ImageWe work with a lot of schools, clinic thumb universities, buy and academies. Moodle is a good fit for those those looking for a “free web application that educators can use to create effective online learning sites.”

Because Moodle uses the great MAMP package, health it is as simple as dragging and dropping to get started with the site on a Mac server. And for those who use Leopard Server, there is a step-by-step guide for you too.

Moodle is free and can be downloaded for PPC or Intel Macs from the official site.

ImageOne of the more popular uses for the Mac minis in our data center is to run a web server. The minis have incredible performance for this service. At one point, I was serving 3.5 million hits per month off of one G4 server. The Intel minis are naturally much better with more RAM allowed.

Mac OS X makes it easier to get a web site up and running. In this video, I show you how to enable the service, where to change web site documents, and how to test that it’s working.

In the video, I mention a few links. I’ll list them here:

DNSMadeEasy.com – a great service for DNS
More Info on Apache

And now a link to the video: Enable the Web Server (option+click to download)

If you have questions or comments on the video, you can send them via twitter (@macminicolo) or using our contact page.

ImageWe often get asked how to host multiple websites on one Mac. This is done using virtual hosting.

Until this point, this included opening hidden files and entering the vhosts by hand. This isn’t hard, but can be intimidating for a new developer and Mac user.

I was happy to find VirtualHostX. This application helps to add a new virtual host with just a few clicks. (They also offer a pretty nice tutorial on setting up vhosts while using MAMP.

The application runs $9 and can be downloaded here.

The other day, I had a server that would turn on and immediately start pushing 80+Mb/s. Needless to say, something was wrong.

I didn’t want to compromise the network, so I turned to ipfw to create a bandwidth limited pipe to apply to the port. This hint on MacOSXhints.com explains it nicely.

Advanced OS X users know that Darwin comes with ipfw, which can be used to set up a custom firewall. This same service however can be used to also limit bandwidth on specific ports.

Example:
sudo ipfw pipe 1 config bw 15KByte/s
creates a pipe that only allows up to 15KB/s to go through.

Then:
sudo ipfw add 1 pipe 1 src-port 80
will attach that pipe to the outgoing traffic on port 80, effectively limiting the outgoing traffic of the web server.
sudo ipfw delete 1
will remove the pipe from the port.

Of course, you can also find a GUI interface to this in WaterRoof.

ImageNagios is an open source program that can be installed on a server to check on other servers. For instance, you could have it check that sites are up, services are running, an machines are pinging. And if it doesn’t find those things, it can send an email or an SMS so you know about it.

Macworld just posted a great article on this Nagios called, “Installing Nagios on Mac OS X 10.5 Server.”

They also pointed to a nice community where plug-ins are shared called Nagios Exchange.

You can download Nagios here.

ImageI know we have quite a few customers who use their Mac minis as subversion servers. The number has increased since Leopard now ships with Subversion 1.4.4 and Apache2 pre-installed. (Of course, you’d need to configure the server. But there are good instructions here and here.)

Versions is a client for a subversion server. It was recently released as a free beta and offers a nice new way of interacting with the Subversion server.

So, if you’re looking for a nice way to keep versions of your work. Or, if you work with a group and want to make sure everyone is working on the most up to date work, then you can download Versions here.

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.

ImageProjectPier is a Free, Open-Source, self-hosted PHP application for managing tasks, projects and teams through an intuitive web interface. ProjectPier will help your organization communicate, collaborate and get things done Its function is similar to commercial groupware/project management products, but allows the freedom and scalability of self-hosting. Even better, it will always be free.

For the project management of Macminicolo, we use Basecamp from 37Signals. It’s a wonderful application that has done well for our company.

But, if you are a “do-it-yourselfer” the ProjectPier may be an option for you.

ImageWhen it comes to deploying a new server or website, internal testing is critical. The easiest way I know to do this is by using MAMP.

The abbreviation MAMP stands for: Macintosh, Apache, Mysql and PHP. With just a few mouse-clicks, you can install Apache, PHP and MySQL for Mac OS X! It is all contained in one folder and doesn’t alter any settings in the OS. Turning on the MySQL and Apache servers takes just one button and you’re ready to go.

I find this most useful for testing a new site. For instance, you can use MAMP to install a local copy of WordPress and yo can work on your new site design quickly and privately.

MAMP is free, though they also offer a paid version with more options. You can download it at the MAMP website.