MacStadium Knowledge Base

Dedicated Macs

FAQs
After I sign up for a dedicated Mac, what happens next?

After you create an account and select your Mac server subscription, then:

  • You are immediately provided:
    - Full access to your customer dashboard
    - Specific subscription information including your IP addresses
  • Then, a new provisioning support ticket will be created to track the release of your server
  • A new server will be provisioned for you according to your selection during checkout
  • You will receive instructions via email and the ticketing system in your customer dashboard with instructions for accessing the server

Due to the potential for delays, we recommend that all new users first subscribe to a Mac mini with instant availability to test network connectivity, latency, and the speed of the hosted Mac. 

If you selected a server with instant availability (e.g. a Mac mini running macOS 10.12), you will receive an email after subscribing containing the access instructions.

For custom orders (hardware, networking, or operating system), our technicians will begin configuring your server upon checkout. This can take up to 24 hours or longer in some cases of limited parts availability.

Can I change the OS on my server from macOS to Linux?

One of the benefits of the hypervisor is the ability to install multiple operating systems on one system. If your subscription is a Mac mini with quad core i7 CPU, you can run multiple virtual machines with various operating systems on the server.

In the past we installed the VMware ESXi hypervisor and created a Linux virtual machine by request. Due to the complex nature of installing Linux and the many variations available, we now offer the base VMware ESXi installation with no virtual machines included. Customers may install virtual machines on their own.

We don’t do any initial operating system customization. When you initially order a server with macOS on it, it's macOS on the bare metal Mac just as if you’d bought it at a store. 

Can I run a Daylite server on a hosted Mac?

Yes. With a server at MacStadium, you’ll have access to a dedicated Mac in a data center to host your Daylite server and can be online in a matter of a couple hours.

By taking advantage of external storage, you can setup automated Time Machine backups of your Daylite server to protect your data. Read more on our Daylite landing page.

Since you have control of the whole server, you can use it for other services, too. Along with Daylite, you can also host your website, file sharing, mail server, etc. 

Can I use a remote Mac for iOS application development?

Yes, our service is popular among individual developers and large teams developing apps for iOS. 

Certain forms of application development require that a physical iOS device is connected to emulate and test the application. This can be done over the wire (across the internet) using a USB over IP solution. One common solution that other customers have recommended is Eltima's USB over Network for Mac software

Can a hosted Mac server offer a virtual desktop at 4k resolution?

After some minor upgrades, a hosted Mac can make a great virtual desktop interface. By connecting a GPU enabler to the unused HDMI port, we can make the Mac believe it's connected to a display. This simple addition causes the Mac server to then enable GPU acceleration by emulating a display. New, high-definition display resolutions are then available for users connecting via screen sharing, VNC, or remote desktop.

By default, we include a fit-Headless GPU enabler on every new dedicated server. The GPU enabler we provide offers up to 1080p resolution. We have small and large customers who either send in or request that we custom order GPU enablers that can support up to 4k resolution or 4k plus high refresh rates. fit-Headless offers HDMI GPU enablers for this purpose.

Can you assist with the configuration of my Mac?

Our remote hands service covers basic hardware and OS setup to ensure that you can gain access to your Mac via remote SSH, VNC, or Screen Sharing. We are a fully-staffed service organization with technicians and engineers available around the clock - many of whom are highly trained on solutions which involve Apple hardware. 

If you need further, more-specific help setting up more detailed aspects of the OS or included software, we will try to help if we can provide guidance. But, MacStadium is an infrastructure services provider, and not an IT support organization. For this reason, we often refer more advanced support issues dealing with custom configuration of your OS or software to one of our partners who specialize in IT configuration and management.

Do I have root and admin access to subscription-based Mac servers?

For every subscription to a hosted Mac running macOS, we provide an adminstrator account and the ability to modify system-level files. Login as administrator to a Mac running macOS and you have complete control over the system.

SSH and VNC access are enabled by default on dedicated servers so you can access them from any device. It's no different than if the server were on your local network.

We do require that you follow the guidelines set in our Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy which you must agree to during checkout.

Do I need a VNC server installed on my Mac?

One of the more popular free VNC tools used by our clients, RealVNC, now offers their server product under the name VNC Connect. Customers often ask us whether they need VNC Connect on their Mac running macOS.

Apple’s macOS also includes a built-in default VNC server. We enable this for every hosted Mac running any version of macOS before releasing the server to a customer.

To connect to one of our Mac servers running macOS, you need a VNC client like the one RealVNC offers, VNC Viewer. VNC Connect is not required.

Does MacStadium offer a hosted iMac Pro?

Not yet, but soon! We're still finalizing some aspects of the offering, but an iMac Pro private beta starts soon. Sign up here if you'd like to participate in the beta or get updates about the iMac Pro as we prepare for release.

Does MacStadium require a server edition of the Mac mini for colocation?

The quad-core i7 model Mac mini was previously available in a server variant with redundant disk drives and either the Server version of OS X (up until OS X 10.7) or a copy of the macOS Server application in versions 10.8 and newer. macOS Server can be purchased from the App Store.

However, Apple removed the server model from the product offering with the Mac mini update in late 2014. We still offer subscriptions of the quad-core i7 Mac mini with redundant hard drives or with a SSD. For CPU-intensive tasks, the i7 Mac mini is the best value. You are free to colocate any model of Mac mini at MacStadium. See related articles for more details about colocation.

How do I connect to my Mac the first time?

All Mac mini subscriptions are pre-configured to allow you to connect using the following methods:

  • macOS Screen Sharing: Open Safari and type vnc://192.168.1.186 (replacing the IP address with one provided in your install ticket)
  • VNC: Download your favorite free VNC viewer/client such as Apple’s Remote Desktop app, RealVNC, TightVNC or others
  • SSH Terminal: Use your OS’s built in terminal, or download a SSH solution for Windows like PuTTY to gain console access

Once you have connected to your Mac for the first time, you can install other common remote access solutions such as SplashTop, TeamViewer, or LogMeIn.

How do I order multiple servers at one time?

If you are registering and have an immediate need for five or more machines, you will first need to verify your billing information before you can order them. 

After your registration is complete, you can either complete a single subscription or head into your customer dashboard to add additional machines to your account. If you would rather get five or more machines at once and you can provide the technical specifications for each Mac (or you need something not shown in the configuration wizard), open up a support ticket with the Other type and submit your request to our support team.

Special and Large Orders

For customers who add new subscriptions once a week or more slowly, the regular configuration tool is the best approach to spinning up individual machines as it gives our system the ability to instantly provision minis already staged.

Customers wanting a new machine or machines with the exact same software image as an existing subscription can have the source machine cloned to any number of other machines by opening a support ticket.  

Click here for more details on how to order multiple servers.

How do the different Mac computers compare?

We shared the following graphic in a blog post about growing pains to explain the different levels of dedicated servers available. While there are plenty of other use cases for each level of server, this is a baseline to develop your infrastructure environment.

Dedicated Mac Server Comparison

Keep in mind a private cloud can consist of any of the single dedicated servers in the graphic so price and performance can vary dramatically.

Is the Mac mini a good server?

With our custom rack infrastructure, remote hands capability, and network infrastructure expertise, the Mac mini is a viable server platform for any small to medium-sized business requiring managed Apple hardware running macOS in a data center. The Mac mini is an efficient and cost-effective server platform that performs very well with both Intel i5 and i7 CPU options. It holds its own against many other server platforms in its class, and while using less space with a fraction of the power footprint.

When Apple discontinued manufacture and sale of the Xserve blade servers, they published an Xserve to Mac mini transition guide sharing a positive opinion on utilizing the Mac mini as a server.

Is there macOS software to replace the popular web hosting software offered by Linux VPS providers?

Below are some tools that allow users to exploit the power and reliability of the Apple macOS platform, and still have the familiar *NIX-type experience.

  • macOS Server by Apple is available in the App Store for $19.99 and installs as an app and service within macOS. It includes a web server among other utilities.
  • MAMP / MAMP Pro is similar to Linux LAMP. “MAMP” stands for Macintosh, Apache, MySQL and PHP. MAMP can be installed on macOS 10.10 or greater and includes a friendly user interface.
  • MACPorts is a more advanced method that provides a command-line method of installing software packages under BSD to access thousands of ports and greatly simplifies compiling and installing open-source software on your Mac.
  • HomeBrew is the latest BSD/*NIX package manager for macOS, and is a great alternative to MACPorts.

The Mac is a powerful Intel-based hardware platform that can run any OS – not just macOS.

MacStadium offers VMware ESXi as a means to install all variants of Linux as virtual machines on a hosted Mac. This includes generic distributions like Debian, Ubuntu, and CentOS, as well as packaged distributions that include software like cPanel and Plesk.

I’m interested in a single Mac mini… what should I do?

The best option is to sign up online with a credit card - you’ll be up and running almost immediately. A dedicated mini will perform almost exactly like a mini sitting on your desk… just with more security, better uptime, and higher bandwidth. There is even a 24-hour trial so you can check performance and bandwidth.  

What are MacStadium’s proprietary Mac Pro upgrades?

Dual power, dual 10G ethernet, fiber channel (which allows you to access SAN in a cloud environment).

What is instant provisioning and how long does it take?

Instant Provisioning is MacStadium developed technology that allows us to deliver ready-to-go dedicated servers to customers 24x7x365 within seconds of checkout.

When you complete checkout, an installation ticket is opened. If the requested server is available for Instant Provisioning, the ticket will be automatically closed by our systems and an email sent to you which includes your server's IP address and user login credentials (username and password).

We typically have 50-100 servers ready to go for Instant Provisioning. We strive to keep our most popular subscription models available for Instant Provisioning for both Pro (100Mbps) and Elite (1000Mbps) Hosting packages.

If you are requesting a server that has an OS other than macOS, you should be prepared to wait a couple of hours for the server to be custom provisioned for your request.

What is the difference between a dedicated server and colocation?

The majority of our customers choose traditional dedicated server hosting where MacStadium provides the server hardware and hosts it in our data center.

If you already own a Mac and wish for us to host it for you, you may use our Mac colocation service.

In both offerings, each subscription is required to pay a hosting fee each month which includes the Internet connectivity, custom rack space, power, remote management tools, remote hands support, and active DDoS protection.

There are many benefits to the dedicated server product offering, which include:

  • Instant Activation available to dedicated servers, so you can get started immediately. The latest version of macOS is available with no wait on our most popular Mac mini offerings.
  • MacStadium is 100% responsible for all maintenance on the servers. If your Mac has hardware issues, we cover 100% of hardware and labor costs.
  • You can change Mac models at any point during your subscription with no penalties; you’ll only need to pay any difference in price if upgrading.
  • When Apple releases new Mac hardware in the future, MacStadium will offer subscriptions to those models, and you can swap.
  • If you can’t predict the future (most of us can’t), then using our servers makes more sense than owning the hardware yourself.
  • Technology always depreciates. When you subscribe to a server from MacStadium, you don’t have worry about loss of value, shipping fees, or lost productivity time.
  • Businesses prefer to have an operating expense on the books vs. a capital expense for accounting reasons.
What’s the OLA on rebooting a dedicated Mac host?

Our operational-level (OLA) standard on a reboot of a dedicated Mac is two hours, though in most cases it is completed in less time.

Why are coreaudiod and launchd in macOS using a high amount of resources?

Disclaimer: We are an infrastructure provider and can only offer a minimal amount of help for software issues. We can not  guarantee this fix works for all users or offer support for it. Please contact the software developer (Apple, in this case) for further help. We can also provide a list of vendors that we work with to support you.

We found a confirmed solution with the help of a customer:

"I figured out what the problem was in case you all are seeing this in other places. The bluetooth daemon had crashed. I'm not sure why that made coreaudiod and launchd go crazy, but the fix is this: 

$ sudo launchctl unload -w /system/library/launchdaemons/com.apple.blued.plist 

If the daemon crashes you may see a message like this: /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.blued.plist: Could not find specified service. Next, run this: 

$ sudo launchctl load -w /system/library/launchdaemons/com.apple.blued.plist 

Once blued is running properly, coreaudiod and launchd both settle down."

Why won’t Java install on my hosted Mac?

Java looks for an actual display plugged into the Mac mini in order for it to install without error. However, none of the Mac servers in a data center environment like at MacStadium have physical displays connected.

As a solution, we have verified that installing a GPU enabler dongle — which we include as a free add-on to all Mac subscriptions — will convince macOS a display plugged in. This allows Java to install without error. Other benefits of the GPU enabler dongle including performance improvements and increased resolutions are noted in our blog.