How to Turn Your Mac Into a Web Server

Matt Cone April 26, 2007 Tutorials Mac Developer Mac OS X is built on Darwin – a Unix-like, open source operating system developed by Apple and built on FreeBSD. This means that Mac users have entree to free built-in waiter applications, like the Apache web server. With Apache and the DynDNS service, you can turn your Mac into a mighty vane server. Anyone will be able to access the web site stored on your macintosh ! The best share is that you can host a web site on your Mac for absolve. There are no hosting fees to pay, and your web site will be available any time your Mac is turned on and connected to the Internet. We ’ ll show you how to do it !

Turn on Personal Web Sharing

The first step to web-serving nirvana is turning on your Mac ’ s web serving application. Apple hid the Apache web server in an inconspicuous station in Mac OS X, and they called it Personal Web Sharing. But make no mistake about it – this little servicing included with every Mac is powered by some serious software. Apache powers the Internet, and now it ’ randomness going to might the web site hosted on your Mac.

here ’ s how to turn it on :

  1. From the Apple menu, blue-ribbon System Preferences .
  2. Click Sharing, and then click the Services tab key .
  3. Select Personal Web Sharing, and then click the Start button. Using your Mac as a web server
  4. personal Web Sharing will turn on. ( This could take a minute or two. ) After it turns on, note your calculator ’ second IP address and URL at the bottom of the Sharing Preferences window. You ’ ll need this late when you test your web site. Using your Mac as a web server
  5. now that your Mac is accessible to anyone on the internet – including hackers and other evil-doers – you ’ re going to need to protect it. Click the Firewall yellow journalism and make certain your Mac ’ mho firewall is turned on. besides make sure that the checkbox next to Personal Web Sharing is selected. This will allow people to access your website through your Mac ’ s firewall. Using your Mac as a web server
  6. Remember those IP addresses and URLs we asked you to save ? Type those into your network browser to test your world wide web waiter. ( You can besides type “ localhost ” – this tells your Mac to look for its own web site. ) If your world wide web server is working, you ’ ll see one of the web pages below. Using your Mac as a web server
  7. close the organization Preferences. You ’ ve successfully turned on your Mac ’ s web waiter .

Create Your Website

obviously, you ’ ll need a web site to truly use your Mac as a world wide web waiter. If you already have one stored on your Mac, you can start hosting it immediately. here ’ randomness how :

  1. You have a couple choices when it comes to hosting your web site. Every user with an account on your Mac can host his or her own web site. There ’ randomness besides a parent directory for the web server – you ’ ll probably want to use this directory. ( We ’ ll be working with this parent directory for the duration of this tutorial. ) Save your files into one of the follow directories :
    • Parent Directory: Library > WebServer > Documents
    • User Directory: User’s Home Directory > Sites

    Using your Mac as a web server You will need to add at least one charge to one of the directories : index.html. This is your home page !

  2. Test out your web site. Depending on which directory you used, you ’ ll need to modify and use one of the pursue url to see your website :
    • Parent Directory: http://youripaddresshere/ (or http://localhost/)
    • User Directory: http://youripaddresshere/~usernameWhen you’re satisfied with your website, you’re finished.

Make Your Website Accessible to the World

now your Mac is hosting your web site, but if you ’ re on a local network, it ’ randomness still inaccessible to the rest of the populace. The like safeguards that prevent weirdoes from accessing your calculator besides prevent you from sharing your web site. not to worry ! There ’ south a great service called DynDNS that bypasses all of these fiddling annoyances and makes your web site available to everyone. DynDNS automatically tracks your Mac and maps your IP address to a domain name. That way, your web site will always be available, even if you move your Mac to another localization and change IP addresses. here ’ s how to use DynDNS :

  1. Register for an account on the DynDNS web site. It ’ sulfur absolve !
  2. Confirm your new DynDNS by clicking on the connection they email you. Log in and click the Add Host Services link, and then click the Add Dynamic DNS Host connection. Using your Mac as a web server
  3. Enter a hostname and select a domain for your web site. This third-level world identify is how the world will access your web site, indeed blame carefully ! Don ’ metric ton worry besides much about the IP Address right now – DynDNS mechanically detects that, and it may or may not be correct. We ’ ll worry about that former. Using your Mac as a web server
  4. Download the DynDNS Updater application. Double-click the application and click Install to install it. Using your Mac as a web server
  5. You ’ ll be prompted for your administrator password. insert it, and then wait for DynDNS Updater to install. When it ’ second finished, pawl OK. Using your Mac as a web server
  6. In DynDNS Updater, blue-ribbon Edit Users from the File menu. Enter your username and password. Adding a description is optional. Make certain the Use Secure Connection ( SSL ) checkbox is selected – you want to protect your password ! Using your Mac as a web server
  7. In the DynDNS Updater Users window, click the Start Daemon button. If the condition of your account says Ok, your web site is available at your DynDNS URL. That ’ s it – you ’ re finished ! Using your Mac as a web server

Oh, #$%&!!! (Important Notes on Using DynDNS)

This hale web server thing with DynDNS is very, in truth friggin ’ cool. But before you get carried away with it, you should have a look at these tips and warnings .

  • Not Suitable for Production Servers: DynDNS offers a fee-based Recursive DNS service that allows you to map your domain name (i.e.: to your home computer. This service is not designed for high-traffic websites, and our tutorial presupposes that you will be using DynDNS for small stuff. Please don’t use this as a substitute for a full-fledged web server.
  • Watch Out for Your ISP: Depending on which company you use for Internet connectivity, hosting a live website can be immediate grounds for suspension or termination of your account. Be sure to carefully read your user agreement before using DynDNS.
  • Could be Hazardous to Your Mac’s Health: Using DynDNS does, at the very least, expose your Mac’s IP address. That could be bad news if the wrong people get ahold of it! Plus, running a web server and the always-on DynDNS daemon is processor intensive. Be prepared to take a performance hit. And there’s some more bad news for people with Intel processors: There’s no Universal version of DynDNS Updater.

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