View Full Version : New server setup

Dec 18, 2010, 07:32 PM

Me and a couple of partners are going to start up a business and I was looking at buying a Mac Mini Server for our company. What I would want to use it for is a Mail server and Web hosting server and also file hosting and other services including iphone intergration. What I was wondering is how would i set up everything if i purchased a domain name how would i get the email to have user@mydomain.com and the website be the domain that i purchased.

Dec 19, 2010, 10:54 AM
Given the question that you've asked there are two paths:

1. Get some books and study.

2. Hire an Apple consultant to set it up.

I'd suggest #2. While OS X Server isn't particularly hard, it's not plug-and-play like OS X Desktop. You need to have a good understanding of networking and mail, both of which aren't trivial subjects.

Also you'll need to know the mail volume you expect to ensure that there are enough i/o operations on the drives to handle it.

Les Kern
Dec 19, 2010, 11:27 AM
Think long and hard about some of those things you want to do, and re-consider. Mail for instance. Set up your domain with a hosting service and let them do it. Also let them host your site. Save the Mini for local file sharing. I have been in the business for a long time, and while initially I was all over this stuff I have found that all those services have to be watched and fretted over by somebody, and I'd rather not it be me. It's not all that expensive, and it WILL relieve you of a lot of extra work and headaches, leaving you time to run a business.
I had 42 servers at one time. I am down to 35 and will be eliminating a few more this spring.
Next up, planning from moving from my own Kerio mail server to GMail.
I feel better about the cloud.
Just think about it.

Dec 19, 2010, 11:33 AM
And, if your heart is set on a Mini. Give these guys a call. http://www.macminicolo.net/ they have tons of them.

FWIW. Check into Google Apps. With their ActiveSync bridge it works well with iDevices and takes much of the e-mail, scheduling, ... off of your plate for a decent price (free if you stick with the standard edition).


Dec 19, 2010, 04:58 PM
The thing to know about hosting services and outsourced e-mail is that unless you get a service with real SLAs and penalties for data loss (and the high price that goes with a real SLA), they are all run on a "best effort" basis. "Best effort" means that if they lose your mail, the only response required is "Sorry". This could be catastrophic to your business.

Dec 21, 2010, 11:48 AM
This could be catastrophic to your business.

Agreed, but DIY is "best effort" as well, and due to lack of redundancy is more likely to suffer from downtime.


Dec 23, 2010, 08:40 AM
Hello everybody.

So nobody effectively gave a concrete answer to the goals "mscanavino" is trying to achieve... BTW: mscanavino, where are you from? Your nickname remembers me of an italian guy in Milan...

Nevertheless, I am facing almost the same problem: I want to set up my mac mini server to be the MX of my internet domain "domain.com".


how should I set the name of the mac mini server? Should it be "server.domain.com" or rather "server.localdomain"?

Kind regards and TIA for every related answer.

Dec 23, 2010, 09:14 AM
Agreed, but DIY is "best effort" as well, and due to lack of redundancy is more likely to suffer from downtime.


Yes and DIY risk is higher depending on the experience and knowledge of the person implementing the solution.

By contracting with a server for email, web hosting etc. You do generally get redundancy, performance, backups and knowledgeable people to help with service tickets.

What happens if the smtp server fails on a DIY implementation and the OP has a minimum level of knowledge. The email outage and/or lose of emails could be catastrophic. At least with most services, they do run backups and you the customer typically has the ability to initiate a backup as well.

Dec 23, 2010, 09:18 AM
This falls under the same category as the old joke:

Patient: "Doctor, it hurts when I do this."
Doctor: "Then don't do that".

Your Mac server is a unix box. If you want any unix box to process mail for any domain you need to set the DNS records appropriately and set up the mail server of your choice (sendmail, exim, postfix, qmail, ....). Each has their pluses and minuses. You need to see which you want to use and why, and you definitely need to think about what happens to your mail when your Mini is incapable of receiving it. (That's what a lot of the responses have been about).

Yes and DIY risk is higher depending on the experience and knowledge of the person implementing the solution.

Exactly, and if you're not experienced enough to at least start down this process yourself and come in with a specific problem, you probably should not be running your own mail server. (i.e. "I can't get sendmail to process my forwarding rule as I want it", or "exim refuses to receive mail for postmaster@domain.com")

My own personal SMTP experience: I had my own Pegasus based server at home for a long time so I could collect mail from various accounts and read it by IMAP from all my machines at home. Eliminated that and use gmail for the same purpose. I migrated my former company's email from MS Mail to Exchange, and then implemented a pair of redundant Linux boxes running exim+spamassassin around that since the Exchange box was being brought to its knees by the huge volume of spam we were receiving. Reduced the frequency of Exchange problems, but when something broke on the Linux boxes I had to drop everything and make it go. I managed those exim boxes for abut 5 years, until I finally "had it" and worked with the IT guys and our ISP to deploy Postini.