A Windows-based FTP server with an IRC tie-in and detailed administrative control

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted February 16, 2000


GuildFTPd is a new and direct competitor to the popular Windows FTP servers: War FTP Daemon and FTP Serv-U.

Produced as a collaborative effort through a "guild" of programmers, GuildFTPd is especially oriented toward FTP servers used in the IRC trading world. That said, GuildFTPd also stands on its own as a very capable, powerful, and easy-to-configure, stand-alone FTP server for any Windows 98 or NT machine.

GuildFTPd's primary strength is its detailed user-level control over resources. The server features a hierarchical access model, with top-level "groups" under which users can insert a number of virtual paths pointed to real file systems. User access can be granted at the group or virtual path level, providing a fine degree of granularity. Each user can be granted a particular set of privileges, such as read, write, or delete, and administrators can set virtual ports that selected users may access. For example, one running instance of GuildFTPd can serve on port 21 to anonymous users, but on port 4096 can map to an account named "private." Each account may have access to different virtual paths on the server, effectively behaving as two or more-independent FTP servers. Furthermore, setting up and configuring these access privileges is easily done using a graphical interface similar to Windows Explorer.

Beyond mere access control, GuildFTPd provides a variety of means to limit user behavior once connected to the FTP server. Users can be kicked off or banned from the server based on bandwidth criteria, time-connected limitations, IP address or masks (thus restricting access to or from certain blocks of IP addresses), or "hammering." (Hammering is the practice of repeatedly attempting a connection to the server too frequently in too short a period of time.) The capability to allow or deny connections based on IP masks, in particular, makes GuildFTPd well-suited to serving inside private network or intranet environments.

User connections are displayed in easy-to-read, real-time charts, and optionally logged, so it is easy to find out who has downloaded what, and for how long. Navigating the GUI is intuitive for anyone familiar with the functions of an FTP server. The program also sports the obligatory features of a solid server, including the capability to resume interrupted file transfers and extensive customized messages for various server events, such as connects and disconnects. A variety of environmental variables allow administrators to include time, date, quota, free space and similar bits of information in server banners.

The authors of GuildFTPd clearly spend much of their time in the real-time chat environment of IRC. Thus, they have built an IRC client into GuildFTPd, along with special hooks into the IRC clients mIRC and Winx. These hooks enable users to write scripts that integrate the status of the FTP server into the live chat of an IRC channel. For example, GuildFTPd can make announcements about its IP address and port to a channel, and it can rotate port and passwords on an automatic basis. These type of interactions will be very familiar to IRC hounds, but probably of little consequence to those looking at GuildFTPd as simply a traditional FTP server.

Documentation is GuildFTPd's significant weakness. The documentation is available only on the Web site, and is casually written and unclear. Therefore, we beieve this FTP server is best used by those familiar with how an FTP server works. In cases like this, the GUI itself is mostly self-explanatory. A second concern is the server's leaning toward the IRC environment and its customization toward that end. This development path may lend GuildFTPd a certain unsavory aspect that could lead potential users to consider it a tool for underground jockeys — an unfortunate assumption since, taken on its own merits, GuildFTPd is one of the more powerful, free, easy-to-configure FTP servers to come to the Windows environment.

Pros: • Detailed user-level control • Easy to configure • Powerful
Cons: • Poor documentation • Emphasis on its leanings toward the IRC environment

New in v0.97: Message can be sent to user when kicked; added stats on current and past connections; moved spy window to the front; Rearranged the GUI for new features; fixed a bug in VFS where some path commands fail (assuming virtual paths exist in the current directory); improved speed calculation for min/max limits; drive free and directory space calculations fixed/improved; fixed IRC plugin PING reply and event sound
Upgrade Meter: 4

New in v0.991: New help file; fixed bad security bug (ls,get); added passive custom IP in the general options; updated the GUI for all dialog boxes; changed start-up splash screen; changed connection graph color; changed most icons; fixed Add Path menu bug; fixed some DDE bugs; fixed unwanted transparent dialog bug on the top of GuildFTPD; enabled the Virtual Path Browse button in the Path vie; added an option to disable the splash screen; added animated windows with option to disable; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 4

New in v0.992: Added keyboard shortcuts to all dialogs; added a general option to have a custom server name; completely fixed the security leak; fixed add path to user bug; updated help content and topics; new AutoBAN feature; added a "Check for Update" option in the File menu; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 2

New in v0.993: Added right-click menu to System/Group/User window (left side); added double-click and right-click to edit a Path; added logo to bottom left corner of server window; added Event Manager (available in Admin menu); added a new support method via the optional Chat Client plug-in; added new option to send deleted files to the Recycle Bin instead of permanently deleting them; added option to not show the exit message when closing GuildFTPD; added a "send message to user" option when right-clicking a connected (online) user; can left-click, "drag-n-drop" users from one group to another and right-click, "drag-n-drop" users with option to copy or move the user to another group; Passive Port Range ability limits the number of ports that must be "opened" through a firewall or router; can now set a Clear CD-ROM cache timer; can set a path for the log file; added a link to the web site and link to e-mail tech support (both link are in the Help menu); added shortcut buttons to some menu selections in the toolbar; added Help icon and Tip of the Day in the Help menu; increased stability; updated donators list (now in real-time); changed a few icons in toolbar and for SYSTEM window (left side); Made selections visible when GuildFTPD is not in focus; fixed Directory delete bug; fixed server message variables when using multiple variables; Fixed other minor bugs; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v0.994: Virtual Path now defaults to last directory of Local Path for faster Path Setup; Virtual Path "auto-corrects" itself if left blank; right-click toolbar edit options; customizable toolbar; new option in the Event Manager for Windows 2000/ME/XP users; new warning message when setting up paths that inform about the risks of using C:\, D:\, E:; fixed a major path bug; directory listings with Macintosh FTP Clients, SmartFTP, Internet Explorer, and FTP Explorer were fixed to eliminate most errors and %5C additions to the path structure; fixed Event Manager to prevent problems when using a @ as an event parameter; double-clicking a Path and immediately closing it no longer crashes GuildFTPd; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v0.995: New button allows users to launch the syslog.txt in notepad; XP theme support; corrected path security bug to prevent users from browsing outside of the specified root/path; fixed problems with SITE commands; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 2

Version Reviewed: 0.96
Date of Review: 2/16/00
Reviewed By: Aaron Weiss


Operating Systems / Latest Versions:

Windows 95/98, and Windows NT


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