MacStadium Knowledge Base

Getting Started

Welcome to MacStadium! The tutorials, articles and FAQs below will help you get up and running with your MacStadium dedicated Mac hardware. Still need help? Contact our support team via live chat or submit a help ticket.

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 connect to a hosted Mac from behind my office firewall?

If need to create a private connection between your office and a hosted Mac or private cloud at MacStadium, we provide two types of firewall access.

We offer access to our managed, shared firewall for $50 per month. Engineers at MacStadium will consult with you or your IT experts to configure and maintain your subscriptions behind this firewall. Our managed, shared firewall solution is built on Cisco ASA hardware.

Our top-level solution is a dedicated firewall or pair of dedicated firewalls from the Cisco ASA 5500 series. This solution will initially be initially configured by our network engineers before being turned over to you to be self-managed by you or your IT staff. We’re happy to assist with future configuration if you’re unfamiliar with Cisco ASA solutions.

With the Cisco ASA platform, customers commonly configure solutions such as these:

  • Create a permanent VPN tunnel between corporate office Local Area Network and servers located at one of the three MacStadium datacenters.
  • Enable ports for remote access to allow remote users to VPN into their MacStadium servers.
  • Establish extensive firewall policies, protecting and securing their servers from the internet as needed. This is often preferred over software firewall policies which are placed directly on the servers. Managing a firewall at the network level in front of your hardware is easier to configure and troubleshoot when multiple servers are involved or when many locations are being connected.

Some of these solutions are only available with the dedicated hardware option. Our sales engineering team can further explain your options.

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 I visit MacStadium data centers?

You are welcome to request a visit to our facilities either before you are a customer, or during your subscription period to learn more about our services and solutions. Open a ticket or give us a call to arrange your visit.

We’d also love to host you at our headquarters in Atlanta to talk about large-scale solutions and tour the facility. Our sales engineering team is available to schedule a visit at your convenience.

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.

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.

How secure are MacStadium data centers?

There are global-standard security practices in place at all MacStadium facilities to make sure your servers and data are always safe from unauthorized access. We’ve also worked with many large customers to develop custom, isolated environments with enhanced security within our existing solution to meet the requirements of their internal security policies.

Your intellectual property and customer data is protected from unauthorized access at MacStadium. Read more about our data centers and security practices.

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.

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 does the remote hands service cover?

MacStadium provides free live chat, email and phone support 24x7x365. Our free remote hands service is available 24x7x365 without hidden fees. Refer to this article for more details about what services are provided.

What is Mac colocation?

For decades, large corporations requiring always-available computing and data storage resources have housed their computing resources in secure data centers to ensure maximum uptime and availability of their equipment and information.

If you have computing equipment hosted in a data center, then it is stated that you are co-locating your equipment in that facility (colo and colocation are the recognized terms). By hosting your Mac at MacStadium, it will always be available for you to access remotely via screen sharing, VNC, or command line interface from anywhere on the internet.

Many of our clients use their Macs for game servers, web hosting, database hosting, off-site backup, email hosting, or any other applications typically run on macOS.

You can also use your Mac as a Windows server, BSD Server, IP PBX, or any other variety due to its industry standard Intel-based hardware platform.

What is the best environment for me?

Most of our customers choose a private cloud. A hosted private cloud has the most flexibility, scalability, security, and performance. We also offer individual dedicated Macs if you do not need the scale of a private cloud.

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 is the primary use case of MacStadium hosted infrastructure?

Organizations leverage MacStadium's Mac Infrastructure as a Service offerings for multiple reasons. Some (but not all) of those follow:

  • Want to spend less time managing infrastructure
  • Need to build more consistent CI/CD processes
  • Have to catch issues sooner
  • Must deliver better applications, and do so faster
  • Must meet stringent security requirements

 

What kind of servers are hosted at MacStadium?

We are serious about our infrastructure, and have made significant investments to ensure that MacStadium facilities are the best Mac hosting solutions available.

Mac mini

We have premium seating for both new style Mac minis (2010 – Current) and older style Mac minis (2009 or prior).

Each patented, proprietary rack in MacStadium data centers holds 460 Mac minis contained with all cabling, power management, and network infrastructure.

Mac Pro

We’ve designed a custom enclosure and rack mount system to house the 2013+ cylindrical Mac Pro.

Learn more about our rack solutions that allow us to rapidly scale private cloud environments on our data centers page.

Xserves & HP BladeSystem Servers

Besides our main dedicated server and cloud offerings for the Mac mini and the latest-generation Mac Pro, we can host Apple’s rack-mounted Xserve line. We also offer traditional HPE blade infrastructure for organizations with a desire to house all of their services in one enterprise solution.

Custom Solutions

If you have a special project, please give us a call! We specialize in custom configurations (like consolidated hybrid cloud environments and isolated cages). Our engineering team loves to work with customers to create bespoke enterprise solutionsCall our sales engineering staff today to learn more.

Where can I access my invoices?

Invoices for your individual subscription(s) are available in your customer dashboard in PDF format under the Billing tab within the details of your subscription(s). Each subscription has its own statement. For large numbers of servers, please get in touch with the billing team to discuss options for condensing billing statements.

Which location should I choose?

When choosing a data center to start a subscription, keep in mind the geographic locations of all those attempting to access the server (that could mean you, your team, or your customers). If low latency is important, the closer the servers are physically, the better your connection quality will be.

Here is a set of IP addresses, one for each data center, to test latency or perform a trace route:

Atlanta
208.52.190.1

Dublin
208.83.1.1

Las Vegas
207.254.73.1

Learn More

Contact Our Support Team