When I saw a deal offered by Macminicolo.net on Daring Fireball, I was interested. Then I found out the cost of entry could be reduced even further by “renting” a Mac mini instead of buying one.
I went into this adventure with Macminicolo.net having never used a Mac server before, and in just a night I had the following up and running:
- Hosting for Benbrooks.me
- Email for Benbrooks.me (Or so I thought. Turns out I was only half way there)
- A VPN to route all internet traffic through.
Granted I found guides all over the web that were easy to find and fairly easy to follow.
More advanced things required some guidance, which luckily was also readily available.
At this point I decided that I wanted to try and port the hosting for Brooksreview.net over to the mini (Spoiler: that’s what is serving the site now.) and so I started following guides to get WordPress up and running. I found out that you don’t need MAMP, just MySQL installed — one less app running, but then I got a bit, well, nervous.
Yes, I had an instance of WordPress up and running, but I suck at managing databases and I was worried about messing up the migration — especially losing my Mint stats… again.
So I hired Rusty Ross to give me a hand getting everything else setup. And I’m glad I did because there are so many disastrous pitfalls that I would have tripped into had I not hired Rusty. You should hire him.
There’s no practical reason I can think of to move from one of the many lower cost options to a Mac mini if all you want to do is to host some email and a website or four.
The advantage to having the Mac mini is that I have a lot of control and a lot of flexibility.
I can do the typical Mac server things like running Mail.app and having rules set up. Or running Torrents, or what have you. There’s a lot of things that I can do.
What I am doing right now is:
- VPN for use when I am not on a trusted network.
- Running Mail.app so that my rules work all the time.
- Synchronizing OmniFocus (which is a way faster solution).
- Using the Transmission web interface should I need to download a Torrent.
- Hosting all of my websites.
- Hosting all of my email.
- Using Scrup as my own personal Cloud.app.
- Storing all of my Dropbox on it, while using Selective Sync on my Mac. (OwnCloud is great, but no apps support it, so there is limited iOS utility right now.)
- Using BitTorrent sync for work files.
I’ve only scratched the surface of what I can do. There are a lot more automated tasks that I will push to the mini in future.
This little mini is really fantastic; fast to work with, and overall a better performing, more cost effective solution for my needs.