How I put my Mac mini to use as an all-purpose server

About two years ago, when all of my main desktop and laptop machines had long been transitioned to Macs, I was still running a Windows PC to act as my server. I used it mainly for e-mail running Kerio Mailserver, and furthermore it acted as a file server. As my willingness to keep this Windows system in good shape by applying all sorts of patches and updates degraded at almost the same speed as to which my desire to replace the last piece of Windows equipment with an Apple-solution grew, I decided to buy one of Apple’s only affordable “headless” desktop systems: a Mac mini.

Trading up to a Mac to use as my server gave me a lot of other advantages (apart from no longer having to keep a Windows system safe and secure), the most obvious being Apple’s excellent integration. Now, I can far more easily take over the server’s screen from my work-iMac, it is automatically backed up, it contains the same passwords for apps and website as my work machine, and it offers some other advantages all of which will be explained below in this article.

My Windows server was located in an unused room in my house, due to its ugly appearance, but most of all because of the sound generated by its fans. When the Mac mini came, silent as it is, my friend Martijn suggested to put it in the living room next to my entertainment equipment, “because it is too beautiful to hide away”. As always, he was right. We soon realised that by placing the Mac mini next to my TV and amplifier, and due to the “allways on” nature of a server, it could also be used for other purposes more focused on delivering audio and video content.

In this article, I want to give you an overview of all the things that I use my Mac mini for. Partly to inspire others, but mainly because I hope that readers will inspire me by giving me suggestions on how to even better put the machine to work.

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