One of my responsibilities is to manage a few of the school’s internal servers, including a couple of internal web servers for staff, faculty, and students. We use a host of apps to make it all happen but one of the best is a package that can turn a Mac into a Mac server.
The vast majority of the interwebs we view and traverse each day have their roots in a package of utilities and apps called LAMP. Various flavors of Linux, the famed Apache web server, the open source MySQL database, and the scripting language PHP. LAMP, for short. There is something similar for Windows PCs called WAMP.
What about the Mac? MAMP. What you get in this free local server environment is all the basic tools to run a web server, and it’s an excellent option to run and test WordPress websites. About 30-percent of all websites on planet earth run WordPress (free and open source), and MAMP makes it drop dead easy on the Mac.
While using the Mac may not be the best public facing web server, it could not be much easier to turn a Mac into a local web server with WordPress and MAMP. The free version is an excellent way to start rolling your own, but let me focus on MAMP Pro which has a modest price tag and a much longer list of features. The free version allows for a single host on a Mac while the Pro version is unlimited. The latest version also has many new WordPress-centric options which are key to setting up, maintaining, and managing websites on a local Mac.
All the basic website tools are included. Apache, MySQL, PHP, plus Python, Perl, Ruby, and a variety of PHP extensions. Many high performance options are included in Pro, too– Dynamic DNS, SSL, Memcached, Postfix/SMTP, and one-click installation of WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and other content management systems.
MAMP Pro also lets you use your Mac as a live copy of your public WordPress website. It’s an easy way to test new website designs, try out new plugins and templates, and modify a copy of the WordPress site without touching the production site. Also built in are options to migrate a WordPress website from one server to another. MAMP features another option called MAMP Cloud for remote storage and backup.
If all this sounds intriguing but you’re unsure of how it all works or what steps to take first, just download and install MAMP free. That will get you started. As you progress in experience, the Pro options will begin to look attractive.
There is no easier point and click method to turning your Mac into a web server.