Simple file sharing and backups at home

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by skerfoot, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. skerfoot macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2010
    I'm considering options for networked file sharing and backups for home. I have a little experience with OSX Server, but I'm no where near an expert in networking or server administration (hence the newb questions below).

    The simple option would be an airport extreme with a couple of USB hard drives plugged into it. This should allow wireless access by a few computers for file sharing and backups.

    A more advanced alternative would be to plug in a Mac Mini into my existing wireless router. (one appeal for this option is that I may need an immediate, temporary replacement for another computer. A Mini would be useful now, but could be recommissioned later for other purposes). To do this, would there be an advantage to the Mini running server? I'm not very interested in web hosting, email etc. Just file sharing.

    At work, I access a Mac mini through the server for file sharing and backup purposes, but this is running on an established network. (warning, extremely dumb question to follow). In a home network situation, how do I get a permanent IP address for the Mini (server or otherwise) so that I can access it?

    Thanks for answering...
  2. Ice-Cube macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2006
    Somewhere over the rainbow
    Does your ISP issue a fixed or dynamic IP address? My ISP issues a dynamic IP address so my IP is issued to me randomly. I use DynDns to fix that (its free).

    As for ipv4 addresses, just go to System Preferences>Network>Airport>TCP/IP and under configure ipv4, choose DHCP with manual address and proceed to key in the IP you want. Like for example.
  3. CarlJ macrumors 68020


    Feb 23, 2004
    San Diego, CA, USA
    If you're looking just for networked file sharing/backups at home, not visible from afar, then an Airport-plus-some-drives or a Time Capsule, or a Mac Mini (or any of a wide variety of other home "NAS" -- Network Attached Storage -- products) would work just fine. I'm partial to the (industrial strength, but spendy) QNAP and ReadyNAS boxes myself, though I don't own either yet. Note that everyone and their brother are hopping into the NAS market these days, including all the drive makers and accessory makers, and while it isn't rocket science, it is easy to mess up quite spectacularly -- if you're looking to buy a NAS from a company that doesn't have a long history of specializing in such things, check carefully for trends of negative reviews before buying.

    If you're looking to be able to access this server from offsite (i.e. connecting from the office, or a friend's house), then you should have a very careful look at your ISP's Terms of Service (or Acceptable Use Policy), as many of them forbid running an (externally visible) server of any kind. Many people do anyway, without getting in trouble; I'm just pointing out the possibility for being on the losing end of an argument with your ISP at some point.

    As far as IP's go, if it's on your private home network, no problem, it should get a private (10.#.#.#, 172.#.#.#, or 192.168.#.#) address from the DHCP server on your existing WiFi router automatically. If you want to be able to access it from outside, you can either teach the WiFi router to port-forward whatever ports are needed from your external (cable/DSL/etc) IP to the private IP of your Mini (or whatever), or you can see what your ISP offers (some plans may allow you to have multiple external IP addresses), though if they forbid servers, this may lead to an awkward conversation.
  4. skerfoot thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2010
    Thanks for the replies.

    I'll haven't decided if I want it visible to the outside world yet. That invites a whole new host of issues that I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with yet. Perhaps the Mac Mini without the server is the better option.

    Thanks again

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