You may not realize it, but your Mac is a server too.
Why you want a macOS home server, and how to get one going
It contains all the software you need to host websites, manage email, serve files, and much more. All you need to do is turn on these "services.
Most users don't need a server, but I'm going to explain a few reasons why you might want to bring an old Mac to life with OS X Server. It's inexpensive, easy to set up, and offers a lot of advantages. When you've downloaded it to your old Mac, launch the app and follow its instructions. You'll need to choose a name for the server, and you'll be asked to enter your Apple ID and password to use certain services.
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Server will take a couple of minutes to do its duties, then it'll be ready. You'll notice that Server is an app. You use this app to configure, manage, and control services. You'll want to install it on your server to manage that computer, but you may also want to install it on another Mac, the one you use everyday.
Understanding macOS Server Part 1: Background and Setup | Other World Computing Blog
You can run your OS X server "headless," without a monitor, keyboard, or mouse, and control it, using the Server app, from another Mac. If you want to work with a headless server, try now, from your other Mac, to connect to your server. Open the Server app, and see if your server is listed. If not, try clicking "Other Mac" and entering its host name, in the form name. So if you named your server MyServer, you would enter MyServer. You'll use the same user name and password that was already set up on that Mac to authenticate.
When the Server app opens, you'll see an Overview screen, along with a lot of options in the sidebar. I won't look at all of them; you can find out more about the available services on Apple's OS X Server Tutorials page. I'm going to look at three services in this article:. This service lets your server keep copies of updates and apps you download to your Macs and iOS devices.
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These devices don't need to be configured; they automatically discover the server, and downloads go through the server, are stored there, then get passed on to the devices. If you have more than one Mac or iOS device, any apps or updates you download will be cached , or stored on the server, so the other devices don't need to download them.
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This saves you time and bandwidth. However, for iOS devices, this only works with updates for the exact same model of a device; a cached update to iOS for your iPad won't work on your iPhone, and an iPhone 6s update won't work on an iPhone SE. All you need to do to turn this on is click "Caching" in the sidebar, and toggle the switch to On. You can also choose to cache iCloud Data, if you wish.
At the bottom of the Caching pane, you choose how much space you want the cache to use. As you can see in the below image, my server is currently using So you could set, say, 50 GB for caching, and be more than comfortable. You may not need to use the File Sharing service, but if you want a centralized storage location for files on your network, you can activate this service. Click "File Sharing" in the sidebar, toggle the switch to On, and then add folders in the Shared Folders section. You can connect one or more external drives to your server, so you can have virtually unlimited storage for your files.
I use it, among other things, for my video collection, using Plex. This software runs on my server, and allows me to view videos on my Apple TV, my Macs, my iOS devices, and even remotely. OS X Server lets you back up your Macs over your network to the server. So if you have one or more laptops in your household, you can set them to back up automatically to Time Machine on the server, rather than worrying about connecting external hard drives to them for backups.
There are several available from other companies, and those who need this feature have probably already made their choices. But if Apple ups their game, it's possible that their Profile Manage could be superior to third-party options. Another possibility is that Apple makes macOS Server a tool for home users to easily manage the multiple Apple devices they own. A family of four, with a couple of Macs, a few iPhones, an iPad or two, an Apple TV, and perhaps even a HomePod, find it difficult to manage all these devices. It's a hassle to control your kids' devices; you have lots of software to download every time there's an update, and an easy-to-use backup solution for all the devices could be practical.
There are also other features that home users could benefit from, such as a shared photo library, a master iTunes library for those who have large music collections, and easier ways of sharing contacts and calendars. It's possible that Apple is finally going to create a true "digital hub" for its many users who find it confusing to manage multiple devices.
This change will affect the dwindling number of users who run macOS Server.
What you need to know
For them, the best solution might be to not upgrade until they're sure they have alternate means of doing what their server does for them. For others—notably businesses, and, perhaps, home users—the updates to Server could be positive. No matter what, this marks a change in Apple's direction, the point where they full acknowledge that Macs aren't made for heavy lifting as severs any more. If you do depend on macOS Server, you may want to not upgrade the Mac you use as a server; neither the Server app, nor the operating system, as new versions may require an update to the Server app itself.
Do you still use macOS Server or are you in the camp that believes it is no longer needed?
Have something else to say about this story? Share your comments below! As I opined when this was first mentioned, I think this is a terrible retrograde step for Apple.
Bring an Old Mac to Life with OS X Server
No wonder they cannot break into the enterprise market when they keep pulling the carpet from under the feet of those who were actually using Macs for serious stuff. Ha, just like Apple using linux for their own servers which says it all really. I suppose you live out in the woods? Thanks for the thoreau rundown. I do live in a rural area, but Walden has long been a touchstone for me.
The book, not the place. Apple is abandoning the SOHO user by this move.