Run website from home server?

My wife and I run small businesses from our home, and have part time workers coming in every so often and have them working on several computers, including computers they may bring in on their own. I recently set up an old mac running Catalina as a server to share files… and it occurs to me, can I run a website off the server?

I do need to set up a small website for a local community group, so won’t be too demanding. Would I be crazy for doing this?

I do have very high speed internet, typically 400-500 mbps range download and 18 to 20 upload. The computer, an older MacBook pro, is running Catalina with a 1 terabyte SSD.

If not a totally dumb idea, How would I go about this? Could I set it up to serve email as well? (We have a domain for my wife’s business, but all we do with that domain is email at this point.)

Let me know what you think.




Technically, you could do what you suggest - provided you weren’t contravening your contract with your ISP (AT&T, for instance, forbids it).

Then you’d have to set up domain name servers so that your incoming http calls could be resolved to your domain’s raw IP address etc.

A firewall would be essential… you can guarantee constant attempts on your security.

And you have checked that your two computers are specced for Catalina indefinitely, have you?

And thought about backups and potential downtime.

It’d be an interesting project - but I think in the long run more work than finding a good host, whom you’d let worry about those issues; you’d be paying - sometimes very little - for their experience and expertise. Good luck!

Could you? Yes. Should you? Probably not.

You can easily setup Apache, PHP and even mySQL to server web pages. In fact a version of Apache and PHP are probably on the Mac right now.

  • Your ISP probably won’t allow it
  • If they do You would need a dedicated IP (usually extra charge)
  • Firewalls, Firewalls, Firewalls along with intuition dedication
  • The upload speed(18-20 mbps) isn’t nearly fast enough. Every page you serve to every user is an upload.

For what hosting companies charge you’d probably be better off just staying with them.

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Okay, that all makes sense, sounds like it can be done but a lot more involved than I thought.

The inveterate do-it-yourselfer in me. I have my personal web site on hosting company, but I can’t help thinking that “I have a server right here…” and if I didn’t ask would keep bothering me. But I think you have answered the question that probably not worth doing, I have a host, so that itch will be sufficiently scratched for now. :slight_smile:



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