Please note that this information is no longer up to date. The content of this site has moved to a new domain DIYMacServer.com which is kept up to date. Apologies for the inconvienince.
What you need before you can start building, configuring and installing you server.
This is just a list of all the things you should have, need to find out or should consider when you want to build this server.
- Mac mini (any model)
- Broadband connection
- Preferably a fixed ip-address
- Access to all the necessary port numbers
- Domain name
The Mac mini
The mini may be any model, it doesn’t really matter which one you pick. For a personal web-server which will host some sites and act as a mail-server for several people performance isn’t really an issue. If you want to spend some extra money on the mini spend it on a memory upgrade and go for 1Gb. If you want to spend more money you could start thinking of buying a faster/bigger harddisk.
If you become very popular and get thousands of pageviews per hour. Then you should upgrade to a X-Serve model or start thinking about getting a professional hosting provider. You can afford to with those kind of pageview numbers.
Your Mac mini comes with all the software you need, all the other software is available for free download from the developers in question. The only thing you need to do in preparation is to install the development tools. They are on the installation DVD or you can download them from the apple site.
(You can of course use a different model Mac if you want to, as long as it is running OS X 10.3 or later.)
Having a broadband connection is a must without it you don’t have access to the internet and the internet isn’t able to contact your server. Depending on the expected amount traffic you can any connection which suits you. But take note of the upload speed. When you are just surfing the net and downloading your main concern is download speed and it can’t be high enough. When putting a server on the net the upload speed becomes an important factor. The upload speed determines the speed at which others can connect to your site. The higher your upload speed the faster a web page from your site loads in another persons browser. The highest upload speed available at the moment with a normal ADSL connection is 1 Mbit. This server you are getting this pages from is connect to the internet with a 2 Mbit down, 1 Mbit upload ADSL line from Demon.nl
Preferably a fixed ip-address
Having a fixed ip-address has many advantages like getting a proper domain name. That said it is not impossible to get a domain name with a dynamic ip-address. But then you have to use some extra programs to handle the changing ip-address. Please note that usually the ip-address only changes after a reboot or a connectivity failure. The program you should have a look at is: DNSUpdate, which can send your changing ip-address to Dyndns.com, EasyDNS and ZoneEdit.com.
Access to all the necessary port numbers
Some broadband providers block incoming ports for to prevent abuse or just to prevent you to deploy your own services. Before you subscribe to a particular service read the rules and regulations of the service provider. See what is supported and if you are allowed to run your own server on their network. Ask people in your surroundings who run their own server for which provider they use, or ask people who use the provider you are looking at what their findings are about the service. If that doesn’t work, call the service provider if they support you having your e-mail and web-server. Try to get a written or e-mail confirmation on this so that you can reclaim any cost you have made if they aren’t true to their word.
A domain name is considered your online identity. There are several reasons to get one:
- A web address like www.mydomain.com is easier to remember and to share than an ip-address
- Easier to register with search engines and online directories
- You can have domain e-mail addresses, like email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org
Register your domain name at any registrar you like but keep the following in mind. Make sure that where you register your domain name you can also manage your own DNS entries. This makes changing anything in the future a lot easier (like the MX records for your mail server). Also note that some registrars claim ownership of the domain name you register which makes it difficult to move your domain name to a different registrar if you get problems with the current one or you find a cheaper/better one.
Next page ->, setting up the web server