ServersIs a Separate Web Server for Windows Really Necessary?

Is a Separate Web Server for Windows Really Necessary?




Deerfield’s WebSite (formerly WebSite Pro) is a Web server for Windows, which may be redundant, given that Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) is included with Windows Server products such as NT, Windows 2000 Server and XP Server.

Given that IIS is included with virtually all flavors of Windows Servers, is there a need for a Windows-only server such as WebSite from Deerfield.com? Our answer: It depends on what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend for additional, and easy-to-use, functionality.

However, WebSite works not only on other versions of Windows, including Windows 98, ME, and Windows 2000 Workstation, but also includes a good deal of functionality not available in IIS. It supports multiple domains from a single IP address, is small and easy to install, and supports a wide variety of server-side APIs such as CGI, Perl, Python, ISAPI, WSAPI, SSI, Java, ColdFusion, and ASP.

The program is available only as a download from the Deerfield site and is a mere 3 MB. Installation is quick, very simple and straightforward, as is the administrative interface. We installed WebSite on a Windows NT 4.0 Server, Windows 98, and Windows 2000 Professional. All three installations went without a hitch. There was no noticeable difference in response times among the three.

WebSite provides a user database with user and group functionality, and allows the system administrator to partition users and groups into realms, either for separate Web sites maintained on a single server or for different departments on a corporate site. It can use NT users and groups if the system supports them and the sys admin so desires.

Mapping allows considerable flexibility in the organization of the actual file structure and the logical structure of the Web site — directories, files, applications, and scripts can all be mapped to URLs, and the mappings can specify different applications or interpreters as necessary.

Access control is both sophisticated and easy to set up, with support for SSL and TLS public key certificates. Access can also be restricted to specific IP addresses. Logging capabilities are sophisticated and thorough, with performance monitoring and traffic analysis tools available.

WebSite is well-suited for organizations that run Windows but would like to avoid the expense or complexity of running IIS on a server version of Windows, as well as those that run Windows but would like to use something other than Active Server Pages.

Pros: Simple installation, Easy administration, Support for a wide variety of scripting standards, Supports virtually all Windows platforms, including workstations, Windows ME plus WebSite is much cheaper than Windows 2000 Server

Cons: If you’re already running a Windows Server edition, IIS is included, and WebSite becomes an added cost

Version Reviewed: 3.1.13.0

Last Updated: 6/6/02

Date of Review: 6/6/02

Reviewed by: Logan Harbaugh

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