While most people think of Mac OS X as a client system only, you can also run Mac OS X as a server. If you need Apple’s advanced administration tools, you could purchase and use Mac OS X Server (http://www.apple.com/server/macosx), but if you’re comfortable with the command line, the client version can be coerced a bit to run as a server.
The services that power the Sharing preference panel are based on the same servers that power much of the Internet:
OpenSSH for remote login
Samba for Windows file sharing
Apache for web publishing
However, the System Preferences are limited in what they will let you do. To unleash the full power of Mac OS X as a server, you’ll need to install your own administrative tools or edit the configuration files by hand.
If you’re using a Mac as a production server, then you are probably either co-locating it at your hosting provider’s facility or bringing a dedicated line into your home or office.
If you’re running a Mac as a server for personal use, you can probably get away with plugging into a residential broadband connection and opening a hole in your firewall. You can do many fun things with a personal server:
If your email provider isn’t reliable, or doesn’t support the way you want to access your email, you can forward all your email to your personal server and retrieve it from there—whether you’re in your home office or on the road.
When you’re on the road, there might ...