Chapter 1. Introduction

Welcome to the world of WebFORCE. You're about to embark on a fascinating journey. You've chosen the best network and Internet proxy server available, and you'll discover it's quite easy to configure, install, and manage.

What is the Netscape Proxy Server?

The Netscape Proxy Server provides access to the Internet and World Wide Web through a firewall machine. The Netscape Proxy Server is the first commercial caching proxy server. It is fully compatible with the Netscape Commerce and Communications Servers, the NCSA httpd server, and other HTTP clients and servers. It offers a powerful alternative to the CERN proxy server.

Figure 1-1. Netscape Proxy Server and Firewall


Following is a partial list of features the Netscape Proxy Server offers:

  • The Netscape Proxy Server provides safe passage through the firewall, including proxying the secure protocols (SSL, HTTPS, NNTPS).

  • The proxy caches documents by copying them to a local filesystem. This makes subsequent client transactions much faster because the proxy doesn't always contact the remote server. This can also dramatically reduce network traffic and the costs associated with it.

  • The Netscape Proxy Server was designed with performance and extensibility in mind, so it handles very high numbers of incoming requests with a low impact on the host machine.

  • The proxy can filter client transactions by controlling access to remote servers and protocols, and by limiting access to specific documents based on URLs and client hostnames and user names.

  • The proxy provides high-level logging of client transactions, including client hostnames or IP addresses, access dates and times, accessed URLs, byte counts of all the transferred data, and success codes per transaction.

What's In This Book?

This manual explains how to configure the Netscape Proxy Server. After you configure your proxy server, you can use this manual to help you maintain your server and learn how the proxy works internally.

System Requirements

The Netscape Proxy Server needs specific software and hardware. Before you can install the Netscape Proxy Server, your computer must meet or exceed the following requirements:

  • IRIX 5.2 operating system.

  • Minimum 32 MB RAM, 64 MB or more is recommended for systems that will handle a lot of traffic.

  • 5 MB hard disk space for the server, plus 2-3 MB for log files.

  • 1-3 GB recommended hard disk space for the cache directory (3-5 GB for extremely high-impact sites).

  • A forms-capable browser (such as Netscape Navigator).

Some Conventions Used in This Guide

This document uses the following conventions:

Special information that you might not otherwise see or pay any attention to is preceded by Note:.

Characters that you type on your keyboard appear in bold type and look like this.

  1. Steps to be followed in sequence have numbers like the one at the beginning of this sentence.

File and pathnames, and Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) in text appear in italics, for example /etc/hosts and http://www.sgi.com. Variables that are used in syntax expression, descriptions of syntax expressions, and online button names alos appear in italics.

Items that appear between brackets like [yourdomain] should be replaced with a value or expression specific to what you're doing or specific to your site.