After using FTP servers such as Webstar, Webten, and CrushFTP, I was immediately
pleased with Rumpus after installation. Installation was a breeze, and the server
came up quickly. For packages such as Webstar and Webten, where FTP serving is one
of several modules, there is tremendous software bloat and the software takes a long
time to start up. Also, unlike cross-platform Java solutions such as CrushFTP, Rumpus
is very Mac savvy, supporting all the expected Mac interface features.
Setting up the FTP server was just as easy as the installation process. After starting
the program, the server was running immediately. There were only a few basic settings
that needed to be changed to make Rumpus serve the desired files. Choosing "Configuration..."
under the Setup menu brought up a tabular configuration window with the following
tabs: Basic, Logging, Encoding, Messages, Anonymous, and Admin.
Under the Basic tab, use the FTP Folder button to tell Rumpus where the root folder
for the server is located.
The Configuration window - Basic settings
Other basic settings included changing the port number (if desired), setting the
maximum connections and inactivity timeout, as well as various other timeout settings.
There were additional options for hiding message files, include aliased folder sizes,
reset Rebound timer and prompt before quitting.
The Logging tab allows you to toggle different log types (Anonymous Access, Secure
Access, etc.) on or off, as well as setting the location of those logs.
The Encoding tab allows you to set default file creator and type for Text and Binary
files. I promptly set the Text Type to "TEXT" and the Text Creator to "R*ch"
to make BBEdit the default viewer for my text files. The Encoding tab also includes
options for automatic binhex encoding, MacBinary default (useful if all of your users
are Mac users), and different "show" options for filenames.
The Messages tab allows you to set the primary welcome and goodbye message, as well
as specifying different messages for different folders (i.e., by clicking this option
on and specifying a file name of ".message", any folder that has a .message
file in it will display the text from that file when the folder is retrieved). The
messages are a bit of an obsolete feature these days, as most FTP clients ignore
them, but it was still nice to see the option (I use a VMS FTP client which is a
command line client that displays all of these messages).
The Anonymous tab allows you to set how many simultaneous anonymous connections are
allowed during non-peak and peak periods. You can then define the peak periods using
a grid (by day of week, by time of day).
The final tab under Configuration is the Admin tab. This tab allows you to set different
administration settings, such as when to roll the logs files (I chose Monthly), and
where the Log file is located. It also allows you to setup remote administration,
either by CGI or by HTTP. I turned on the HTTP setting, and set the port to 8021
(since I was already using port 80 for standard web serving). By establishing an
admin user name and password, I was able to manage the server from another computer
using my web browser. I tested this functionality out, and it worked great. The Admin
tab also provided options to disable upload aliases, enable password changes, send
empty directory listings, allow file aliases, and disable repeat failures. In my
opinion, the option to allow file aliases was most crucial.
The Configuration window - Admin settings
There are two versions
of the Rumpus server application: one is a Carbon version for 8.1 and up, and the
other is a Classic version for older versions of the Mac OS (works on 7.5 thru 9.1).
I ran the Carbon version on OS 9.0.4. The Classic version (which I did not test)
is documented as having an additional tab in the Configuration window called "Security".
This basically let you choose between supporting Anonymous Login only, Users &
Groups Security (Apple File Sharing), and Built-in Security. Under Carbon, Rumpus
uses the Built-in Security by default. This is actually preferable because the built-in
security runs faster, is easier to configure and manage, and allows you to turn off
File Sharing, improving your server's overall performance. The built-in model also
allows you to configure users remotely using a Web browser, a very nifty feature.
Choosing "Define Users..." under the Settings menu allows you to manage
the accounts with built-in security. You have one user called "ANONYMOUS",
and you can give this user some privileges (such as logging in and downloading files),
or no privileges at all (essentially disabling anonymous access). You can then create
several other user accounts, specifying usernames and passwords, and setting the
privileges and root directory for each user. You can manage accounts using Rumpus
directly, or remotely on the web, and both methods are a breeze.
There are two monitor windows that you can activate in Rumpus for displaying different
activity. There is a basic connection monitor that shows a list of users currently
connected and their activity, and also provides a sliding performance control that
allows you to scale the performance of the server to your specific needs. You can
slide it all the way to the left to support faster FTP transfers (which would be
desirable if nothing else was running on the server), or you can slide it towards
the right for a better behaved server (allowing more processing time for other applications
running on the server).
Rumpus Connection Monitor
Rumpus also provides
an Activity Monitor which can be used to monitor various levels of activity on the
server. I found the debug level interesting as it basically displayed just about
every little thing the server did when any activity occurs on the server (e.g., Opening
Connection, OTSnd, OTSndOrder, etc.). I wanted a level to provide just a list of
connections and download requests, but I did not find any such level to provide just
that. For that information, I had to open the server access log. I also found a problem
with the popup menus for Display Level and Report Level. When the menu went past
the bottom of the Activity Monitor window, it was cutoff (rather than extend past
the bottom of the window like you would expect with a standard Mac popup menu).
Finally, there is an Advanced Options window that allows you to edit settings that
may cause problems if not set correctly (although it does provide a reset to factory
default option to fix any inappropriate changes). These options include Passive Mode
Connect Address, Reported FTP Server Name, and Security Database Encryption Key.
The Passive Mode Connect Address should be set if you do not have a dedicated IP
address or if you are behind a router using non-routable IP addresses. Since I am
behind a router, I set this value to the IP address of my router. The other options
I did not have any need to change.
While the options for configuring the server are nice, the big question is how well
does the server perform? In several tests, and comparing Rumpus server to CrustFTP,
WebTen, Webstar, and Netpresenz, Rumpus wins hands down in terms of performance.
Netpresenz served files the slowest (due to File Sharing dependence), WebTen and
Webstar were satisfactory, and CrustFTP was good, but Rumpus was excellent. I adjusted
the Performance setting to "Better Behaved", which allowed other applications
on the server to run unaffected, and FTP serving was still better than any of the
I also found that Rumpus handled firewall situations better than the other servers.
External connections were made with much more success, especially for those behind
their own firewalls. Internal connections (connections made from other computers
on my local network) were also friendlier. For instance, when CrustFTP was my server,
I was unable to connect to the server from a local computer via the DNS name; I was
only able to connect by putting in the server's local IP address. This, I believe,
is where the "Passive Mode Connect Address" setting came in handy. Prior
to entering a value there, Rumpus behaved just as CrustFTP did. However, after entering
in the router IP address, I was able to use the server DNS name to connect from a
local computer (just as I would from a computer external to my LAN).
Rumpus comes with it's own Users Guide. This came in quite handy for setting up the
server as well as learning some FTP basics. There is also a version of the Rumpus
available on the web, as well as a very useful Rumpus FAQ. I found the documentation,
especially the printed manual, extremely useful.
In summary, the Rumpus FTP server is a feature complete, high performance FTP server
package. In comparison to other offerings, it is the best FTP server I could find
for the Macintosh. Rumpus comes with a high price tag, so unfortunately those providing
free server access to the public will probably be shopping for a lower priced solution.
For any professional Macintosh server, however, Rumpus is the best solution for FTP.
- Feature rich
- Excellent performance
- Passive Mode Connect
Address for LANs
- Good documentation
- Steep price (discounts
are available for multiple licenses)
- Activity Monitor
a bit buggy, and not greatly useful
4 1/2 out of 5 Mice