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Would Mac OS X Server be better than Mac OS X for hosting a web server? I've checked out the Mac OS X Server page and it seems like its more of office server features rather than Web Server features, am I correct on this?

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Is there any reason you have to use MacOS, or could you use a different operating system alltogether? – Mark Henderson Apr 11 '10 at 23:18
I could use any Linux distro (as long as its free). I'm already running Ubuntu and Trubolinux if either of those will work better. – Mark Szymanski Apr 11 '10 at 23:25
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'm with Farseeker on this: any Linux or BSD distro is going to be arguably "better" at hosting Apache than Mac OS X client or server, because the "server" flavor of Ubuntu is very stripped down, even more so with one of the BSDs. I can't say what it would take to pare down OS X Server for a Web server only role, but running ps waux on my Mac OS X laptop compared to my Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Web server tells me that you're likely going to spend some time getting it where you want/need it to be.

It's also much less expensive -- the amount you'll pay for a Mac OS X client/server would buy you a very capable Web server from Dell, HP, IBM, etc.

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Both Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server come with Apache and are capable of acting as web servers. I used to manage an OS X Server machine which acted as a web and file server, handling over 10 requests/second without any issue.

The advantage of Server verses Client is as radius said: Server has management tools whereas Client does not. But using google and the command line CLient can be made to do just about everything Server can. (I have an OS X Client machine acting as a file server, DHCP server, Name Server and Netboot Server)

Also keep in mind that if you want official support from Apple, you need OS X Server. In business situations, this is a major reason to choose server.

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In your case the difference between Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server will be additional management tool for the underlying web server (apache). So if you need a management interface take Mac OS X Server, if your are comfortable with command line Mac OS X will do the job as well as the Server version.

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In addition to management tools, Server also comes pre-installed with several things that a web server may need, like MySQL and PHP (Actually, client may come with PHP now... but it doesn't come with MySQL) There may be other things like that that come with Server, but those are the ones that I personally use...

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Depends on how you define better. We had a couple of OS X boxes running when I was still an admin at a local university. The staff loved it, because it enabled average users to admin the boxes. However, when they are facing the internet that could also be a very scary though.

Overall I found the graphical tools to be quite nice, but in the end I'd prefer a *nix/BSD machine over OS X as just a webserver unless you require some specific features such as iCal sharing or things like that.

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Both stock installs of Mac OS X 10.6 and Mac OS X server 10.5 built-in Apache's are slower in serving static files than IIS on Windows and nginx on linux boxes. The difference for an .html page loading 1 css file and 5 images is almost factor 4.

By default Mac OS X serves the page never below 1.15 seconds where both windows and nginx on linux serve the full page starting in the 0.3 second range. See Why does IIS on Windows 2003 serve web pages significantly (0.3s) faster than Apache on Mac OS (1.1s)?

TCP tweaking might be needed on OS X which come by default on Windows and might come by default on Linux installations.

For Apache on OS X vs OS X server. The OS X server is by default better configured for server usage. These settings can also be configured on desktop OS X, but it takes time to find, test and tweak your desired settings.

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