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iPlanet Web proxy Server 3.6 Administrator's Guide - NT Version

Chapter 1   Introduction

Welcome to iPlanet Web Proxy Server and the Internet. iPlanet Communications Corporation provides open software that lets people and companies exchange information and conduct commerce over the Internet and other global networks. iPlanet Web Proxy Server is a high-performance server software product. It is designed for replicating and filtering access to web-based content.

What iPlanet Web Proxy Server Provides

The rapid growth of clients (web browsers such as Netscape Navigator) and servers for the World Wide Web and corporate intranets has opened new opportunities for sharing information, collaborating, and developing network-oriented applications. At the same time, for network administrators this growth has raised new issues about network congestion and security, about how to ensure fast and reliable service for mission-critical applications, and about how to control access to restricted network resources. iPlanet Web Proxy Server is designed to address these problems.

For companies that do business on the Internet or the web, a proxy server can act as a transparent intermediary between individual clients and the servers that contain the information the clients want. A proxy server allows an organization or company to provide controlled Internet access for internal users who would otherwise be blocked by a security firewall; a proxy server working in reverse can also let the organization regulate access from external clients, as a refinement to firewall security protection.

iPlanet Web Proxy Server has an added advantage—it provides replication-on-demand by intelligently caching frequently accessed documents, thereby conserving network bandwidth and dramatically increasing response time. This important feature makes iPlanet Web Proxy Server valuable even for companies that have full web access.

iPlanet Web Proxy Server is the first commercial proxy server to provide caching. The server's content filtering capabilities let you fine-tune access control (for example, by the individual user or server trying to gain access), and provide the ability to track who accesses which server, and whether or not they are successful.

iPlanet Web Proxy Server enhances network security and reliability and provides advanced server management features that let you create intelligent proxy networks that are totally transparent to users.

iPlanet Web Proxy Server is fully compatible with Netscape Navigator, the other servers in Netscape SuiteSpot, and other HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) clients and servers.

iPlanet Web Proxy Server offers these features:

  • It provides proxying; that is, safe passage through the firewall for secure and unsecure protocols. The Windows NT version of the proxy server proxies HTTP, FTP, and HTTPS. Netscape Proxy Server also provides a SOCKS v5 daemon for the generic tunneling of many other protocols and applications, including streaming media.

  • It provides replication; it caches documents by writing them to a local file system. If a document is requested more than once, subsequent requests are faster because the proxy doesn't have to contact the remote server repeatedly. Replication can dramatically reduce network traffic and associated costs. Netscape Proxy Server also provides distributed caching so that multiple proxy servers can operate as a single logical cache for load-balancing and failover, and dynamic proxy routing so that the proxy server can query other caches to determine if a document is available.

  • If used as a reverse proxy, it can help your host machine handle a high volume of requests while reducing their effect on the host machine's performance. A reverse proxy lets the content server reside safely inside the firewall while the reverse proxy acts as a server outside the firewall. It can filter client transactions by controlling access to remote servers and protocols and by limiting access to specific documents or sites based on user names, URLs (Universal Resource Locators), and client host names (or IP [Internet Protocol] addresses).

  • It provides flexible logging of client transactions, including client host names or IP addresses, access dates and times, accessed URLs, byte counts of all transferred data, routing information, and the success of transactions.

  • It provides key server management features such as remote management, SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol), advanced logging and reporting, cluster management of user and group information through
    LDAP v3, automatic proxy configuration and proxy scripting, and the server plug-in API (Application Programming Interface).

  • It enables you to set up content filtering by URL, and it provides access control by user, IP address, host name or domain, and web content.

  • It provides virus screening to prevent any viruses from infecting your internal network.

What's in This Book?

This book contains information about how the proxy server works and explains how to start, configure, and maintain it. This book will help you to maintain the server, understand its internal workings, and customize its functions. The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 discusses the administration of the proxy server and the second part explains how to program the server.

For information on how to install the proxy server, see the iPlanet Web Proxy Server Installation Guide for your platform.

For information on the administration server that comes with your proxy server, see Managing Netscape Servers.

Conventions Used in This Book

These conventions are used in this book:

Monospaced font. Monospaced type is used for text that you should type. It is also used for examples of code and for directories and filenames.

Italic. Italic text is used to introduce new terms and to represent variable information.

|. The vertical bar is used as a separator for user interface elements. For example, "choose Server Status|Log Preferences" means you click the Server Status button in the Server Manager and then click the Log Preferences link.

Contacting iPlanet Technical Support

For product-specific Technical Support assistance, please see the Product Support Page for iPlanet Web Proxy Server at:

For general Technical Support assistance, please see the iPlanet Technical Support Page at:

Other useful iPlanet information can be found at the following Internet locations:

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Copyright © 2001 Sun Microsystems, Inc. Some preexisting portions Copyright © 2001 Netscape Communications Corp. All rights reserved.

Last Updated March 28, 2001