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A basic guide on setting up a home-based web server Internet
If you've got any interest in setting up a Mac mini (or other Mac) as a web server in your home, I wrote up my experiences doing just that. I cover how to use:
  • dyndns.com to set up a domain name.
  • The built-in OS X web server to serve pages.
  • PureFTP to set up an FTP server.
  • SquirrelMail to read my Gmail, which is blocked at work.
  • WebMon (Leopard, Tiger) to set up a WebDAV server to sync iCal and Outlook calendars between home and work.
Read the blog entry for more detail on each of these solutions.

[robg adds: While the above guide is a good 'getting started' primer on setting up a home-based web server, note that many ISPs won't allow you to run a web server on a home connection plan. Even if it's not prohibited, many home connections lack the upload bandwidth to effectively serve pages to more than a handful of users at one time.

So as technically cool as it is to run a server from your own home (and I keep one running, but restrict access to my own use via password protection), there are many free and low cost hosting companies that offer better connectivity along with all (and usually more) of the above features. I host our family's site and my personal blog using 1and1.com, for instance, but there are literally thousands of companies to pick from. Sites such as Web Hosting Geeks and Upper Host list some of the best-rated providers, and I'm sure the readers here have lots of suggestions for those looking to start hosting a site.]
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A basic guide on setting up a home-based web server
Authored by: stukdog on Apr 08, '09 08:04:06AM

To continue rob's take, if the draw is a dedicated Mac server, you can still use a mini and have have it colocated in a real data center. This will give you all the control you're looking for on a server of your own, but all the speed and reliability of a data center. Just search "mac mini hosting"



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A basic guide on setting up a home-based web server
Authored by: joerick on Apr 08, '09 09:41:57AM
MAMP is a great way to get PHP and MySql going without any trouble.

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A basic guide on setting up a home-based web server
Authored by: shoobe01 on Apr 08, '09 09:48:51AM

I have had awful luck finding a decent ISP or hosting provider myself. Good if you have.

I do have a few things shared on a home server. Mostly... stuff that exists there. Filemaker databases, for example. And I often want to share large files with others; they are created on that computer so why waste half an hour FTPing to California or Norway when I can take 3 seconds to copy to the shared space? There are scads of good reasons, aside from the satisfaction of hosting yourself.

Security is not that overwhelming. I got hit really hard after I accidentally left NO PASSWORD on my VNC access. For about 15 minutes. My fault. After that, evildoers knew where I was and there were hundreds of requests a minute for a while. Some standard (and mostly defauly) port closing at the router and computer, plus non-stupid passwords, kept it very safe.



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A basic guide on setting up a home-based web server
Authored by: CarlRJ on Apr 08, '09 11:53:52AM
I've recently changed webhosting providers (I'll skip mentioning names to try to avoid an avalanche of "my provider is..." posts), but I _did_ find http://www.webhostingtalk.com/ to be a very useful site for researching providers -- lots of interesting comments from industry insiders, good place to do a search for the name of a prospective provider to see what experiences others have had with them; it's easy to find lots of "top-10 provider" lists, but it's hard to tell which ones are legit vs. marketing... I find a lengthy series of comments on multiple threads, by different people, over a long period of time, to at least _feel_ more trustworthy.

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A basic guide on setting up a home-based web server
Authored by: Snowgen on Apr 08, '09 11:13:16AM

For personal use type sites (the only type I feel qualified making a recommendation on) I don't think you can beat Nearly Free Speech.net. Forget dollars per month, I pay literally CENTS per month. Only drawbacks are that they assume you know what you're doing and aren't going to offer you free support and they don't offer e-mail (I use Google to host my domain's e-mail for free).

That's my experience. As with everything, YMMV.



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A basic guide on setting up a home-based web server
Authored by: cooter on Apr 08, '09 02:42:52PM

SquirrelMail instead of Gmail - that's brutal. You should discover ssh tunnelling.



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A basic guide on setting up a home-based web server
Authored by: hembeck on Apr 12, '09 09:37:09AM

I feel most are missing the basic premise of the hint: To set up a home-based web server, for home-based needs, not to be able to run a million plus hits per month community site.

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