Entry-level/mid-range server for Unix, Windows 9x/NT, and OS/2
Note: Go Webserver has been discontinued and will no longer be updated by IBM. IBM will however still support existing releases of the server.
IBM touts Go Webserver as its entry-level HTTP server and the logical choice for those who want to build mid-sized Web sites but aren't quite sure if they need the groupware capabilities (and overhead) of Lotus Notes Domino. Go Webserver will run on most popular platforms including Windows 95/NT, OS/2, OS/390 and mainstream flavors of Unix (IBM AIX, HP-UX, and Sun Solaris). Not surprisingly, we were hard pressed to find any of our Unix gurus clamoring to install Go Webserver. As a result, we opted to test drive the Windows NT version.
Installation was smooth and simple as advertised. Though not as jazzy as the browser-based administration interface of servers like Netscape Enterprise and Microsoft IIS, Go Webserver's interface holds its own with a straightforward design and intuitive layout. Arguably the most impressive feature is the Java-based logging and reporting tools. We were able to analyze and generate a myriad of custom reports that are comparable, and in some cases, superior to many COTS solutions currently available. Additional key features include HTTP/1.1 compliance, CGI/Fast-CGI, SOCKS support, SSL 3, Java servlet support, and GWAPI. Another feature worth mentioning is Go Webserver's built-in support of the PICS (Platform for Internet Content Selection) standard for rating content.
As expected, we didn't find much to complain about with Go Webserver. Perhaps the biggest drawback is its performance when compared with Windows NT industry leaders IIS and Netscape and the Unix champ Apache. This shortfall, however, should not preclude one from considering Go Webserver when building a small to medium sized site. Basically, Go Webserver performed consistently well but in no way did it outperform the best servers in its class.
Another drawback is Go Webserver's price. The fact that it has one may discourage some from even considering Go Webserver. With the freeware Apache now available for Windows NT as well as for all varieties of Unix and with Microsoft giving away the highly scalable Internet Information Server (IIS) with all its bells and whistles, most users would have a hard time trying to justify the purchase of Go Webserver, especially if the probable scenario is to eventually end up traveling down the Lotus Domino path anyway.
Those going the "try before you buy" route will have to deal with hundreds of pages of extensive documentation in PDF format -- documentation that looks pretty but is not all that practical. An upscale version of the server is also available called Go Webserver Pro. The Pro version includes Lotus BeanMachine (for creating Java applets) and NetObjects Fusion (for Web site design and production) as well as the standard Web server. BeanMachine and Fusion make for nice additions, but neither application is as tightly knit with the server as hoped for, and neither really offers much to get excited about (or pay an additional fee for).
In summary, Domino Go Webserver is a well-built Web server with a strong feature set. It fails, however, to truly distinguish itself from the rest of the pack. Critical factors like reliability and performance are merely satisfactory, as is the case with most aspects of the server. And while the Pro version gives you tools to manage and create content, the integrated apps add little value to the Web server itself.
Pros: 7 Overall feature set, 7 Logging tools, 7 Ease of use, 7 Secure Sockets Layer (SSL 3 support), 7 Pro version integrates Lotus BeanMachine and NetObjects Fusion
Cons: 7 Performance/overall speed, 7 Price (compared to alternatives like Microsoft IIS and Apache), 7 Doesn't really distinguish itself from the competition in any key areas (more of a middle-of-the-road 'average Joe' type of server)
New in v18.104.22.168: SSL support for multiple IP addresses, fix for the recent attack on the RSA Encryption Standard, Just-in-Time (JIT) compiler support, internal servlet support, JDK 1.1.x support, multilingual support (versions available for English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and 15 other languages); Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 5
Version Reviewed: 22.214.171.124
Date of Review: 8/26/98
Reviewed by: Tan/Stroud