I've never used a mac before so I'm not exactly sure about this:

A client wants me to make a website for him and host it on his Mac server. The website is obviously going to be created with PHP and MySQL.

How can I set-up a Mac computer to be used for a production server? I believe Mac computers come bundled with an Apache server, can this be used for production? Is there any program that allows me to set-up a production-ready server on a Mac?

(MySQL, PHP and FTP support are required)


Yes, Apache is fine for production web sites. The most important consideration is security. SANS publishes a guide on secure Apache installations on Macs here

  • Does Apache on Mac include MySQL and how could I get FTP support? – Chaim May 13 '11 at 14:36
  • mod_ftp provides FTP support with Apache, however it may be best to use something else such as the native Sharing controls in OSX. MySQL will need to be installed separately, it's not a part of Apache. – Hyppy May 13 '11 at 14:42
  • 2
    Chaim - If you think MySQL is an Apache component. then whether or not you use a Mac-based server is not your biggest problem. I strongly suggest you get help from someone a bit more experienced. – Rob Moir May 14 '11 at 10:10

Yes, you can probably do this, but if it were me I would run Virtual Box or some other virtualization tool and run the website in a CentOS or Ubuntu machine underneath OSX. This may sound like a lot of overhead, but my mind keeps thinking of having to build this and that from source and I'd personally much rather have the package management tools of Ubuntu or CentOS for installing and maintaining applications.

Let's not forget this also gives you snapshotting in case you totally fubar something, and the ability to take full backups or copy the machine for development elsewhere, a major plus. Any Mac you buy today probably has enough horsepower to do this.


being a big Apple fan (since 1992) and OS X admin I wouldn't recommend OS X based server for pure web/ftp/email hosting. There are other solutions (Ubuntu, CentOS etc) which are way cheaper and in the most cases easier to setup. If yo don't know what am I talking about simply try to create a ftp only user on OS X Server. Other problem could be for example adding another extension into PHP.

OS X Server excels in integration of services and user accounts which comes to mind in the service bureaus, labs etc. where you need client/server cooperation. There is nothing better there.

  • Thanks, I don't have much choice in this case - my client specifically wants me to use his mac server. – Chaim May 14 '11 at 21:39
  • Other than cost and learning curve, do you have any other, purely technical reasons for this advice? – user101340 Aug 9 '14 at 13:02

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