you what actions have been taken by the Spaghetti Proxy Server.

Connections to the Internet can be automatically administered by the Spaghetti Proxy Server. It uses the Windows NT RAS service to dial an ISP automatically, hanging up the line when a specified time-out occurs. It also automatically dials the ISP should someone want access to the Internet when the connection is not current.

The Spaghetti Proxy Server also provides some firewall capabilities in a limited fashion. If your connection to the Internet is done via a leased line (and not a dynamically addressed dial-up connection), Spaghetti can secure the internal network; the capability doesn't exist if your connection is with a dynamically assigned IP address. It can also connect directly to an ISP's proxy in a Proxy-Proxy Channeling mode (if your ISP's proxy supports such a connection) to establish a hierarchy of proxies and minimize the bandwidth needed to transfer data to your users.

The designers of Spaghetti Proxy Server have avoided a "throw-in-the-kitchen-sink" approach to software espoused by the big software firms. In this case, they've created and maintained an adequate proxy server that should fill the needs of those smaller networks that need some speed enhancements through cached Web pages.

Pros: 7 Easy to set up and configure, 7 Support of a wide range of Web procotols, 7 Administration of dialup connections, 7 Firewall capabilities for leased-line connections, 7 Tight integration with Microsoft IIS

Cons: 7 No browser-based administration, 7 Limited security features

New: 7 Automatic Proxy Configuration, 7 Redesigned Administration application, 7 System traybar support, 7 Improved DUN support, 7 Added support for ten new native protocols; 7 Release Notes

New in v3.0: Redesigned with the home user in mind (with new pricing structure starting at $49.95), new Client Administrator and Administration wizard, improved installation and administration, better performance; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 5

Version Reviewed: 3.0
Reviewed by: Kevin Reichard
Last Updated: 12/8/98
Date of Original Review: 5/12/98


Operating Systems / Latest Versions:

Windows NT : Intel, Alpha - (v3.0). Windows 95/98 - (v3.0)


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