Serva: a compact, portable and free web server
Equipping your network with a web server can provide some useful extra ways to share files and information. Of course if you’ve tried to set one up before then you’ll know the process isn’t always straightforward – but Serva aims to change all that.
The program offers straightforward support for several protocols (http, ftp, tftp, dhcp, dns, sntp, syslog), yet somehow remains ultra-lightweight (under 2MB). And better still, it’s portable, which means you can run servers just when you need them, without affecting the host system for the rest of the time.
Getting started is easy, and at its simplest you can create an FTP server for your network in a few seconds: just click the FTP Server tab, check “FTP Server”, check “Anonymous”, point the program at the hard drive folder you’d like to serve, click OK and restart the program.
There are a few more options available, if you need them. You can choose to bind FTP to a particular IP address, for instance; select the default FTP port, and configure up to 3 FTP accounts with their own user names and passwords, for instance.
And some of the other protocols also have a degree of configurability. The DHCP Server supports MAC filtering, for example, while the TFTP tab allows you to set up security levels, timeouts, window size and more.
Serva is more about ease of use than the length of its feature list, though, so don’t expect anything too (or even slightly) advanced. We wouldn’t use the program to run a permanent server, but if you just need to set up something for an hour or two then it’s a great choice.
The only small hassle, if you do run Serva regularly, is that the free “non-supporter” build displays a nag screen every time it launches. If you like the program then you can get rid of this by purchasing a Supporter build, yours for $29.99.