Advice for staging server setup (Web Devel)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Chuck Cheeze, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Chuck Cheeze macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2006
    I got a new job with a private company, I am a web developer who has traditionally programmed in ASP on Windows servers but recently switched to programming on a Mac in PHP and am teaching myself Ruby on Rails.

    So, the new company has sai they will set me up with whatever hardware and software I need as this is a new thing for them to have an in house web guy. Here is what I plan to get:

    MacBook Pro 2GB RAM, 23" Cinema Display, Keyboard, Mighty Mouse, the usual Adobe software and other odds and ends, and some sort of firewire external backup drive.

    Here is where I am stumped. I plan to use the MBP for my development server, so I can transport it back and forth as necessary to work at home. That's great for what I need. But the others in the company who have input on design and content will need to see the site on a staging server whenever they feel like it, so I need something external.

    They have a Win Server for everyone to have logon and email through Outlook for the biz network. This is connected to the web with some sort of hi speed pipe. I plan to host the live site on a host rather than internally (this question isn't about that so no debate please). There is no port 80 action going on at the facility. So, I was thinking about getting a Mac Mini and attaching it to the network there and setting up DNS so that goes to the IP of the company and the local router pushes http requests to the Mini, and lets all other traffic go to the Win server. Of course requests would go to the external host. requests would go to the win server.

    Is there anything fundamentally wrong with this plan? I am talking on general terms here. I know it may be a pain to setup, but I just want to know if this is a good direction to go in. Should I setup OSX server on the Mini or just OSX? If OSX, can people from inside and outside this network see the staging site, or will that require OSX server?

    Thanks froma noob!
  2. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    You could just use the win sever to host the staging webpage. On the condition it is on the LAN. You can still set it up to only be open to people on the LAN. Or you can make it open to the world. It will not take much CPU to host a staging website as it would only get what 10 hits a day?
  3. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    I would suggest you setup a server with the same OS and software stack that will be on your hosted solution. This probably means your best bet would be to get two accounts with the same host (or have one that supports subdomains).

    Unless you are simply doing UAT and not any sort of load/stress/functional testing, it doesn't make any sense to stage your web based apps on an entirely different platform (OS/CPU/etc). The whole idea is so you can catch potential problems before you release to your users...right?
  4. Chuck Cheeze thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2006
    Yes the idea would be to use the same setup, so the Win server is not a good choice. Actually I hadn't thought of a subdomain thing but that makes perfect sense...available from anywhere, I can FTP to it from work or home, I can hide it from robots with robots.txt, and it will (obviously) perfectly mirror the live environment.

  5. bah-bah'd macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2006
    if you authenticate the whole subdomains with directives, you do not have to let outside parties know you are hosting anything at all. expecially in public places like a robots.txt file; exclude != don't look at to everyone ;)

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