What can you do with a Server?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by krause734, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. krause734 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2010
    Why would you need a server? I've run into two people that have servers: one for their music library and one for a kind of dropbox file storage that they own. What else can you do with a server? They said it is pretty simple to do. How do you set up your own server?
  2. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Dec 1, 2013
    Houston, TX USA
    VPN, backups, software update & caching services, the list goes on. It's never quite as straightforward as the Genius bar would have you believe. But it's not impossible for a first timer to get it (mostly) right.
  3. DJLC macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2005
    Mooresville, NC
    It's complete overkill for home users in my opinion. With all the iCloud features available to users these days, using a home server isn't necessary unless you're paranoid about where your data is being stored and/or have a data cap to contend with.
  4. MikeatOSX macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2007
    A server is a great and time consuming hobby, but not simply to do when you configure it not to me misused by bad guys for producing spam mails or really bad things. So you have to read many, many docs.
  5. kiwipeso1 Suspended


    Sep 17, 2001
    Wellington, New Zealand
    I have it for a few things mainly, Websites, Network Time Machine, EMail on my domains.
  6. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    Web Server

    Wiki Server

    Host your own domain.

    Mail server.

    Jenkins or TeamCity will let you build your apps on a remote CI Server. See how the developers of Day One use their Mac mini as a build server. (Free)

    Selfoss (free) and Fever ($30) are great alternatives to Google Reader.


    Sendy is a self hosted service to email your newsletters at a significant discount. Similar to Mail Chimp. ($59)

    Yourls is a self hosted URL shortener. It provides stats as well. (free)

    ZPanel is an alternative to CPanel. (Free)


    GitLab is a self hosted Git management software. (Free)

    SparkleShare lets you set a folder on your server that will sync with all your peers or coworkers. A great way to collaborate on folders. (Free)

    Pow lets you create a quick environment to build and test Rails apps. (Free)

    Moodle is a CMS for education. Free

    Daylite Server lets you sync your Daylite info from anywhere. (Server, Free. Client, $280) We also have a Daylite Hosting service.

    VirtualHostX lets you setup multiple websites quickly. ($39)

    iVPN makes it very easy to setup a VPN server. ($15) We also have a tutorial to setup a VPN in Mountain Lion Server.

    Crashplan lets you backup remote Macs to your Server. (Free)


    Owncloud is a replacement for Dropbox, but also provides calendar, contacts and so much more. We also have a post for installing ownCloud on a Mac mini. (Free)

    Plex Server lets you play all your media to your phone/tablet/Macs. (Free)

    FileMaker Server is a powerful database server. Very Powerful. Run it for yourself or as a paid service for others.

    Kerio Connect is a powerful Mail server. A very good alternative to Exchange.

    Run a Minecraft Server of your own.

    Vagrant will help you create development environments quickly.

    Real Studio will help you build a web app on your server.

    uTorrent is a great torrent client. Also has a web remote.

    Billings Pro Server lets you sync and track time from anywhere.

    Profile Manager 2 will let you manage iPads and iPhones.

    Put Xcode on your server and develop from anywhere.

    MAMP will help you setup a wordpress blog quickly with PHP and mySQL.

    Scrup is a self hosted alternative to Droplr or CloudApp

    DNS Enabler lets you run your own DNS serve.

    Kikuchat is a self hosted Campfire alternative. Server.app also has a Messages Server.

    Mint is a self hosted analytics program to keep an eye on your site traffic.

    Shaarli is a self hosted book mark manager similar to Delicious.

    BBpress is clean forum software from the makers of wordpress. (Free)

    Simon is an application that will check all sorts of servers and services. Similar to Pingdom.

    iStat Server will let you keep an eye on your Mac server.

    Deep Freeze will let you really hack on your machine, and bring it back clean with a restart.

    Asterisk is an open source VOIP server. (free)

    TFTP Server still comes in handy after all these years. (Free)


    Nagios will keep an eye on your infastructure.


    Tor for porn.

    VMware ESXi (free) will let you install and run multiple instances of OS X on the same server.Parallels Server for Mac is another great option.

    SugarCRM offers a free, self hosted version. It's a CRM for keeping track of clients, sales, support requests, etc.

    Rapidweaver makes web site creation really simple, and works with the default web sharing in OS X.

    Slogger will take your data from social networks and create entries in Day One.

    Subversion is an open source version control system.

    Lasso Server brings Lasso to the web.

    Pancake is a seller self hosted app for invoicing and billing clients.

    GridRepublic or Warrior will let you put your extra server power to good use.

    Thinkup will let you help you make all of your social networking more useful.
  7. warragul, Oct 26, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016

    warragul macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2016
    Melbourne, Australia
    Saved. Thanks Les.
    Now I have something else to spend my copious free time on.
    The garden will have to wait.
  8. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2010
    Provo, UT
    For the Mac, making it a server is easy, it simply requires buying ($20), installing and running an app on your machine.

    Configuring it is considerably more complicated. However, many people with servers end up with them because they have a machine that is still capable, but in some sense "extra." I have a Mac Pro 2,1 that is still faster than many new machines and I opted to use it as a server.

    The main things that I do with it is:

    1) Time Machine Server. I have a bunch of other Macs, so rather than have a hard drive connected to each, I have them all backup to the server. To do this you need MacOS Server.

    2) Plex Media Server. This is a separate server running on the same box. I have all my music and movies stored there and I can access them from any Plex capable device both inside my house and outside.

    Another interesting thing I recently discovered is FreeNAS. I had a Quad Core PC sitting around and I stuffed it with 6 drives and installed FreeNAS on a thumb drive. It provided me a way to take a bunch of medium sized disks and turn them into one giant array. I keep some backups here and some backups of backups (I'm obsessive about not losing my data)

    So, the moral of the story is that there are a lot of things that you can do with a server, but usually you should be trying to solve some problem that a server accomplishes well rather than deciding I want to have a server and looking for something to do with it. I say this because I (like others have indicated) have spent many hours trying to configure it to do what I wanted. Once it was up, it is great, but it can be a pain when it is not set up right.
  9. krause734 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2010
    Thank you. I basically want to simplify all my files instead of using Evernote, Dropbox, iTunes, iPhoto, Google Drive, etc. and be able to access them anywhere without paying for it and having Google sell all my information.
  10. Undecided macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2005
    Needs vary from person to person no doubt. For my home server, I only use it for VPN (when traveling abroad), and software update caching.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 15, 2016 ---
    Can you elaborate on that? How is that done and why would that be better than simply having Xcode on your location box.
  11. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Dec 1, 2013
    Houston, TX USA
    Technically you don't need a server for uses 1 or 2.

    1) plain macOS vs. server has a 10 client simultaneous connection limit - but all you need to do is share the storage from the box hosting Time Machine, and select that drive (as the TM destination volume) from the clients.

    2) plex media server doesn't require you to have the server.app installed or configured either.

    All other advice is sound, indeed.

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