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Wordpress hosting with Macminicolo and ServerPilot | Macminicolo Blog - Tips, tutorials and reviews on running a Mac mini server

Wordpress hosting with Macminicolo and ServerPilot

One of the more common requests from potential customers is to have a server to "host a bunch of wordpress sites." Often it is a small hosting company that just needs a server that they own and control to host the sites of their customers. This is definitely possible on OS X with a LAMP install, or you can even do it manually. (Though, that takes some skill.)

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If you’re looking for a rock solid Wordpress server on a Mac mini, ServerPilot plus Ubuntu is a great option. (Remember, you can run Ubuntu natively on a Mac mini, or as a virtual machine.)

ServerPilot is a service that will optimize an Ubuntu server for Wordpress as well as any other PHP application. It goes really well with services like DigitalOcean or Rackspace as that’s what it’s mostly designed to do.

Why would you want to use a Mac mini for this?

macminiWe are an OS X heavy company for sure. We love it. But sometimes there’s a single purpose for a server here. If that purpose is wordpress hosting, this is a great option.

The main reason is that it will be on a machine that you own and control. When you or your customer has data on the machine, it’s good to be in control of the machine.

Pricing is another consideration.
DigitalOcean is great. You have a lot of options for service levels. If you look at the pricing, it’d be pretty easy to match or exceed many of the available hardware plans. For instance, a server with 8GB of RAM and an 80GB SSD would be $80/mo. You could put your upgraded Mac mini in a data center with 16GB of RAM and 1TB SSD and host it for as low as $35/mo.

With Rackspace, well, who knows really. I tried to look at pricing and options but I was lost in the site and mostly just backed away from my browser.

More on ServerPilot and a Mac mini

If you have a Mac mini with Ubuntu installed, you can have ServerPilot log into the machine and automate the setup on a number of things. From their site:

What ServerPilot Does
  • Software Installation – ServerPilot installs all of the software your server needs, including PHP, MySQL, Nginx, and Apache.
  • Firewall Configuration – ServerPilot secures your server with an iptables firewall.
  • Automatic Updates – ServerPilot keeps your server's packages updated.
  • Simple Control Panel – ServerPilot's control panel makes it easy to host multiple sites on a server, manage databases, change PHP versions, deploy SSL, and more.
  • AutoSSL – With AutoSSL, ServerPilot enables free SSL certicates for your apps' domains.
  • Stats and Monitoring – ServerPilot provides stats and monitoring for your servers and apps. (Paid)

How to get started

When you signup with Macminicolo, we'll put OS X on the machine by default. From there, you can install a VM of Ubuntu. If you prefer to have Ubuntu boot natively, just mention it when you signup and we'll take care of it for you at no cost. Once the machine is live, follow the tutorial below:

First you need to get the Mac mini ready. To do this, you have to enable the root user for SSH with a password. Don’t be afraid. We’re jumping in terminal:

Connect to your machine with your regular user in SSH

ssh user@IPAddress

First we’ll enable it in sshd_config

sudo nano -w /etc/ssh/sshd_config

comment out the following line:

PermitRootLogin without-password

Just below it, add the following line:

PermitRootLogin yes

Writeout with Control-O and then exit

Then set a password for root

sudo passwd root

And then finally, reload the SSH service

sudo service ssh reload

Then you can exit terminal.

Now it’s over to ServerPilot where you can create an account.

Once you login, you’ll be able to add a server to your account.
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It’s pretty simple by filling in the IP address, the root password, and the password that you’d like server pilot to use.
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The machine will run through the automated process
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And it will confirm when the machine is ready
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When it’s done going through the process, then you're all set to create your first app. (You can also log back into your server and change the root password if you’d like. Serverpilot no long needs it for access.)
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It will confirm the install
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And you can add multiple domains for that install
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Then you can go to your URL and it'll show you the default install of Wordpress
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Then you can go back and add as many domains as you'd like to run on your server
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Conclusion

One of the benefits of a Mac mini is that there are so many ways to use one in a data center. IF you're looking for dead simple wordpress installation and hosting, this is a great route to take. As usual, if you have anything to add to this tutorial or other tips on running a Mac mini server, you can find us on Twitter @macminicolo.

Update:

A helpful tweet from a Macminicolo customer