HFS – Http File Server allows you to set up file sharing from your home computer, for your friends, co-workers, or the world, with considerable ease–if your Internet connection, router, and firewall are all properly configured.

Using the program is simplicity itself: You run it. There’s not even an installer, just the EXE. Once it is run, you drag files into the window, and, there you go. You’re sharing files. Anyone can now log in to your computer–or just connect directly if you haven’t set up a login and password–and download the shared files.

Unless, of course, your router isn’t configured to properly forward ports. Or you have a dynamic IP address. Or your firewall locks them out. If the preceding few sentences looked like gibberish to you, you might wish to get a techie pal to give you a hand.

Basically, HFS is a Web server running on your computer. Anyone with a browser and your IP address (or domain, if you have one) can see the dynamically generated (and easily modified by you) Web page which lists the files you’ve decided to share. You can, of course, require a user name and password to get in–but it’s your responsibility to set this up.

There are a lot of advanced features. You can set the port the server runs on, you can edit the default HTML template as you wish, you can set connection limits, you can save or load “file systems” (sets of files you wish to share), and much more.

Given the headaches involved in configuring even a basic HTTP server, HFS is remarkably clean and simple, but the documentation is sparse and a certain level of technical skill is assumed. If you understand all the terms I’ve flung about in this review, and you have a need to share files from your local system, this free program (donations accepted) may just be for you.

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