Your first web site on your home server can be attractive and competent.
My previous article pointed out that a $799 eMac (with a little more RAM) could make a very good personal home web server. Mac OS X comes complete with all the tools you need to get started.
The end result will be a steady, durable, dependable web server on your home Mac. It’ll be more secure than a Windows server, cost about the same, and be much easier to manage and maintain.
Click Here to review the steps to make your Mac a home web server for about $7.00 a month (plus your Mac and your Internet connection, which you should already have).
What about content? “What should I put on my Mac,” you ask? Fear not. Content is king and it’s easier to develop attractive web content than you might think.
As I noted in my previous article, JAlbum makes great web site photo galleries and it’s free. If you have digital photos in iPhoto, they can be used to start your first web site.
After that, let’s step it up a notch. You’ll need a graphics application to create logos, buttons, etc. If you have Adobe’s Photoshop CS or Macromedia’s Studio MX 2004, fine. Each package will cost about as much as an eMac so let me focus on two important applications to help you develop content but not break your bank account.
GraphicConverter – For the money, there’s probably not a better graphic application available for the Mac or any platform. Lemke Software develops GraphicConverter and updates it regularly. It’s one of the best graphics deals you’ll find and highly recommended. Click Here to look at the features. Price: $35. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of GC.
RapidWeaver – Attractive graphics alone won’t make a web site. Remember, there’s all that HTML code you have to write to make the site look like a web site. While HTML isn’t particularly difficult to learn, there’s still an effort required, and the learning curve to produce attractive web sites will take time.
Remember, my previous article on the home web site server for $7.00 a month said you’d be up and running in a few days (most of that time waiting for the domain name).
Enter RapidWeaver. For quick, simple, attractive web sites, nothing is better. Click Here to read Tera’s extensive review of RapidWeaver. She shows how to build a number of web sites in 30-minutes. That’s right. Half an hour. Click, click, click.
What’s nice about RapidWeaver is that you don’t need to know or worry about HTML coding to produce attractive web pages.
These are not just simple text pages, either, as Tera’s review points out. She created pages with photos, pages with embedded movies, pages with links to other pages and sites, pages with music, and pages that just look different than other pages. Click, click, click. No code.
RapidWeaver hit version 3.0.2 today so it’s become a mature application for Mac OS X. $35 will get you a lot content development power to create professional, attractive web sites, even if you’ve never even seen HTML code (you can continue in your bliss).
Click Here to view Tera’s first try with RapidWeaver. Oh, one more thing. Both GraphicConverter and RapidWeaver are “try-before-you-buy” applications so your risk is nominal.
Think about it. A humble Apple eMac can become a home-based web server, complete with your personal domain name, for about $7.00 a month (not including your Internet connection). You can run a powerful web server, capable of handling thousands of visitors to you site each day; on the very Mac you use for iTunes and AppleWorks.
But does it scale? Can you scale that same Mac to advance to PHP scripting applications, database server applications, bulletin boards, and so on?
The answer is yes. The PHP scripting language is Open Source and free for Mac OS X. It’ll install just like any other Mac application. Ditto for the popular and powerful MySQL database. Click, click, click, and your Mac gains tremendous power.
How much? Let me save that for the next installment where I tell you how we did it—we migrated from an original flat-panel iMac G4 to an eMac (it was much faster than the iMac, and cheaper), to a dual 2.0 ghz PowerMac G5 which runs a content management system.
Low cost. High power. Way cool. Just like your Mac.