When it comes to running a server, the initial setup is the most boring but the most important. You want to make sure your machine starts up and stays up while it’s doing it’s server duties.
In this video, we’ll work with a brand new Mac mini and get it to a point where it’s ready to start up and starting working with as a server. The majority of the work will be done in the System Preferences.
So, the steps are simple and probably known by most already. But, after setting up hundreds of Mac minis over the years, these are the best settings and tips we’ve found. All the other movies from this point will begin assuming you’ve set up the machine this way.
And now a link to the video: Initial Setup of a Mac Server (option+click to download)
A few years ago, I did a series of video tutorials on how to build a Mac server. These videos focused on OS X included software, free software, or very inexpensive software. We looked at tasks like setting up the server, running a website or multiple websites, running a file server, etc. This series proved to be very popular, ending with a list of 16,000 subscribers. We still receive plenty of emails both asking for further tips, or just thanking us for the videos.
I’ve decided to start a new series covering the same topics and some new ones. The reason is because since the last series was completed, the Mac mini has been updated in both hardware and software. Leopard changes some procedures that were show in the older videos. (which were done on Tiger.) Also, the newest hardware offers some additional options.
While these video tutorials will use a Mac mini as the server, they’ll also be of use to other folks who have extra Mac hardware that they’d like to get setup as a server. The steps in the video will be very simple, and should be sufficient training for even a novice. And since we use included, free, or very inexpensive software, it shouldn’t leave anyone out on price. Each post will include a link list as well.
There are a few ways to get notified when these videos are posted. You can get updates by email, subscribe to the Far Away Mac RSS Feed or follow us on Twitter where we’ll tweet each time a video is posted. If you have questions or comments on the video, you can send them via twitter (@macminicolo) or using our contact page.
I’ll list the videos on this post as they become available:
I’ve had people write and ask how they can see what’s happening on their server. There are a lot of ways to do this, but fseventer is the best I know.
This application offers a GUI to watch all things that are changing on your Mac. It “observes filesystem changes using the same underlying API as Spotlight” so it is pretty thorough.
This is also a handy way to see what files are being changed when you run an installation or an update on your server.
The app is free…but quite forward about donations each time you quit the app. Get it here.
Whenever I set up a new Mac mini in the data center (or help someone set up their own to send in) I’ll always suggest to have “Remote Login” enabled whether they regularly use SSH or not. The reason for this is it gives you a second way in if you were to lock yourself out by turning off Apple Remote Desktop or Leopard’s Screen Sharing. It’s easy to do.
For Apple Remote Desktop 3.2 (all one line):
Contents/Resources/kickstart -configure -allowAccessFor -allUsers -privs -all
For earlier versions of Apple Remote Desktop, Apple has a nice document here.
For Leopard’s Screen Sharing:
$ cd /Library/Preferences
$ echo -n enabled > com.apple.ScreenSharing.launchd
(Thanks to this great hint on MacOSXHints.com.)
Computerworld has put together a short walkthrough on setting up Leopard Server with a Basic install.
“Leopard Server, the newest version of Mac OS X Server, sports many new updated features. One of the most innovative is a new interface that simplifies server setup and management. This new interface is designed primarily for small businesses or small workgroups within a larger organization that need server functionality but don’t have the resources to hire a full-time systems administrator.”
If this sounds like it could be of use to you, head on over for the text and photo walk through on how to get everything set up and running. You can read it here
If you’re like me, you may have quite a few servers in your ARD or VNC list. This little app is a nice reference tool while you’re working on different servers. Just put it in your applications folder and set it to run on startup and your IP address will be added to your menubar.
Head on over to the developer’s site to download the free application.