Using Apple OS X Lion Server as a Home Server (Websites, Blogs and Wikis)

Download the Using Apple OS X Lion Server at Home eBook Now

If you’ve been enjoying our Using Apple OS X Lion Server as a Home Server series, then make sure you pick up a copy of the accompanying eBook. You’ll find additional chapters and information on using OS X Lion Server to power your digital home that won’t be available here on the site, and with all of our walkthroughs available in one convenient document (ePub or PDF), it’s far easier to install and configure your server without having to click backward and forwards to the website.

Buy Using OS X Lion Server at Home – £14.99


Articles in this series…

Way back at the beginning of the series, we discussed the core features of a home server, and we’ve walked through most of those features as they appear in OS X Lion Server. In the last chapter, I showed you how to set up and configure the platform’s VPN server for remote access to files and folders. But we can also access a richer view of published content on the server (both internally and remotely) via a web browser, by setting up Apple’s Web and Wiki Servers.

Before switching on these two features, OS X Lion Server’s Remote Access experience in the web browser is restricted to a splash page, remote calendar (if enabled) and access to Profile Manager.



However, enable the Web and Wiki Servers and things will look a lot different. Before diving into the features they unlock, let’s get set up. At this point, I’m assuming that you have already configured your server’s domain name, DNS and have forwarded the necessary ports (80 and 443 in this case) on your router to point at the server. If you missed those steps, head back to the server configuration chapters at the beginning of the book.

Starting the Lion Server Web Server

On your OS X Lion Server, open up the Server app and in the left hand pane, select Web.  It’s a straightforward panel with the usual On/Off switch and a listing for your default website. More on that shortly. Throw the large On switch, and allow the server to grind away a little as it sets up and configures the Apache-powered web server and associated services.


In the Web Sites section, you should see an entry already listed. This is your default web site, with your Fully Qualified Domain Name (which can be a standard domain like a .com, or .private depending on your server setup) alongside the web site’s default location on the server. Once switched on, you’ll see a link at the bottom of the panel to View Server Web Site (you can guess what that one does, right?), but before we do that, let’s switch on the Wiki Server as well.

Starting the Lion Server Wiki Server

Wikis are a great way of building a displaying information digitally, as anyone who has used Wikipedia will testify. The concept is reasonably simple – pages of information which can be edited and added to by contributors with changes authorised and published by editors. OS X Lion Server ships with an integrated Wiki server which allows the creation and hosting of your own Wiki  – perfect for computer projects, hobbies, business use and more.

In the Server app, click the Wiki link in the left hand pane.


The Wiki configuration panel in Server app is even more minimalist than the Web Server panel. You can choose who is able to create Wikis (all users, or only specific users) via the drop down menu and… well, that’s about it. Throw the On switch and the magic begins.


  1. Interesting read. I’m slowly working through the book with my mac mini. I’m enjoying it so far, easy to understand. Where to next from here? What is the next exciting chapter about?

  2. Just had a HUGE success last night & had to share it.So almost 3 weeks ago I had corrupted my brand new Wiki website…..

    I had created them using the web interface & a ordinary user profile that was privileged enough to admin wikis, however mid way through the creation process I decided to make the ‘owner’ an admin profile & remove the ‘owner’ attribute of the current profile I was using to make it. When I finally hit the ‘make wiki’ button nothing really happened, so like the old web form submit buttons, I clicked it another 3 times to make sure, yup I sure did DOH.Resulting in 4 identical wiki front links that returned ‘server error’ when clicked on, so no I couldn’t even open the wiki & click on the cog wheel to select ‘settings’ & delete them the manual way through the web interface.Well I was going to be dammed if I was going to rebuild my Lion Server from scratch a 4th time (3 times a charm they say).It was clear to me, all I had to do was either wipe clean my wiki database…OR…connect to it & execute some SQL (even better find a nice GUI app) to delete my dirty little secret.So I searched high & low for years & years, at home, at work, on my iPhone on the bus/train, at night, days, writing on forums, getting dumb looks on Facebook….Alas all I could find were uber geeky terminal jibber jabber & mostly about ‘migrating’ Snow Leopard wikis to Lion, with lots of protected system file environmental changes that looked irreversible & leading inevitably down the road to Re-install #4.Finally I came across this I was unable to connect with PGADMIN3 app, kept getting obscure errors that no-one could help me with, I gave up & went back to searching & forums (still getting no answers from the Apple Community)Another week later still nothing & I was starting to play with SQL in Terminal after finding this I remembered that there was another Postgre SQL GUI that I had not tried with the earlier link….NAVICAT, it looked great, much nicer app than the pgadmin3. Open Sesame it connected first pop straight into the COLLAB db.I next made a backup easily of the collab database.I found the offending wiki’s in the ‘Entities’ table & attempted to delete them which returned an error saying I would have missing key violations in another table, so I copied all 4 UID’s for the Wiki’s in the Entities table & went searching for them in the other table mentioned in the error message.Children deleted successfully & went back to the Entities table to delete the wikis again only to find another error with another linked table name & again went off to delete the ‘children’.This went on for a dozen tables until I was finally allowed to delete the offending wikis & close NAVICAT.Fired up Safari & loaded my domain, logged in as admin & went straight to Wikis…..Bliss, Joy!….Dancing a jig, I had removed my dirty little secret & the remaining wiki content was left working just as Apple intended.

  3. Hi,
    Very good handbook as a startup for the Apple Lion Server indeed. Following the instructions from A to Z I’ve managed a working server on Mac OS Lion. 

    Yet I’m deeply missing a trouble shooting section ! 

    For instance, I’ve troubles to activate  BOTH the wiki AND a small website via the Web – server menu. Approaching the domain via 3G or external wifi always give preference to /wiki . From there I cannot navigate to my webpages, while wiki doesn’t have a navigation button / bar.

    Another tricky point is the link to the location of the default web-folder. The menu in the Server-pane  is mostly dimmed. So the IP-address is greyed, not giving the internal DHCP  code but “Willekeurig” (=dutch for random) ,  the location is also greyed ( “default”), as is the port (80) and the user privilege (“everybody”). This is a new point after installing Lion Server 10.7.3.

    Getting a certificate with godaddy  is not as easy as you describe being not an US citizen.
    You can’t go through the procedure easily when your domain, server or site are not stable. On the other hand you need certification to connect iPhone and  iPod clients and test it all.

    Friendly regards, 
    Frits Toben

  4. Terry, I have started your chapter on website hosting and wikis. I turned on the services and got the new “welcome to Mac Os X Lion Server” splash screen but, when I try to login to the “My Page” link, the screen greys out and there is a message that says, “You must be logged in to view this page”.  There is no place to log in, however. Moreover, up at the top of the page, there is another message that says, “Service Temporarily Unavailable…” Tried starting and stopping the web service and rebooting with no luck.  The connection is via https; i have a registered domain name for the page and an SSL certificate if those make any difference in figuring out what went wrong.  Any ideas

  5. Hi,

    I purchased “Using OSX Lion Server at Home” and it has been a great aid in my mission to set up a home server.
    There is one problem I just can’t find a solution for – accessing my server’s default website using HTTPS. If I set the SSL certificate to ‘none’ in server settings I can access the default page externally. When I attach a signed certificate (go daddy) I can no longer access my page. I also tried a self-signed but still no joy.

    Anyone got there site working with https?


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