ImageOne of the best tools to work with your server is included right on your Mac. It is called Network Utility and it’s located in the Utilities folder. (Located in Applications, or press Shift+Command+U in Finder.)

With this application, you can do things like Name Server lookups, Whois lookups, Traceroutes, Port Scans, etc. Alot of these same tasks can be done in Terminal as well, but Network Utility sure makes it easy.

Following is a guest post from a Robert Schmid, a Macminicolo customer. If you have a tip on running a Mac server and would like to share it, please let us know.

ImageI setup my first Unix server in 1997 on a Mac Quadra 840AV. It was great way to rehabilitate obsolete macs. My biggest problem then was spam. My war on spam continued for the next several years until I finally got it under control a few years ago. For me, mail filters are not a sufficient answer to spam. It needs to be stopped on request, not after your bandwidth has been wasted. I finally found two very important strategies for stopping spam – greylisting and wildcard addressing.
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ImageAs with all things Google does, Google Analytics is an incredible useful tool that is easy to use and is free.

Google Analytics has been re-designed to help you learn even more about where your visitors come from and how they interact with your site. It’s done by simply adding a little bit of code to your web pages.

You can learn more (and get started) on the official Google Analytics site.

ImageNetBarrier X5 is a very powerful way to protect your Mac while it’s connected to the internet. Some of the most interesting features are:

  • Blocks hacker and vandal attacks
  • Blocks ads from websites
  • alerting you of any application that tries to create a network connection, or “phone home”
  • filters all outgoing data to ensure that no sensitive information leaves your computer
  • see your network traffic in real time

The interface is nice and straight-forward. The purchase page is a bit overwhelming, but as far as I can tell it is $50 for a one seat license. You can find out more on the developer’s website.

ImageA lot of our customers at Macminicolo have a machine to run the shopping carts for their business. They like the idea of controlling the whole box that will deal with transactions and financial data.

Zen Cart “is an open source online store management system. It is PHP-based, ampoule using a MySQL database and HTML components.” The install process is not too difficult, order and there is a great community to help with any issues.

You can see the long list of features and download the program from the Official Zen Cart site.

ImageAs you move from shared hosting to running your own server, you’ll have the ability to work with permission on your Mac. I suppose this is a two edged sword. You can unlock a lot of power for yourself, but you also have the ability to really cause some problems.

BatChmod makes it easy to change the permissions on different files and folders. It is a free application and is available from the developer’s site.

ImageOf all the FTP clients I’ve tried, Transmit is my favorite. (And I guess I’m not alone considering all the awards the app has won.)

The list of features is long, but among my favorite are:

  • A very clean Mac-like interface
  • Ability to edit and save to server
  • Batch Downloading
  • Column view to drag between local and remote folders
  • A free dashboard widget for drage and drop uploading.

You can download a free trial or purchase the app for $29.95 on the developer’s website.

ImageIf you’re going to use your Mac as a server connected to the internet, you’ll want to be sure it’s secure. One of the best ways to do this is by using a firewall.

WaterRoof is an IPFW firewall frontend for Mac OS X with a easy interface and many options. Start from a fresh-clean system installation and be ready in 1 minute with routing/bridging, NAT and port redirection, bandwidth limits and everything you need to fine tune your ipfw configuration.

I thought the setup wizard was especially useful.

WaterRoof is free and can be download from the developer’s website.

Image“Inco is a dashboard and administration tool for Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server 10.4 and 10.5. (And others, anabolics ailment soon!) Inco runs on the machine you want to monitor, and you can access it from any web browser.” It looks especially great on the iPhone. Check out the Getting Started Guide (PDF link) to see what stats it can show you and how great they look on the iPhone.

Inco started out as a subscription product, but has since decided that a onetime charge is the way to go. For $36 you can “use Inco on as many machines as you own or operate.”

You can download it at the official Inco site.

ImageClutch is a WebUI for the Transmission daemon. It allows you to manage your torrents from anywhere you can access the internet.

The interface looks amazingly like Transmission and it’s quite easy to maneuver it.

So, if you want to get your TV show torrents going before you leave work so they’ll be ready when you get home, Clutch is your answer. It’s free and available from their site.

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