One of Mac OS X’s sweetest perks is its inclusion of Apache, an industrial-strength Web server that’s used on thousands of popular Web sites. While you probably won’t want to use your everyday Mac to serve up a site that millions of people hit every day, having a local Web server makes it a breeze to test your own site designs before they go public. It also makes it easy to serve up a small site directly from the machine for family and friends (assuming your Internet service provider allows such things).
The Apache manual is quite the detailed resource, with a plethora of definitions and examples of various configuration settings. You can find it online in the Documentation section of the Apache Web site, http://httpd.apache.org/docs-project/.
On the other hand, if you’ve turned on Personal Web Sharing (in System Preferences → Sharing), you can read the whole enchilada right from your hard drive. This arrangement is handy when you need info about working on Apache but happen to be somewhere without an Internet connection, like 35,000 feet over Denver.
In your browser, load your account’s home page by typing http://127.0.0.1/~kirk (or whatever your account name is). Now click the Apache Manual link at the bottom of the page. Bingo! You’re now browsing the Apache manual from your own hard drive.
Mac OS X’s Network Utility (in your Applications → Utilities folder) lets you run a port scan (a way to identify