Geared more for the small office and home office relying on dedicated dial-up lines to the Internet, WinProxy 2.1 and WinProxy Lite are great examples of why people shouldn’t rely on the behemoths — in this case, Microsoft and Netscape Communications — to provide all software to all people. For many smaller sites, the power of Netscape Proxy Server and Microsoft Proxy Server aren’t necessary or affordable. But for the small- and home-office markets, WinProxy is a great choice for two reasons: it’s very manageable for folks who might not want to spend all of their time maintaining Web sites, and it’s relatively maintenance-free
once up and running.
WinProxy runs as an NT service or as a Windows 95/98 taskbar program (forget about scalability — WinProxy is an NT/95-only product) and works both with dynamic and static IP addresses. It’s actually both a proxy server handling outgoing requests and a firewall handling incoming requests (if you have a Web server on your network or individual machine).
WinProxy 2.1 and WinProxy Lite are great examples of why people shouldn’t rely on the behemoths — in this case, Microsoft and Netscape Communications — to provide all software to all people.
There are two editions of WinProxy: the $59.95 WinProxy Lite which supports three simultaneous Internet connections via a single TCP/IP connection, and the $299 WinProxy Unlimited User edition which supports an unlimited number of users (hence the name, of course!). Both feature some advanced tools beyond your basic proxy-server capabilities: firewall security, HTML and DNS caching, remote browser-based administration, usage analysis, and site monitoring and logging. (Alas, you’ll need to use a third-party reporting tool to view the comma-delimited system logs.) The firewall capabilities, while not on the level of an advanced commercial package, should prove good enough to turn away most unwanted attempts to compromise the system.
Installing WinProxy is a breeze. All you need is information about your system setup — the static address reserved for the proxy server (if one is used), a DNS-server IP address, a mail-server IP address, an news-server IP address, and the RAS Phonebook entry for connecting to your ISP. This information is fed into an easy-to-follow Setup Wizard which allows you to select the protocols to manage; at a minimum, you’ll want to include HTTP, FTP, mail (both IMAP4 and POP3), news, and SOCKS 4 and 5. You’ll probably also want to include support for RealAudio, given its increasing usage on the Net. Also supported are transactions using the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), including SSL support on nonstandard ports.
WinProxy does all the things that you would expect out of your proxy server. You can associate permissions with each user, limiting users to specific IP addresses and names and/or specific protocols. (For instance, you can reserve the right to receiving incoming RealAudio data streams while denying the privilege to other users.) There’s also a general file of forbidden IP addresses and domains that can be applied to everyone.
WinProxy is also an easy-to-use tool for maintaining a dial-up connection to your ISP. It will monitor the connection to the ISP and automatically redial the ISP should the connection be dropped.
In the end, WinProxy is a proxy server best suited for smaller and less intensive sites that need some sort of proxy server and firewall in order to improve performance and provide security. Larger sites, however, will likely want to go with Netscape Proxy Server or Microsoft Proxy Server instead.
Pros: Easy to set up and maintain, Provides firewall security capabilities, Inexpensive, Remote browser-based administration, Site logging
Cons: Runs only on Windows NT/95 platforms, No native logfile-analysis tools
New: Improved performance, Additional support for multiple mail servers, “Passive Mode” support for FTP, Improved Caching, SSL support on non-standard ports; Release Notes
Version Reviewed: 2.1g