I will be using Mac OS X Server to hold an email server, web hosting, DNS and iOS and Mac development and I was wondering if you guys think Mac OS X Snow Leopard would do me just fine or if Server would be the best bet. So far, when setting up server tools on Snow Leopard it seems to be tedious but from the overview page on Apple's website, Server seems to be able to perform tasks with ease. Should I just use Snow Leopard or go for the Server?

  • In would say that server admin tools are the opposite of tedious given the alternatives for other server os tools. Getting those tools integrated with the server software is why people pay for server in the first place, not a reason to avoid it.
    – bmike
    May 4, 2011 at 4:54

2 Answers 2


The admin tools that OS X Server provides for DNS configuration almost justify its use on its own. Combined with your needs of email, web, and development hosting, definitely go with Server. I will assume you have the appropriate hardware for running OS X server, because a regular iMac won't do; you need either an Xserve (no longer manufactured, but available used) or a Mac Pro (a Mac Mini Server might suffice, but it will be sluggish).

  • You can run the Server editions of OS X on any Mac without problems, but you are correct that the Xserve (no longer sold) and the Mac Pro will be speediest.
    – Cajunluke
    Mar 22, 2011 at 13:56
  • There is no way you would run a production server on desktop hardware.
    – user4573
    Mar 25, 2011 at 23:01
  • Why not? macminicolo.net does just fine (and, true to their name, they run everything on Mac minis). It's not like server hardware is different or special. Maybe you've customized it for more RAM or disk space or many cores or one very fast core depending on intended workloads, but for most people, a desktop-class machine (or even a laptop) will work great as a server. When you reach the point where it won't you'll know, and you can get a mess of servers customized to fit your particular needs.
    – Cajunluke
    Mar 25, 2011 at 23:19

It depends on how good you are at configuring the relevant services in Unix-land. All the services you mentioned can be run from the non-server version, but OS X Server has that sort of thing pre-configured and maybe even a nice GUI for management purposes.

  • Yea, not only do I want the server stuff but I also want to do general computing on it. Day to day stuff whilst still running the server service in the background.
    – dbramhall
    Mar 21, 2011 at 19:16
  • Either will work: the only difference is that Server has additional services preinstalled. It will work great as a desktop general-computing machine.
    – Cajunluke
    Mar 21, 2011 at 20:09

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