Hosting my WordPress site at my home using OS X Server?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Luba, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. Luba macrumors 6502a

    Luba

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #1
    I have a 2009 Mac Pro. If I installed OS X Server to one of my HDD partitions, does OS X Server come with all the app's for me to host my Wordpress blog? I've already bought a domain name. I know it's more reliable (much better uptime if I bought cloud hosting), but at this moment it's just a casual blog. If my Mac Pro went to sleep would the blog/website go down? I also think it would be fun to see if I can set up a blog/website and host myself.

    But I read I need a static IP address for this to work? If yes, that means all the small businesses for which OS X Server is marketed to, need to buy a static IP address which I heard is expensive.

    I also heard that hosting is dangerous as my Mac will get attacked/hacked? Wouldn't OS X Server include protective app's? And even if the hackers got through, the only damage they could do would be limited to the partition that OS X Server and the website is located on? I wouldn't want my whole network and my entire Mac Pro endangered. Please advise. Thanks!
     
  2. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    I can't really address the "fun" factor since I don't consider maintenance to be fun. But I do know that it is less expensive to go with a hosting service than having a home server. Most companies don't even do their own hosting.

    You can use a dynamic DNS service to avoid the need for a static IP. That's basically the only good news. Virtually all home Internet service prohibits the running of servers (and they typically block the ports), so you need a business account. This will cost you more than the web hosting service and you'll have less bandwidth besides. Your Mac needs to run 24/7. That will also be a noticeable expense for a Mac Pro.

    Your system will be attacked fairly continuously by hacking bots, so you will need to study up on making your system secure and keeping it that way. Your entire network is actually endangered, not just the website.

    Frankly, its best to leave it all to the "pros". Cheaper, more reliable, and safer.
     
  3. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #3
    You don't need OS X server. OS X Server http://www.apple.com/osx/server/ provides more features than you need.

    Regular OS X can host web servers. Web developers often use MAMP Pro for development.

    In terms of hosting at home. Many ISP have rules against it, but they usually don't enforce it unless you cause a problem.

    Anything can get hacked, including big companies with many security personnel (Target has 300 in security alone, but the compromised system is Windows based). If the risk is high for you, use a cheap web server.


     
  4. 960design macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
    #4
    By all means do it for fun. Then when the fun has worn off, probably right after you figure out how to get around all the 'stuff' your regular provider uses to make self hosting difficult AND you see a $15/month increase in your power bill, not to mention some wisehack narfs your computer or watching the logs and seeing thousands of pings from China... go set up an account with one of the popular web hosting companies ( just google best web host for 2013 and pick on of the top 10 ). They typically offer introductory rates as low as $4/US month ( all you'll need for a 'fun' site ) which includes automated backups, email, file servers, ect.

    All of it will give you an understanding and appreciation of webhosting companies and how they make the fairly complex pretty dern easy and inexpensive.

    Good luck and let us know if you get stuck.
     
  5. smartmoney macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    #5
    I say YES. You will learn more and have fun doing it. Don't listen to the naysayers :) they can poo=poo all they want, you cant do this, you cant host that, that port is blocked, If they (isp) have a problem, they'll ask you to stop :) I OWN a wireless ISP (so i get all the free static IP i want ) with hundreds of clients and we ALLOW hosting anything you want. Want to run utorrent? go for it, it's you they want not me. All your doing is slowing down YOUR allotted bandwidth.

    Well i used my older mac mini ( running 24-7 costs me $3.50 month) and host my own "family" site and email. I like having my "Private" emails onsite. Extra bonuses is adding Plex for my media serving (in and outside my network), running osx update server (so i only download my updates once and push them to my other machines), Time machine running to backup my other machines, i could go one but as you see, having another "box" running is not a bad thing if it adds value or features you want

    I call BS Scare tactics on this.
    i have a firewall (lookup ANY router) protecting my ports except the ones needed - which are open at you paid hosting site as well. Look at your router log, your getting pinged whether your hosted or not, static ip or not. Called ip/port scanning. If the server OS wasn't secure, apple wouldn't release it. I've never been "Hacked into" in 10+ years of having my ports open. now iis? different story :)

    Mowing grass? Your lawn mower has maintenance also, but if you dont learn to do it, you pay someone else. I prefer to keep my money fun or not :)

    Thats for reasons of IN HOUSE security and PCI compliance but more and more are EMAIL in house, i know cause i'm converting them every day.

    Key word "Development". Stated right on the program, not for production use. Have i used it? Yes! Does it work? Yes. Would i rely on it? no?

    just my .02 I say "go for it" and have fun learning :D
     
  6. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    My incoming SSH port used to get hit with a barrage of connection attempts every night. These were not pings! A few times I'd get buffer overflows that would take down the service but luckily not give access. But the threat was there. I've moved it to an alternate port. Sure it's "security through obscurity" but it was effective because I guess the bots only look for common services on standard ports. Apple is also notorious for not providing the latest releases of the server applications and being slow with security updates. I only run services that I can benefit from having at home and HTTP isn't one of them.
     
  7. sevoneone macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    #7
    I say go for it as a learning experience for a short time and have the fun, but I'll second the above, the fun will wear off quick.

    I used to work for a company that qualified for me to have what was called a Teleworker account from Comcast. It was basically a business class account at residential rates. It came with guaranteed 50mbps down 10mbps up bandwidth and none of the port blocking/typical restrictions. I worked a video production job on the side, so I thought it would be awesome to setup a home server where clients could upload and download media for their projects. In theory it seemed a hell of a lot easier than having to do all the up/downloads myself. Not a lot of traffic, just 2 - 3 clients uploading or downloading files around 200mb a few times per week.After two months I gave up and bought an unlimited shared hosting plan and renewed my Vimeo Plus account.

    It seems simple enough, but it turns into death by a thousand cuts. I didn't find OS X Server very efficient as a HTTP nor FTP server, my machine had 4GB of ram, which was still decent 5 years ago, but I was having to reboot 2-3 times a week because some process would eat up the available ram slowing everything to a crawl. I didn't know a lot about DNS which caused me all kinds of grief. My power bill went up $18 per month from the 24/7 run time. And yes I was a little freaked out because every night I was seeing 80 to 100 failed SSH login attempts from Chinese and Russian IP addresses.

    For all the headache, the above did teach me a lot though. So I say find a good shared host to run your blog, and setup your home server for fun for a few months for the experience.
     
  8. Luba thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Luba

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #8
    Well, I decided to not host it myself at this time. I figure I'd go slow learn more about the whole process, take advantage of intro pricing for hosting then host later on a dedicated Mac. My Mac Pro is getting old. The idea of hosting my own email plus the Wordpress blog does sound like fun. The email account will be a non-crucial account so if something happen it wouldn't be the end of the world.

    So I don't need OS X Server to host a website. What does $20 get me then? I can be my own Exchange/iCloud? Email, calendars, contacts?

    Is there a way to set it up so that if something happened (hacked) that it would be only limited to one Mac and not invade my other Macs? Perhaps if I bought another router (Airport Extreme) then damage would be limited to only that network created by the new Airport Extreme and the Mac that's connect to it?

    I would have 2 routers connect to my cable modem, thus 2 networks.
     
  9. sevoneone macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    #9
    Email is a bag of hurt just because all of the garbage, spam and security threats out there. There are way more road blocks and speed bumps involved in rolling your own mail server than there are getting a web server operational. Cloud services like Google Apps and hosted Exchange are so inexpensive that it hardly makes sense for anyone to run an onsite mail server anymore. This is one I say, if you want to learn, set it up and play with it on your private network only. If you want email and services for your personal domain, go with Google Apps. For $5/mo or $50/yr it can not be beat for all the features you get and the peace of mind, even for a non-crucial account.

    For $20/mo you could easily host your blog on a shared hosting plan with unlimited bandwidth and storage while having plenty left over a Google Apps account that includes Email, calendar, contact and a lot of other services.

    There are a lot of ways to isolate your server from the rest of the network. You could use a second router plugged into your network to mask the server from the rest of your network, but there are easier, and more widely accepted ways to do this also. If your router's built-in firewall supports it, you can setup ACLs or rules to block/allow specified internal and external traffic. Or, the easiest in my opinion, use a small managed switch to create separate VLANs for the server and other devices on your network.
     
  10. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #10
    I've been running my Mac home server for over 4 years (and without it doing web or mail). Read about what it does for me (and the initial grief I went through) here.
     
  11. jtara macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #11
    In other words, OSX Server is.... OSX Server.

    OSX Server used to be a specialized version of OSX. Now it is just a set of applications packaged in a single install, and can be installed/removed like any other application.

    And then, there also used to be OSX Servers. (The hardware). No longer made, so moot.

    I'd never advise hosting at home. You'll get poor performance, and risk violating your ISP's Terms of Service. You don't know how many posts I've seen from people crying that can't can no longer get high-speed Internet, because their ISP banned them, and they are in a monopolized market. (So, you burned your bridges with the only cable company in town...)

    Most high-speed home Internet bandwidth is asymmetrical. You have faster "down" speeds than "up". For web hosting, you need the opposite (or symmetrical, but the opposite will do!)

    For a few bucks a month you can use a server that's professionally hosted in a data center, typically with huge burst bandwidth. For a few bucks more, you can have a VPN server, and then you can fiddle with the OS (typically, some Linux variety) to your heart's content.

    You should have read the rules and know them. They might ask you to stop. Or they might ban you for life. See above.
     
  12. Luba thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Luba

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #12
    So having a VPN server is almost like having my own server at home? I get to play without breaking any possible ISP rules. I recently signed up for shared hosting for my Wordpress blog. I saw the option for VPN server, but hosting company through their information pushed me towards shared hosting, or if I wanted to pay more to managed hosting. I now have to read up on shared vs. managed vs. VPN.

    So sounds like OS X Server is meant for small business who want to set up an intranet to share calendars and contacts and perhaps set up an in-house wiki. With email these small businesses would be better off signing up for either Office 365 Exchange Online or Google App's.

     
  13. jtara macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #13
    VPS (Virtual Private Server), not VPN (Virtual Private Network).

    It's better than having your own server at home. It's hosted professionally in a data center with lots of bandwidth nearby. On the other hand, you are only getting a slice of a computer, but that's not a problem for most sites.

    In fact, if you are going to play and try things out on your home machine, it's best to install a VPS on your OWN computer! You can do this with, for example, VMWare Fusion.

    In fact, (depending on your provider) it might even be possible to create a VPS on your home computer and then move it to a hosted service. (The host would have to support this, and you'd have to use the same virtualizing software as them - e.g. VMWare, VirtualBox, etc. etc.)

    In any case, you get root access to a virtual server which acts as if you had a whole machine to your disposal.

    On the other hand, something breaks, you fix it!

    Pretty much. It's become just a small collection of applications that are useful for people who have a bunch of Macs. It has more than just the above, for example, it has stuff for remotely administering your Macs, providing a single database for software updates, etc. etc.
     
  14. theluggage macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #14
    (VPS not VPN!)

    No, having a VPS server is almost like having your own server running 24/7 in a professionally run server room with a static address (or two) and high speed internet connection that makes your home broadband look like a bit of damp string.

    The slight downside vs. a real server is that, although you can generally install all your own software, the included control panel stuff can make it tricky to install different versions of core apps like Apache, MySQL and PHP.

    Yup, if you'd had a VPS you could have spent your spare time last week patching Heartbleed and changing all your certificates and private keys :(

    However, if you just want a single wordpress blog, or to host a simple, static website, shared hosting is the most economical option. VPS is overkill unless you are creating multiple/dynamic/database-driven sites or want a mail server. However, if you want to learn about running internet services, there are worse ways to waste your money.
     
  15. Luba thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Luba

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #15
    I didn't know a VPS is that powerful. Makes sense hosting companies charge significantly more for a VPS plan. These hosting companies, I feel, don't explain the features of the plan that well. I bought a shared plan because it's only for one blog, plus I don't anticipate much traffic . . . yet. :)

    There's another plan some of these hosting companies are offering for about the same price as a VPS, a "managed" hosting plan. How is it managed? Those plans seem to only offer more software.
     
  16. theluggage macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #16
    You really, really don't need a VPS for a one-off blog. Shared is fine. In fact, you could probably have got a blog for free (Google "free wordpress blog") if you didn't mind advertising.

    "Managed Hosting" probably just means you get rather more advice and support on configuring and running your server and access to custom configurations. VPS and Shared solutions are cheap because its entirely up to you to set them up.

    The 3 main choices are:

    Shared: You get a non-privileged user account on a shared computer, with a directory where you can put HTML/PHP files. You can usually create/request a limited number of MySQL databases. Usually there will be some sort of web control panel, maybe some easy site-builder software. You may get a command-line log in, or possibly just FTP access to upload your files. A lot of existing web applications that just need PHP and a MySQL database will work in such a system (and there may be an option to pre-install Wordpress etc.) Typically, this will be a single web domain.

    VPS: You get a complete 'virtual machine*' to do as you will with. There's usually a web control panel that lets you, start up, shut down, backup, create new websites, domains, user accounts, mailboxes etc. but if you want to you can log in as 'root' and install/upgrade software, tweak config files etc. About the only thing you can't do is change the operating system (it will usually be one of the popular Linux distros - you can have Windows if you really must) - although upgrading/replacing PHP, Apache or MySQL without messing up the control panel software may be tricky. Great for hosting multiple web domains, creating custom data-driven software or (if you are a masochist) running mail services

    (*Technically, its usually OS-level virtualization, not quite the same as Parallels on the Mac).

    Dedicated Server: You rent an actual nuts-and-bolts server in a rack somewhere - mainly if you need the extra, unshared power.

    Co-location: You provide/buy/lease your own hardware and the ISP houses it in their data center, hooked up to their fast internet connection. If you want to host your site on Mac OS rather than Linux or Windows, quite a lot of ISPs offer this with Mac Minis.
     

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