How to setup a mail and web server?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by pubwvj, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. pubwvj macrumors 68000


    Oct 1, 2004
    Mountains of Vermont
    Over the past 15 years I have had my web sites hosted on three different web hosts. I find I waste about three weeks a year of my time fixing problems caused by the web hosting companies. It is not that these are el-cheapo firms, but when SpamAssassin, WHM, CPanel or other software gets updated and has bugs the bugs end up geting passed on to me. The latest host has been the best but he just screwed up again which is wasting days of my time.

    This has lead me to once again thinking about hosting our own mail servers and web servers. Probably DNS too. I'm not looking for very fancy stuff. I don't have particularly high traffic on our web sites. Most of all I want stability and control over the system. It is very frustrating to know what is wrong and how the problem could have been prevented and deal with the slow response rate of tech support from the web hosting firm.

    I have:
    ADSL connection
    MacOS X 10.3.9 and 10.4.2
    iBook G3 300MHz Clamshell
    PowerBook G3 400MHz Lombard
    PowerBook G3 500MHz Pismo
    PowerMac G4 500MHz Sawtooth <-- last choice as it uses more electric

    I need to support:
    Web server (HTTP)
    sHTTP might be nice but I don't use it now so it isn't a deal breaker.
    FTP (Currently what is broken at my existing web host. Grr...)
    Mail server (SMTP/POP3)

    I have ten domain names that cover our home business, farm, family web site, etc so I need to do a multi-domain type setup. Currently I do this with a Reseller's account, WHM and CPanel.

    I have used UNIX, Apache, PHP, MySQL, WHM and CPanel. I would prefer to stick with Apache which I understand is built into MacOSX.

    Of course, I would like to avoid spending much in the way of money.

    Stability is the most important issue. No point in going from the existing web host if what I setup is not going to be better. Web hosts advertise 99.99% uptime but that is deceptive. Sure, their system is up but after they mess up an upgrade it takes a week to fix all the problems. In real terms I find they are more like 49 weeks useable ÷ 52 weeks = 94.2% reliable.

    Who out there has done this and how is it working for you?
    Articles and sites to read on the web?
    Books to get and read?
    Other suggestions?
  2. belvdr macrumors 601

    Aug 15, 2005
    Obviously, you can run all of these things on any OS out there. Your email might be your biggest problem in that some providers are beginning to block residential IP ranges. For a mail server, I use Postfix due to its very easy configuration abilities. For IMAP/POP, I would recommend courier.

    However, that aside, I use to run my site on a dynamic IP and they are fairly cheap. You won't be able to run your own DNS server if you have a dynamic IP. While it may work for a little while, when your IP changes, you are hosed and must update your domain information and wait for the changes to propagate. However, you can still run your own DNS servers on the internal network. Then point all of your internal clients to the internal DNS server.

    To be honest, a cheap PC running Linux would be your best bet.
  3. pubwvj thread starter macrumors 68000


    Oct 1, 2004
    Mountains of Vermont
    Interesting... Details?

    Thanks. I'll look into it.

    I have a static IP. The joys of a very small phone company which provides our DSL service. (1800 customers :) )

    I've been maintaining one for years and just ditched it. I have several spare Macs, all OSX capable, and would rather run it on one of those rather than buying more hardware. Simplicity. But thanks for the thought.
  4. belvdr macrumors 601

    Aug 15, 2005
    Well, you can still us OS X, although configuration of Postfix and other packages may be a bit more complex, due to compilation of the source, etc. Not sure that adds simplicity or not. :)

    To explain my thought on residential subnets, you'll find that some providers use realtime blacklists. Some of these blacklists are simply IP addresses or subnets. If your IP happens to fall within those subnets, your email could be blocked.

    For two examples, check

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