If you run a Web site, chances are that you have a dedicated Web server at your facility or, more likely, managed for you by a Web host. These commercial-grade servers can handle the network load and have someone who makes sure that everything is running 24/7. From that server, you make your Web site available to the world. Likewise, you might have an FTP server set up at your facility or offered by your Web host to share files with clients and co-workers, using the File Transfer Protocol.
But your Mac can be that server, either to the entire Web or to people within your local network, thanks to the Mac OS's Web serving and FTP serving capabilities.
We don't recommend using your Mac as a server connected to the Internet — that can open you up to all sorts of hacking problems, as Chapter 23 explains. Plus, you need a continually available high-speed Internet connection to that Mac, which must be left on 24/7. You'll be hard pressed to find an Internet service provider (ISP) that offers such connections for home-based users.
Sure, if you're a network whiz, you can put the Mac outside the local network, using a business-class Internet connection so your internal users aren't at risk. But if you have that capability, you're better off using a server operating system such as Mac OS X Server, Linux, or Windows Server to offer your ...