4D WebSTAR -- Mid-range/Enterprise-level server for Macintosh platforms

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jun 25, 2002


WebSTAR is the Web server of choice for the Macintosh platforms (Power Mac and 680x0). The 2.0 release was given the 1998 Macworld Editors' Choice award, and version 3.0 (now in public beta) is a major upgrade that includes HTTP 1.1 support, multihoming and virtual domain support, an integrated FTP server, a caching proxy server for dynamic caching, support for the WebSTAR API (W*API) v1.3, a built-in Java Virtual Machine, and TCP/IP encrypted remote administration support via the new WebSTAR Admin application. Additional features in the latest release include support for Java Servlets and enhanced server-side includes.

The features in the 3.0 release add to an already impressive feature-set that includes built-in image mapping support, HTTP Keep-Alive support (allows for faster multi-connection processing), auto-BinHexing of Mac OS files, a bundled enhanced security version (WebSTAR/SSL), a WebSTAR/SSL Security Toolkit for providing authentication and encryption to your Web pages, a wide variety of WebSTAR plug-ins (developed in Java using the WebSTAR Plug-in API), and a copy of the popular Adobe PageMill HTML editor. WebSTAR also offers a built-in search engine based on the Apple Information Access Toolkit which enables applications to extract text from PDF files. WebSTAR is the Web server of choice for the Macintosh platforms (Power Mac and 680x0). The 2.0 release was given the 1998 Macworld Editors' Choice award, and version 3.0 (now in public beta) is a major upgrade that includes HTTP 1.1 support, multihoming and virtual domain support, an integrated FTP server, a caching proxy server for dynamic caching, support for the WebSTAR API (W*API) v1.3, a built-in Java Virtual Machine, and TCP/IP encrypted remote administration support via the new WebSTAR Admin application. Additional features in the latest release include support for Java Servlets and enhanced server-side includes.

WebSTAR is easy to install and administer thanks to its integrated server management tools and browser-based remote administration capabilities. Depending on your network bandwidth, WebSTAR is capable of serving in excess of five million hits a day. Future development beyond version 3.0 looks bright as Quarterdeck recently sold StarNine, the developer of WebSTAR, to Platinum Equity Holdings. This deal is expected to help accelerate future product developments.

WebStar can be downloaded as a 30-day evaluation release, or you can purchase the server for $499. Upgrading from version 2.x will cost you $199, while upgrading from version 1.x costs $299. Other than its relatively expensive price tag, the only real drawbacks of WebSTAR are performance (a problem for all Mac servers) and poor live technical support. Still, while getting personal help for WebSTAR is a bit difficult, the WebSTAR Support Web site contains almost everything a developer could possibly want to know about WebSTAR, including tutorials, FAQs, software updates, a listing of plug-ins, and real-time mailing lists for discussing issues with other WebSTAR users.

Pros: Best Mac server available, remote admini via TCP/IP, integrated FTP and proxy servers
Cons: Performance (a problem for all Macintosh servers), expensive, poor live technical support
New: HTTP 1.1 support, multihoming and virtual domain support, enhanced server-side includes

New in v4.0: Web Server performance boost, New WebSTAR Mail Server - supports POP, IMAP and Web mail access, Enhanced and integrated SSL Encryption, Improved Data Cache updates when files are modified;
Upgrade Meter: 5

New in v4.1: Updated search engine capabilities to automatically crawl local and remote sites and serve customizable search results pages; improved performance and OS 9 compatibility; can now funnel Web Lite logging analysis from Active Concepts; new screens in the WebSTAR Admin for various plug-ins; improvements and enhancements made to servers and plug-ins; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v4.2: Web serving components accelerated for the Power Mac G4 with Velocity Engine; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 2

New in v4.3: Corrected a problem handling recursive relative URL requests; increased the default File Info cache size to 100K; network service location is now used for network serial number registration; plug-in and CGI POST arguments are no longer truncated when an Authorization field is included in the request and Verbose Messages was turned on; updated default Suffix Mapping list to include correct mappings for RealAudio files; a line feed is inserted in the Web log when logging is stopped and resumed; corrected invalid return values for the WSAPI_StatusStream() calls; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v4.4: Compatible with CarbonLib 1.0.4 through 1.2 (installed with Mac OS 9.1); installs the SSL version of the WebSTAR Server application with support for 128-bit encryption; offers the option of backing up plug-ins, documentation, and tools and examples on upgrades; correctly performs a custom install of the Lasso Publisher after an Easy Install; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 1

New in vV: Speed increased twenty-fold from previous version; native Mac OS X application; support for multiple G4 processors; per-virtual host logging; flexible port configuration option; Unix CGI Support (including PERL CGIs); resolves Unix-style symbolic links; WebDAV Class 2 file sharing services; reusable Allow/Deny tables and user lists; support for the latest SSL encryption (TLS1/SSL v3.1); per-virtual host security configuration; integrated SSL tools; new, separate admin server application; unattended preservation of Web server application; delegated virtual host administration; multiplatform Java-based remote administration; import/export and sort capabilities for tables; new Search engine rips through large sites; listens on multiple IP addresses; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 5

New in v5.1: Admin client now supports remote file browsing for Virtual Host and FTP user root folders, no longer drops the connection while processing large XML tables, and a new red line during drag-and-drop reordering of table records shows the record's new position; the administration server now has a configurable client connection timeout (default is 30 minutes) and no longer crashes when saving large tables; Web server and WebSTAR default plug-in correctly processes default (index) documents using plug-ins and CGIs, loads plug-ins on UFS volumes without having to rename the plug-ins folder; fixed problem where the server responded improperly to requests for files with the date of December 31, 1969, and is now compatible with PHP 4.1.1; Link Plug-in requires the 4D WebSTAR Rewrite Plug-in and supports connections to an authentication-protected 4D Web Extension; CGI Plug-in now supports FastCGIs, including PHP 4.1.1 running as a FastCGI; FTP Plug-in no longer creates extra WebStar FTP Data folders with special characters in their names and FTP user roots are now browsable in the Admin Client; Image Map Plug-in is now included in the Server Suite, and provides support for server-side image maps; Language Plug-in automatically serves localized versions of Web pages based on browser Language settings; Rewrite Plug-in provides a rule-based system for handling URL redirects, modifications, and proxy requests; PHP Distribution includes CGI and FastCGI distributions of PHP 4.1.1; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

Version Reviewed: 4.0
Reviewed by: Allison/Stroud Last Updated: 2/28/02
Date of Original Review: 8/7/98
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Technical Support Information: Free support via WebSTAR Support Web site includes FAQs, technical notes, search capabilities for support information, tutorials, a complete listing of WebSTAR plug-ins, and software updates. A mailing list for WebSTAR can also be subscribed to and is currently the only way for users to receive personal support for WebSTAR.

Operating Systems Supported: Macintosh - Power Mac, 680x0

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