Mac Mini a good choice for Server?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by uMac, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. uMac macrumors 6502

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    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #1
    Looking at starting a small (hopefully largely popular :D) website and I am wondering if using a Mac Mini is a good option for a server?
     
  2. TravisReynolds macrumors regular

    TravisReynolds

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    Mar 2, 2008
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    #2
    i'm not sure.. but I know chris pirillo uses a mac mini to broadcast his show
     
  3. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

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    #3
    A Mac Mini would be perfectly fine for a small (and likely even for mid-size) web site.
     
  4. tilman macrumors regular

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    Feb 28, 2006
    #4
    Hosting it somewhere would be a much better choice. There is a lot more than just some server required to host a website. You need a good Internet connection with a static IP address, with good upload speed. That eliminates DSL and cable modems. You need high uptime. You need to worry about security (i.e. people trying to hack into your machine). Sign up with a service like 1&1, and let them handle all of that. It's a lot cheaper, too. And you can grow by upgrading your package.
     
  5. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

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    #5
    It's not as bad as you make it sound. I run my own web server on a Windows machine using a residential internet connection. My IP only changes every few months so that's not much of a hassle. Security is something to pay attention to, but using Apache and downloading the latest Windows updates is often enough to keep you safe, as well as setting up ports correctly and firewalls. It's also much cheaper as all I have to pay for is my domain name, which is very cheap. So it is more effortful, but certainly still an option. I know a number of people who run their own web server from home.
     
  6. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Singapore
    #6
    yes i would also like to know this, it would be awsome to have a dedicated webserver. id also use it as a server 'tester' i.e. testing server 03, leopard and tiger server.. so i can get used to the area that im gettin into
     
  7. ryan macrumors 6502

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    Denver, CO
    #7
    Depending on what you're looking for you might want to check out Macminicolo.net.
     
  8. MacSociology macrumors regular

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    #8
    I wouldn't use macminicolo.net. It's expensive and you get very low bandwidth. 400 dollars for 1000GB bandwidth? That's very expensive. The mini also got a slow hd, and that could be a problem if your site grows.

    uMac: If I where you I would just start out with a shared account, and just transfer that one to either a VPS or a dedicated server if it grows big enough. Shared hosting will probably be enough for some time ahead, and you really shouldn't waste money on a dedicated server if you don't need it.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    It all depends on the details. Of course it can work but then maybe not. We need to know more about what you want to do.

    1) What kind of Internet connection do you have

    2) You say "largely popular" Can you put some numbers on this. Will there be 500 people on the site all at once trying to stream HD video?

    3) This is the most important question: How is the site designed. Are they mostly static pages? Or is this site backed by a DBMS with mostly dynamic content. How are the pages generated.

    4) How much content do you have? Just a rought order of magnitude


    In general a Mini should be able to "flood" any internet connection you can afford to pay for it you are just serving static pages. But as soon as you move to dynamic pages then you have to think about the needs of the back end.

    Is this for a business? if so you should thingk about reliability. If you must be up 24x7 no matter what then you have a lot to worry about, like multiple internet connections and fail over and so on.
     
  10. macsrules macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    #10

    I have been doing a lot of research on this lately myself, here is what I found. Like MacSociology said, macminicolo is expensive if you are just starting out or trying to cut corners. They do have a good service though. Having said that, yes, from what I have read and found the Mac Mini is a good choice for just starting off. Some people in this thread advise getting a hosting service to do your hosting.

    1. That is good, and yes you don't have to worry about security or setting up services but it is a trade off, you don't learn much and you give up a lot of control of your site.

    2. If you decide you want to set up your own Mac Mini Server, here is a great resource

    http://www.farawaymac.com/

    This site is maintained by the same people that run and operate macminicolo. You will find a ton of great software and add ons at farawaymac for turning Leopard into a powerful server.

    3. If you are going to be running the server on a dynamic IP you are going to want to get this service

    http://www.dyndns.com/

    This will let you use the Dynamic IP from your service provider as a static IP with a small little application they give you. Last time I checked it was around 18 dollars a year for the service. They have this service free but it is not for custom web addresses that cost but it is very price friendly.

    4. Here you will find some really good tutorials

    http://www.freemacblog.com/category/server-video-series/
     
  11. stukdog macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    #11
    Seeing as how three of my projects are mentioned here (farawaymac.com, freemacblog.com, and Macminicolo.net) I thought I better weigh in.

    The Mac mini makes a great server for a small business. Without knowing more detail of your project, I'll give you a few scenarios.

    1) FreeMacblog.com averaged 2 million hits a month and served up thousands of videos. All of this came from a Mac mini. (I've since sold that site.)

    2) We get a lot of customers at MMC that use the mini for online transactions. They prefer it happening on a machine of their own as opposed to a shared machine. (Not sure if this applies.)

    As someone mentioned earlier in the thread, a lot of folks will start hosting from home and give themselves time to build up their site and business. Then, if it gets to a point where you need more reliability/speed, then you can look at putting it into a colocation facility. (Hopefully by that time the business is bringing in money so it's easier to justify then.)

    Regardless of if you want to use MMC or not, feel free to send me a note if you have any specific questions about using a Mac mini as a server.
     
  12. Saliwa macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    #12
    A MacMini has a laptop HD, servers rely heavily on disk access. The MacMini is really a very bad choice for a server. Be prepared to have the hard drive return poor performance and fail very quickly.
     
  13. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Britain
    #13
    I disagree, the mac mini is an excellent choice for a server, they have a huge power per centimeter cubed ratio. And are cheap (or at least will be when they bloody update them).
     
  14. Saliwa macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    #14
    Well if you backup often, the macmini is indeed a good choice :D
     
  15. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

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    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #15
    Works fine for me.
     
  16. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #16
    id say the max read/write speed of the mini would be 30-40mbps, i know that if i made an internet site and it was pretty popular it wouldnt even get anywhere near that. my upload speed is only 1mb anyway, so that doesnt matter.
     
  17. hotshotharry macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    #17
    godaddy.com has some great packages :) i run a personal web server for my family with pics and vids etc ! :)
     
  18. uMac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #18
    Thanks for all the replies.
    From talking with other experts in the field and from what you guys point out I am thinking that I will go with shared hosting right now, and if my site becomes popular move it too a dedicated server (or colo).

    Thanks.
     

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