Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

Web Services in macOS Server, Linux and most versions of Unix are provided by Apache, an Open Source project that much of the Internet owes its origins to. Apache owes its name to the fact that it’s “a patchy” service. These patches are often mods, or modules. Configuring web services is as easy in macOS Server 5.2, running on Sierra (10.12), as it has ever been. To set up the default web portal, simply open the Server app, click on the Websites service and click on the ON button.


After a time, the service will start. Once running, click on the View Server Website link at the bottom of the pane.


Provided the stock macOS Server page loads, you are ready to use macOS Server as a web server.


Before we setup custom sites, there are a few things you should know. The first is, the server is no longer really designed to remove the default website. So if you remove the site, your server will exhibit inconsistent behavior. Also, don’t remove the files that comprise the default site. Instead just add sites, which is covered next. Webmail is gone. You don’t have to spend a ton of time looking for it as it isn’t there. Also, Mountain Lion Server added web apps, which we’ll briefly review later in this article as well, as those continue in Mavericks Server, Yosemite Server, El Capitan Server and ultimately macOS Server 5.2 for Sierra.  Finally, enabling PHP and Python on sites is done globally, so this setting applies to all sites hosted on the server.


Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s add our first custom site. Do so by clicking on the plus sign. At the New Web Site pane, you’ll be prompted for a number of options. The most important is the name of the site, with other options including the following:

  • Domain Name: The name the site is accessible from. The default sites do not have this option as they are accessible from all names that resolve to the server.
  • IP Address: The IP address the site listens on. Any means the site is available from every IP address the server is configured to use. The default websites do not have this option as they are accessible from all addresses automatically
  • Port: By default, sites without SSL run on port 80 on all network interfaces, and sites with SSL run on port 443 on all network interfaces. Use the Port field to use custom ports (e.g., 8080). The default sites do not have this option as they are configured to use 80 and 443 for default and SSL-based communications respectively.
  • SSL Certificate: Loads a list of SSL certificates installed using Keychain or the SSL Certificate option in the Settings pane of the Server application
  • Store Site Files In: The directory that the files that comprise the website are stored in. These can be placed into the correct directory using file shares or copying using the Finder. Click on the drop-down menu and then select Other to browse to the directory files are stored in.
  • Who Can Access: By default Anyone (all users, including unauthenticated guests) can access the contents of sites. Clicking on Anyone and then Customize… brings up the “Restrict access to the following folders to a chosen group” screen, where you can choose web directories and then define groups of users who can access the contents.
  • Additional Domains: Click on the Edit… button to bring up a simple list of domain names the the site also responds for (e.g. in addition to, add
  • Redirects: Click on the Edit… button to bring up a list of redirects within the site. This allows configuring redirects to other sites. For example, use /en to load or /cn to load
  • Aliases: Click on the Edit… button to load a list of aliases. This allows configuring redirects to folders within the same server. For example, /en loads /Library/Server/Web/Data/Sites/Default
  • Index Files: Click on the Edit… button to bring up a list of pages that are loaded when a page isn’t directly indicated. For example, when visiting, load the wp.php page by default.
  • Advanced Options: The remaining options are available by clicking on the “Edit Advanced Settings…” button.


The Advanced Option include the following:

  • Enable Server Side Includes: Allows administrators to configure leveraging includes in web files, so that pieces of code can be used across multiple pages in sites.
  • Allow overrides using .htaccess files: Using a .htaccess file allows administrators to define who is able to access a given directory, defining custom user names and passwords in the hidden .htaccess file. These aren’t usually required in an OS X Server web environment as local and directory-based accounts can be used for such operations. This setting enables using custom .htaccess files instead of relying on Apple’s stock web permissions.
  • Allow folder listing: Enables folder listings on directories of a site that don’t have an Index File (described in the non-Advanced settings earlier).
  • Allow CGI execution: Enables CGI scripts for the domain being configured.
  • Use custom error page: Allows administrators to define custom error pages, such as those annoying 404 error pages that load when a page can’t be found
  • Make these web apps available on this website: A somewhat advanced setting, loads items into the webapps array, which can be viewed using the following command:  sudo serveradmin settings web:definedWebApps

Once you’ve configured all the appropriate options, click on Done to save your changes. The site should then load. Sites are then listed in the list of Websites.

The Apache service is most easily managed from the Server app, but there are too many options in Apache to really be able to put into a holistic graphical interface. The easiest way to manage the Websites service in OS X Yosemite Server is using the serveradmin command. Apache administrators from other platforms will be tempted to use the apachectl command to restart the Websites service. Instead, use the serveradmin command to do so. To start the service:

sudo serveradmin start web

To stop the service(s):

sudo serveradmin stop web

And to see the status:

sudo serveradmin fullstatus web

Fullstatus returns the following information:

web:health = _empty_dictionary
web:readWriteSettingsVersion = 1
web:apacheVersion = “2.2”
web:servicePortsRestrictionInfo = _empty_array
web:startedTime = “2016-09-26 02:38:57 +0000”
web:apacheState = “RUNNING”
web:statusMessage = “”
web:ApacheMode = 2
web:servicePortsAreRestricted = “NO”
web:state = “RUNNING”
web:setStateVersion = 1

While the health option typically resembles kiosk computers in the Computer Science departments of most major universities, much of the rest of the output can be pretty helpful including the Apache version, whether the service is running, any restrictions on ports and the date/time stamp that the service was started.

To see all of the settings available to the serveradmin command, run it, followed by settings and then web, to indicate the Websites service:

sudo serveradmin settings web

The output is pretty verbose and can be considered in two sections, the first includes global settings across sites as well as the information for the default sites that should not be deleted:

web:defaultSite:documentRoot = “/Library/Server/Web/Data/Sites/Default”
web:defaultSite:serverName = “”
web:defaultSite:realms = _empty_dictionary
web:defaultSite:redirects = _empty_array
web:defaultSite:enableServerSideIncludes = no
web:defaultSite:networkAccesses = _empty_array
web:defaultSite:customLogPath = “"/var/log/apache2/access_log"”
web:defaultSite:webApps = _empty_array
web:defaultSite:sslCertificateIdentifier = “”
web:defaultSite:fullSiteRedirectToOtherSite = “https://%{SERVER_NAME}”
web:defaultSite:allowFolderListing = no
web:defaultSite:serverAliases = _empty_array
web:defaultSite:errorLogPath = “"/var/log/apache2/error_log"”
web:defaultSite:fileName = “/Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/sites/0000_127.0.0.1_34580_.conf”
web:defaultSite:aliases = _empty_array
web:defaultSite:directoryIndexes:_array_index:0 = “index.html”
web:defaultSite:directoryIndexes:_array_index:1 = “index.php”
web:defaultSite:directoryIndexes:_array_index:2 = “default.html”
web:defaultSite:allowAllOverrides = no
web:defaultSite:identifier = “67127006”
web:defaultSite:port = 34580
web:defaultSite:allowCGIExecution = no
web:defaultSite:serverAddress = “”
web:defaultSite:requiresSSL = no
web:defaultSite:proxies = _empty_dictionary
web:defaultSite:errorDocuments = _empty_dictionary

The second section is per-site settings, with an array entry for each site:

web:customSites:_array_index:0:documentRoot = “/Library/Server/Web/Data/Sites/”
web:customSites:_array_index:0:serverName = “”
web:customSites:_array_index:0:realms = _empty_dictionary
web:customSites:_array_index:0:redirects = _empty_array
web:customSites:_array_index:0:enableServerSideIncludes = no
web:customSites:_array_index:0:networkAccesses = _empty_array
web:customSites:_array_index:0:customLogPath = “/var/log/apache2/access_log”
web:customSites:_array_index:0:webApps = _empty_array
web:customSites:_array_index:0:sslCertificateIdentifier = “”
web:customSites:_array_index:0:fullSiteRedirectToOtherSite = “”
web:customSites:_array_index:0:allowFolderListing = no
web:customSites:_array_index:0:serverAliases = _empty_array
web:customSites:_array_index:0:errorLogPath = “/var/log/apache2/error_log”
web:customSites:_array_index:0:fileName = “/Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/sites/”
web:customSites:_array_index:0:aliases = _empty_array
web:customSites:_array_index:0:directoryIndexes:_array_index:0 = “index.html”
web:customSites:_array_index:0:directoryIndexes:_array_index:1 = “index.php”
web:customSites:_array_index:0:directoryIndexes:_array_index:2 = “default.html”
web:customSites:_array_index:0:allowAllOverrides = no
web:customSites:_array_index:0:identifier = “67127002”
web:customSites:_array_index:0:port = 34580
web:customSites:_array_index:0:allowCGIExecution = no
web:customSites:_array_index:0:serverAddress = “”
web:customSites:_array_index:0:requiresSSL = no
web:customSites:_array_index:0:proxies = _empty_dictionary
web:customSites:_array_index:0:errorDocuments = _empty_dictionary
web:dataLocation = “/Library/Server/Web/Data”

The next section (the largest by far) includes array entries for each defined web app. The following shows the entry for a Hello World Python app:

web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:requiredWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:includeFiles:_array_index:0 = “/Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_ACSServer.conf”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:0 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:startCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:sslPolicy = 1
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:requiresSSL = no
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:requiredByWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:launchKeys:_array_index:0 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:proxies:/AccountsConfigService/api/:path = “/AccountsConfigService/api/”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:proxies:/AccountsConfigService/api/:urls:_array_index:0 = “http://localhost:31415/AccountsConfigService/api”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:preflightCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:stopCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:name = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:0:displayName = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:requiredWebAppNames:_array_index:0 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:includeFiles:_array_index:0 = “/Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_corecollaboration_webauth.conf”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:0 = “proxy_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:1 = “headers_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:startCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:sslPolicy = 4
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:requiresSSL = no
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:requiredByWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:launchKeys = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:proxies:/auth:path = “/auth”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:proxies:/auth:urls:_array_index:0 = “http://localhost:4444/auth”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:preflightCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:stopCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:name = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:1:displayName = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:requiredWebAppNames:_array_index:0 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:includeFiles:_array_index:0 = “/Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_corecollaboration_webcalssl.conf”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:0 = “proxy_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:1 = “headers_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:startCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:sslPolicy = 1
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:requiresSSL = no
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:requiredByWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:launchKeys = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:proxies = _empty_dictionary
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:preflightCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:stopCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:name = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:2:displayName = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:requiredWebAppNames:_array_index:0 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:includeFiles:_array_index:0 = “/Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_corecollaboration_changepassword.conf”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:0 = “proxy_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:1 = “headers_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:startCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:sslPolicy = 4
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:requiresSSL = no
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:requiredByWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:launchKeys = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:proxies:/changepassword:path = “/changepassword”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:proxies:/changepassword:urls:_array_index:0 = “http://localhost:4444/changepassword”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:preflightCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:stopCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:name = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:3:displayName = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:requiredWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:includeFiles:_array_index:0 = “/Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_corecollaboration_shared.conf”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:0 = “proxy_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:1 = “xsendfile_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:2 = “headers_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:3 = “expires_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:4 = “deflate_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:startCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:sslPolicy = 0
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:requiresSSL = no
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:requiredByWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:launchKeys:_array_index:0 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:launchKeys:_array_index:1 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:proxies:/collabdproxy:path = “/collabdproxy”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:proxies:/collabdproxy:urls:_array_index:0 = “http://localhost:4444/svc”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:proxies:/__collabd/streams/activity:path = “/__collabd/streams/activity”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:proxies:/__collabd/streams/activity:urls:_array_index:0 = “http://localhost:4444/streams/activity”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:preflightCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:stopCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:name = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:4:displayName = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:requiredWebAppNames:_array_index:0 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:includeFiles = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:requiredModuleNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:startCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:sslPolicy = 0
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:requiresSSL = no
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:requiredByWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:launchKeys:_array_index:0 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:launchKeys:_array_index:1 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:proxies = _empty_dictionary
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:preflightCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:stopCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:name = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:5:displayName = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:requiredWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:includeFiles = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:0 = “php5_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:startCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:sslPolicy = 0
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:requiresSSL = no
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:requiredByWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:launchKeys = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:proxies = _empty_dictionary
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:preflightCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:stopCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:name = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:6:displayName = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:requiredWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:includeFiles:_array_index:0 = “/Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_webdavsharing.conf”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:0 = “rewrite_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:1 = “bonjour_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:startCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:sslPolicy = 0
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:requiresSSL = no
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:requiredByWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:launchKeys = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:proxies = _empty_dictionary
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:preflightCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:stopCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:name = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:7:displayName = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:requiredWebAppNames:_array_index:0 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:requiredWebAppNames:_array_index:1 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:includeFiles:_array_index:0 = “/Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_corecollaboration_wiki.conf”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:0 = “proxy_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:1 = “headers_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:startCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:sslPolicy = 0
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:requiresSSL = no
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:requiredByWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:launchKeys:_array_index:0 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:launchKeys:_array_index:1 = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:proxies:/__collabd/preview:path = “/__collabd/preview”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:proxies:/__collabd/preview:urls:_array_index:0 = “http://localhost:4444/preview”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:proxies:/wiki/files/upload:path = “/wiki/files/upload”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:proxies:/wiki/files/upload:urls:_array_index:0 = “http://localhost:4444/upload_file”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:proxies:/wiki/files/download:path = “/wiki/files/download”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:proxies:/wiki/files/download:urls:_array_index:0 = “http://localhost:4444/files”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:proxies:/wiki/ipad:path = “/wiki/ipad”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:proxies:/wiki/ipad:urls = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:proxies:/wiki:path = “/wiki”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:proxies:/wiki:urls:_array_index:0 = “http://localhost:4444/app-context/wiki”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:preflightCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:stopCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:name = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:8:displayName = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:requiredWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:includeFiles:_array_index:0 = “/Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_wsgi.conf”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:0 = “wsgi_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:startCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:sslPolicy = 0
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:requiresSSL = no
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:requiredByWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:launchKeys = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:proxies = _empty_dictionary
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:preflightCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:stopCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:name = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:9:displayName = “Python "Hello World" app at /wsgi”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:requiredWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:includeFiles:_array_index:0 = “/Library/Developer/XcodeServer/CurrentXcodeSymlink/Contents/Developer/usr/share/xcs/httpd_xcs.conf”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:requiredModuleNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:startCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:sslPolicy = 4
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:requiresSSL = no
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:requiredByWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:launchKeys = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:proxies = _empty_dictionary
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:preflightCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:stopCommand = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:name = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:10:displayName = “”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:requiredWebAppNames:_array_index:0 = “com.example.webapp.myotherwebapp”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:includeFiles:_array_index:0 = “/Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_myinclude.conf”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:requiredModuleNames:_array_index:0 = “mystuff_module”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:startCommand = “/usr/local/bin/startmywebapp”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:sslPolicy = 0
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:requiresSSL = no
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:requiredByWebAppNames = _empty_array
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:launchKeys:_array_index:0 = “com.example.mywebapp”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:proxies:/mywebapp:path = “/mywebapp”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:proxies:/mywebapp:urls:_array_index:0 = “http://localhost:3000”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:proxies:/mywebapp:urls:_array_index:1 = “http://localhost:3001”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:preflightCommand = “/usr/local/bin/preflightmywebapp”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:stopCommand = “/usr/local/bin/stopmywebapp”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:name = “com.example.mywebapp”
web:definedWebApps:_array_index:11:displayName = “MyWebApp”

The final section defines the settings used for the default sites as well as a couple of host based settings:

web:defaultSecureSite:documentRoot = “/Library/Server/Web/Data/Sites/Default”
web:defaultSecureSite:serverName = “”
web:defaultSecureSite:realms = _empty_dictionary
web:defaultSecureSite:redirects = _empty_array
web:defaultSecureSite:enableServerSideIncludes = no
web:defaultSecureSite:networkAccesses = _empty_array
web:defaultSecureSite:customLogPath = “"/var/log/apache2/access_log"”
web:defaultSecureSite:webApps = _empty_array
web:defaultSecureSite:sslCertificateIdentifier = “”
web:defaultSecureSite:fullSiteRedirectToOtherSite = “”
web:defaultSecureSite:allowFolderListing = no
web:defaultSecureSite:serverAliases = _empty_array
web:defaultSecureSite:errorLogPath = “"/var/log/apache2/error_log"”
web:defaultSecureSite:fileName = “/Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/sites/0000_127.0.0.1_34543_.conf”
web:defaultSecureSite:aliases = _empty_array
web:defaultSecureSite:directoryIndexes:_array_index:0 = “index.html”
web:defaultSecureSite:directoryIndexes:_array_index:1 = “index.php”
web:defaultSecureSite:directoryIndexes:_array_index:2 = “default.html”
web:defaultSecureSite:allowAllOverrides = no
web:defaultSecureSite:identifier = “67127004”
web:defaultSecureSite:port = 34543
web:defaultSecureSite:allowCGIExecution = no
web:defaultSecureSite:serverAddress = “”
web:defaultSecureSite:requiresSSL = yes
web:defaultSecureSite:proxies = _empty_dictionary
web:defaultSecureSite:errorDocuments = _empty_dictionary
web:mainHost:keepAliveTimeout = 15.000000
web:mainHost:maxClients = “256”

Each site has its own configuration file defined in the array for each section. By default these are stored in the /Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/sites directory, with /Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/sites/ being the file for the custom site we created previously. As you can see, many of the options available in the Server app are also available in these files:

DocumentRoot "/Library/Server/Web/Data/Sites/"
DirectoryIndex index.html index.php /wiki/ default.html
CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access_log combinedvhost
ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/error_log
SSLEngine Off
SSLProtocol -ALL +SSLv3 +TLSv1
SSLProxyEngine On
SSLProxyProtocol -ALL +SSLv3 +TLSv1

Options All -Indexes -ExecCGI -Includes +MultiViews
AllowOverride None


Deny from all
ErrorDocument 403 /customerror/websitesoff403.html

The serveradmin command can also be used to run commands. For example, to reset the service to factory defaults, delete the configuration files for each site and then run the following command:

sudo serveradmin command web:command=restoreFactorySettings

The final tip I’m going to give in this article is when to make changes with each app. I strongly recommend making all of your changes in the Server app when possible. When it isn’t, use serveradmin and when you can’t make changes in serveradmin, only then alter the configuration files that come with the operating system by default. For example, in this article I look at overriding some ports for some virtual sites that might conflict with other sites on your systems. I also recommend keeping backups of all configuration files that are altered and a log of what was altered in each, in order to help piece the server back together should it become unconfigured miraculously when a softwareupdate -all is run next.

October 18th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

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SSH allows administrators to connect to another computer using a secure shell, or command line environment. ARD (Apple Remote Desktop) allows screen sharing, remote scripts and other administrative goodness. You can also connect to a server using the Server app running on a client computer. To enable any or all of these, open the Server app (Server 5.2 for Sierra), click on the name of the server, click the Settings tab and then click on the checkbox for what you’d like to enter.


All of these can be enabled and managed from the command line as well. The traditional way to enable Apple Remote Desktop is using the kickstart command. But there’s a simpler way in macOS Server 5.2 on Sierra. To do so, use the serveradmin command. To enable ARD using the serveradmin command, use the settings option, with info:enableARD to set the payload to yes:

sudo serveradmin settings info:enableARD = yes

Once run, open System Preferences and click on Sharing. The Remote Management box is then checked and the local administrative user has access to ARD into the host.


There are also a few other commands that can be used to control settings. To enable SSH for administrators:

sudo serveradmin settings info:enableSSH = yes

When you enable SSH from the serveradmin command you will not see any additional checkboxes in the Sharing System Preferences; however, you will see the box checked in the Server app. To enable SNMP:

sudo serveradmin settings info:enableSNMP = yes

Once SNMP is enabled, use the /usr/bin/snmpconf interactive command line environment to configure SNMP so you can manage traps and other objects necessary.

Note: You can’t have snmpd running while you configure SNMPv3. Once SNMPv3 is configured snmpd can be run. 

To allow other computers to use the Server app to connect to the server, use the info:enableRemoteAdministration key from serveradmin:

sudo serveradmin settings info:enableRemoteAdministration = yes

To enable the dedication of resources to Server apps (aka Server Performance Mode):

sudo serveradmin settings info:enableServerPerformanceMode = yes

September 16th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X Server, Mac Security

Tags: , , , , ,

Any time I need to get a bunch of cruft out of Software Update Server on OS X Server, I just reset it real quick. To do so, simply remove /Library/Server/Software Update. But first, it’s important to stop the service, and once removed, set the port back up (which isn’t done automatically), and then start the service (swupdate). As this has become somewhat routine, I made a micro-script of it here.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 10.22.32 PM

April 14th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mass Deployment

Tags: , , , ,

I’ve written a couple of articles about the Caching service in OS X Server 5 for El Capitan. As of OS X Server 5, the Caching service now caches local copies on the computer running the Caching service of iCloud content. This allows you to cache content once and then have it accessed by multiple devices faster. I’m torn on this option. On the one hand, I love the fact that I can cache things and on the other hand I find it frightening that a random user can cache things I might not want them to cache on behalf of another user. I know, I know, they’re encrypted with a device key. But when you have data on disk, it can always be decrypted. I almost feel like there should be a plist on machines that whitelists allowed caching servers. Maybe I should make a feature request on that.

Either way, as it stands now, I might be disabling this option in larger offices. To do so, I can write an AllowPersonalCaching key into the Config.plist file at /Library/Server/Caching/Config/. The most graceful way to do this is using the serveradmin command, followed by the settings verb and then caching:AllowPersonalCaching option, setting that equals no, as follows:

sudo serveradmin settings caching:AllowPersonalCaching = no

To turn it back on:

sudo serveradmin settings caching:AllowPersonalCaching = yes

This can also be done by dropping a Config.plist file into the correct location for new server installations. I’ll have an article out shortly on doing so, as you’d want to normalize a few options in the file before deploying en masse (e.g. if you have a large contingent of Caching servers to manage.

October 16th, 2015

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Configuring Calendar Server in OS X Server 5 (running on El Capitan or Yosemite) is a fairly simple and straight forward process. The Calendar Server is a CalDAV Server, leveraging HTTP and HTTPS, running on ports 8008 and 8443 respectively. To enable the Calendar service in OS X Server (Server 5), open the Server application and click on Calendar in the SERVICES section of the sidebar.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.46.34 AM

Once open, click on Enable invitations by email to enable email notifications of invitations in the Calendar Server. Provide the email address and then click on the Next button.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.47.49 AM

At the Configure Server Email Address screen, provide the type of incoming mail service in use, provide the address of the mail server and then the port number used, if not a standard port for HTTPS-based IMAP (or POP if you’d prefer), the user name and the valid password for the account. Then click on the Next button.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.48.19 AM

At the outgoing mail server screen, provide the Outgoing Mail Server address, the port, whether or not SSL is in use (it should be if possible), the password protocol, the user name and the password. Then click on the Next button.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.48.58 AM

At the Mail Account Summary screen, review the settings and if correct, click Finish. Back at the service configuration screen, click on the plus sign (“+”) and provide a type of location, an address, a delegate, a name for the location, whether or not invitations to the resource are accepted and then enter the account name for any accounts that can manage the location’s calendar (they will auto-complete, so there’s no need to remember users and groups exactly). Click Done to complete the setup. Use the Resource setting in type to configure a resource instead of a location. The two are the same, except the Type field.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.50.07 AM

There are a number of settings that can also be configured. But those are exposed only at the command line. To configure them, open the command line and then review the list of Calendar service settings using the list option of the serveradmin command:

sudo /Applications/ settings calendar

There are a number of settings for the Calendar service, including the following:

calendar:DefaultLogLevel = “info”
calendar:EnableAPNS = yes
calendar:EnableSSL = yes
calendar:DirectoryAddressBook:params:queryUserRecords = yes
calendar:DirectoryAddressBook:params:queryPeopleRecords = yes
calendar:EnableSearchAddressBook = yes
calendar:HTTPPort = 80
calendar:AccountingCategories:HTTP = no
calendar:AccountingCategories:Implicit Errors = no
calendar:AccountingCategories:iTIP = no
calendar:AccountingCategories:migration = no
calendar:AccountingCategories:AutoScheduling = no
calendar:AccountingCategories:iSchedule = no
calendar:AccountingCategories:iTIP-VFREEBUSY = no
calendar:Authentication:Digest:Enabled = yes
calendar:Authentication:Digest:AllowedOverWireUnencrypted = yes
calendar:Authentication:Kerberos:Enabled = yes
calendar:Authentication:Kerberos:AllowedOverWireUnencrypted = yes
calendar:Authentication:Wiki:Enabled = yes
calendar:Authentication:Basic:Enabled = yes
calendar:Authentication:Basic:AllowedOverWireUnencrypted = no
calendar:EnableCardDAV = no
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Sending:UseSSL = yes
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Sending:Server = “”
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Sending:Address = “”
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Sending:Username = “”
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Sending:Password = “79PreYsZSFfZZC6v”
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Sending:Port = 587
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Enabled = yes
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Receiving:UseSSL = yes
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Receiving:Server = “”
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Receiving:Type = “imap”
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Receiving:Username = “”
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Receiving:Password = “79PreYsZSFfZZC6v”
calendar:Scheduling:iMIP:Receiving:Port = 993
calendar:SSLPrivateKey = “”
calendar:LogLevels = _empty_dictionary
calendar:DataRoot = “/Library/Server/Calendar and Contacts/Data”
calendar:ServerRoot = “/Library/Server/Calendar and Contacts”
calendar:SSLCertificate = “”
calendar:EnableCalDAV = no
calendar:Notifications:Services:APNS:Enabled = yes
calendar:SSLPort = 443
calendar:RedirectHTTPToHTTPS = yes
calendar:SSLAuthorityChain = “”
calendar:ServerHostName = “”

One of the more common settings to configure is the port number that CalDAV runs on. To configure HTTP:

sudo /Applications/ settings calendar:HTTPPort = 8008


sudo /Applications/ settings calendar:SSLPort = 8443

You can then start the service using the start option:

sudo /Applications/ start calendar

Or to stop it:

sudo /Applications/ stop calendar

Or to get the status:

sudo /Applications/ fullstatus calendar

Full status indicates that the three services are running:

calendar:readWriteSettingsVersion = 1
calendar:setStateVersion = 1
calendar:state = "RUNNING"
calendar:contactsState = "RUNNING"
calendar:calendarState = "RUNNING"

Once the Calendar server is configured, use the Calendar application to communicate with the server. Open the Calendar application and click on the Calendar menu and select Add Account. From the Add Account screen, click on Add CalDAV Account radio button and click Continue.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 10.47.30 AM

CalDAV from the Account Type menu and then enter the User Name and password configured on the server, and add the address of the server if you don’t have any service records pointing to the server. The User Name is usually the name provided in Server app, followed by @ and then the address of the server.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 10.50.48 AM

Once the server is configured it appears in the list of accounts in the sidebar of the Calendar app. Create calendars in the account and then to share a calendar, right-click on the calendar and click on Share Calendar…

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 10.58.02 AM

At the Share Calendar screen, provide the name the calendar should appear as to others and anyone with whom you’d like to share your calendar with.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 10.59.05 AM

Back at the Calendar Settings screen, use the settings to configure Availability and refresh rate of calendars, as seen above. Click on Server Settings to assign custom port numbers.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 11.00.46 AM

Click on the Delegation tab to view any accounts you’ve been given access to.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 11.01.10 AM

Use the Edit button to configure who has delegated access to calendars, as opposed to configuring subscriptions.

Overall, the Calendar service in El Capitan Server is one of the easiest to configure. Most of the work goes into settings configured on client systems. This, as with Exchange, dedistributes administration, often making administration more complicated than with many other tools. But that’s a good thing; no one wants to access other peoples accounts, for calendars or mail for that matter, without those users knowing that it was done, as will happen when resetting passwords…

October 1st, 2015

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

OS X has an application called Contacts. OS X Server 5, running on Yosemite or El Capitan, has a service called Contacts. While the names might imply very different things that they do, you’ll be super-surprised that the two are designed to work with one another. The Contacts service is based on CardDAV, a protocol for storing contact information on the web, retrievable and digestible by client computers. However, there is a layer of Postgres-based obfuscation between the Contacts service and CardDAV. The Contacts service is also a conduit with which to read information from LDAP and display that information in the Contacts client, which is in a way similar to how the Global Address List (GAL) works in Microsoft Exchange.

I know I’ve said this about other services in OS X Server, but the Contacts service couldn’t be easier to configure. First, you should be running Open Directory and you should also have configured Apple Push Notifications. To setup Push Notifications, have an Apple ID handy and click on the Contacts entry in the SERVICES section of Server app.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.13.53 AM

Click the Edit Notifications button to configure the Apple Push Notification settings for the computer. When prompted, click on Enable Push Notifications.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.15.49 AM

If prompted, provide the username and password for the Apple ID and then click on Finish.
To enable the Contacts service, open the Server app and then click on Contacts in the SERVICES section of the List Pane. From here, use the “Include directory contacts in search” checkbox to publish LDAP contacts through the service, or leave this option unchecked and click on the ON button to enable the service.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.19.12 AM

The Contacts service then starts and once complete, a green light appears beside the Contacts entry in the List Pane. To configure a client open the Contacts application on a client computer and use the Preferences entry in the Contacts menu to bring up the Preferences screen. From here, click the Accounts menu and then click on Add Accounts.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.19.36 AM

At the Add Account screen, scroll down and click Add Other Account… to bring up an expanded menu of account types.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.20.32 AM

Click Add a CardDAV account.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.21.10 AM

At the “Add a CardDAV Account” screen, enter the email address and password of the user. Auto discovery doesn’t always work, so you might end up using the manual button to add the account using the server’s address. Alternatively, if you’ve mapped CardDAV to custom ports, you may use the advanced option to have paths and ports available.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.24.03 AM

When the account is finished creating, you can click on the account again to see the settings used. Otherwise, close the Preferences/Accounts screen and then view the list of Contacts. Click on View and then Show Groups. This will show you the name of the servers that you’re connected to in the sidebar. There won’t be any contacts yet, so click on the plus sign to verify you have write access to the server.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.27.44 AM
Next, let’s get access to the LDAP-based contacts. To do so, bring up the Add Account screen again and this time select LDAP Account from the Account Type field.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 8.29.02 AM

Provide the name or IP address of the server and then the port that LDAP contacts are available over (the defaults, 389 and 636 with SSL are more than likely the settings that you’ll use. Then click on the Continue button.

At the Account Settings screen, provide the name that will appear in the Contacts app for the account in the Description field and then enter the search base in the Search base field. To determine the search base, use the serveradmin command. The following command will output the search base:

sudo /Applications/ settings dirserv:LDAPSettings:LDAPSearchBase

Then set Authentication to simple and provide the username and password to access the server for the account you are configuring. The list then appears.

The default port for the Contacts service is 8443, as seen earlier in the configuration of the client. To customize the port, use the serveradmin command to set addressbook settings for BindSSLPorts to edit the initial array entry, as follows:

sudo /Applications/ settings addressbook:SSLPort = 8443

The default location for the files used by the Contacts service is in the /Library/Server/Calendar and Contacts directory. To change that to a folder called /Volumes/Pegasys/CardDAV, use the following command:

sudo /Applications/ settings addressbook:ServerRoot = "/Volumes/Pegasys/CardDAV"

When changing the ServerRoot, you’ll likely need to change the DataRoot, which is usually the Data directory immediately underneath the ServerRoot. To do so, run serveradmin and put the DataRoot entry under the addressbook settings:

sudo /Applications/ settings addressbook:DataRoot = "/Volumes/Pegasys/CardDAV/Data"

The service is then stopped with the serveradmin command:

sudo /Applications/ stop addressbook

And started with the serveradmin command:

sudo /Applications/ start addressbook

And whether the service is running, along with the paths to the logs can be obtained using the fullstatus command with serveradmin:

sudo /Applications/ fullstatus addressbook

The output of which should be as follows:

status addressbook
addressbook:state = “RUNNING”
addressbook:setStateVersion = 1
addressbook:readWriteSettingsVersion = 1

If you’re easily amused, run the serveradmin settings for calendar and compare them to the serveradmin settings for addressbook:

sudo /Applications/ settings calendar

By default, the Contacts server allows basic authentication. We’ll just turn that off real quick:

sudo /Applications/ settings addressbook:Authentication:Basic:Enabled = no

And then let’s see what it is in addressbook:

/Applications/ settings addressbook:Authentication:Basic:Enabled

September 28th, 2015

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Mail is one of the hardest services to manage. Actually, mail is pretty simple in and of itself: there’s protocols people use to access their mail (such as IMAP and POP), protocols used to communicate between mail servers and send mail (SMTP, SMTPS) and then there’s a database of mail and user information. In OS X Server 5 for El Capitan and Yosemite, all of these are represented by a single ON button, so it really couldn’t be easier. But then there’s the ecoysystem and the evil spammers.

As a systems administrator of a large number of mail servers, I firmly believe that there is a special kind of hell where only spam is served at every meal for spammers. Here, the evil spammers must also read every piece of spam ever sent for eternity. By the end (aka Ragnarok), they should have the chemically induced stamina of a 16 year old with the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, enough pills of other types to not be able to use that stamina, plenty of African princes looking to donate large sums of money if only they can be helped out of their country (which should cost about 100,000 compared to a 5,000,000 payout, not a bad ROI, right?!?!?), have their conflicting stamina situation at the top of the search engines and of course, have lost all of the money made from their African princes due to getting their credit card hijacked by about 9,000 phishing scams. All in all, a special kind of hell…

But back to the point of the article, setting up mail. The things that mail administrators need to focus on to keep that mail server flowing mail to and from everyone else in the world:

  • Static IP address. The WAN (and LAN probably) address should be static.
  • Port Forwards. Port forwards need to be configured on the gateway for the SMTP port at a minimum and more than likely other ports used to access mail on client devices (25, 143, etc)
  • DNS records. An MX record and some kind of type of record should definitely be configured for the DNS servers that are authoritative for the domain. There should also be reverse records for the address of the server, usually created by the Internet Services Provider, or ISP, that match that record.
  • Check the RBLs. If you have a new IP address you’ll be putting a DNS server on, check all the major Realtime BlackLists to make sure that some evil spammer hasn’t squatted on the IP before you got to it. This is true whether you’re in a colo, hosted on an IP you own or moving into space formerly occupied by a very standup company. A lot of IP addresses are blocked, as are blocks of IPs, so before moving mail to an IP, check it.
  • Mail filtration (message hygiene). OS X Server has a number of mail filters built in, including clam for viruses, the ability to leverage RBLs, block specific addresses and of course RBL checking. However, this is often not enough. Third party services such as MXLogic help to keep mail from coming into your network. You also end up with an external IP to send mail that can cache mail in the event the server is down and keep mail off your network in the event that it’s spam.
  • Backup. I am firmly of the belief that I’d rather not have data than not have that data backed up…

Once all of that is taken care of (I’ll add more as I think about it) then it’s time to enable the mail service in the Server app running on Yosemite. Actually, first let’s setup our SSL certificates. To do so, open the Server app and click on Certificates in the SERVER section of the sidebar. Here, use the “Secure services using” drop-down list and click on Custom… for each protocol to select the appropriate certificate to be used for the service.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.16.20 PM

Click OK when they’re all configure. Now let’s enable the mail service (or outsource mail). To do so, open the Server app and click on Mail in the SERVICES list in the sidebar.


At the configuration screen is a sparse number of settings:

  • Domains: Configures all of the domains the mail server will listen for mail for. Each account on the server has a short name and each domain name will be available for each short name. For example, an account with a shortname of charles will be available for email addresses of and per the Domain Name listing below.Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.17.27 PM
  • Authentication: Click Edit for a list of sources that accounts can authenticate against (e.g. Active Directory, Open Directory, Custom, Local, etc) and in some cases the specific password algorithms used for mail.Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.18.12 PM
  • Push Notifications: If Push is configured previously there’s no need to use this option. Otherwise, use your institutional APNS account to configure Push Notifications.Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.18.44 PM
  • Relay outgoing mail through ISP: Provide a server that all mail will get routed through from the server. For example, this might be an account with your Internet Services Provider (ISP), an account on an appliance that you own (such as a Barracuda) or with an external filtering service (such as MXLogic).Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.19.42 PM
  • Limit mail to: Configure the total amount of mail a user can have in the mail store, in Megabytes.
  • Edit Filtering Settings: Configure antivirus, spam assassin and junk mail filters. The “Enable virus filtering” checkbox enables clam. The “Enable blacklist filtering” checks the RBL (or RBLs) of your choice to check whether a given server is a “known” spammer and the “Enable junk mail filtering” option enables spam assassin on the host, configuring it to block based on a score as selected using the slider.

Once you’ve configured the settings for the Mail service, click on the ON slider to enable the service. At this point, you should be able to telnet into port 25 of the host to verify that SMTP is listening, preferably from another mail server:

telnet 25

You can also check that the mail services are running using the serveradmin command along with the fullstatus option for the mail service:

sudo serveradmin fullstatus mail

Which returns with some pretty verbose information about the service, including state, connections, running protocols and the rest of the following:

mail:startedTime = ""
mail:setStateVersion = 1
mail:state = "STOPPED"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:0:status = "ON"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:0:kind = "INCOMING"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:0:protocol = "IMAP"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:0:state = "STOPPED"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:0:service = "MailAccess"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:0:error = ""
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:1:status = "ON"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:1:kind = "INCOMING"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:1:protocol = "POP3"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:1:state = "STOPPED"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:1:service = "MailAccess"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:1:error = ""
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:2:status = "ON"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:2:kind = "INCOMING"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:2:protocol = "SMTP"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:2:state = "STOPPED"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:2:service = "MailTransferAgent"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:2:error = ""
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:3:status = "ON"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:3:kind = "OUTGOING"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:3:protocol = "SMTP"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:3:state = "STOPPED"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:3:service = "MailTransferAgent"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:3:error = ""
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:4:status = "OFF"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:4:kind = "INCOMING"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:4:protocol = ""
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:4:state = "STOPPED"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:4:service = "ListServer"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:4:error = ""
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:5:status = "ON"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:5:kind = "INCOMING"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:5:protocol = ""
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:5:state = "STOPPED"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:5:service = "JunkMailFilter"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:5:error = ""
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:6:status = "ON"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:6:kind = "INCOMING"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:6:protocol = ""
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:6:state = "STOPPED"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:6:service = "VirusScanner"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:6:error = ""
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:7:status = "ON"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:7:kind = "INCOMING"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:7:protocol = ""
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:7:state = "STOPPED"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:7:service = "VirusDatabaseUpdater"
mail:protocolsArray:_array_index:7:error = ""
mail:logPaths:Server Error Log = "/Library/Logs/Mail/mail-err.log"
mail:logPaths:IMAP Log = "/Library/Logs/Mail/mail-info.log"
mail:logPaths:Server Log = "/Library/Logs/Mail/mail-info.log"
mail:logPaths:POP Log = "/Library/Logs/Mail/mail-info.log"
mail:logPaths:SMTP Log = "/var/log/mail.log"
mail:logPaths:List Server Log = "/Library/Logs/Mail/listserver.log"
mail:logPaths:Migration Log = "/Library/Logs/MailMigration.log"
mail:logPaths:Virus Log = "/Library/Logs/Mail/clamav.log"
mail:logPaths:Amavisd Log = "/Library/Logs/Mail/amavis.log"
mail:logPaths:Virus DB Log = "/Library/Logs/Mail/freshclam.log"
mail:imapStartedTime = ""
mail:postfixStartedTime = ""
mail:servicePortsRestrictionInfo = _empty_array
mail:servicePortsAreRestricted = "NO"
mail:connectionCount = 0
mail:readWriteSettingsVersion = 1
mail:serviceStatus = "DISABLED"

To stop the service:

sudo serveradmin stop mail

And to start it back up:

sudo serveradmin start mail

To configure some of the settings no longer in the GUI from previous versions, let’s look at the full list of options:

sudo serveradmin settings mail

One that is commonly changed is the subject line added to messages that are marked as spam by spam assassin. This is stored in mail:postfix:spam_subject_tag, so changing would be:

sudo serveradmin settings mail:postfix:spam_subject_tag = "***DIEEVILSPAMMERSDIE*** "

A number of admins also choose to disable greylisting, done using the mail:postfix:greylist_disable option:

sudo serveradmin settings mail:postfix:greylist_disable = no

To configure an email address for quarantined mail to go, use mail:postfix:virus_quarantine:

sudo serveradmin settings mail:postfix:virus_quarantine = ""

The administrator, by default, doesn’t get an email when an email containing a file infected with a virus is sent through the server. To enable this option:

sudo serveradmin settings mail:postfix:virus_notify_admin = yes

I also find a lot of Mac environments want to accept email of pretty much any size. By default, message size limits are enabled. To disable:

sudo serveradmin settings mail:postfix:message_size_limit_enabled = yes

Or even better, just set new limit:

sudo serveradmin settings mail:postfix:message_size_limit = 10485760

And to configure the percentage of someone’s quota that kicks an alert (soft quota):

sudo serveradmin settings mail:imap:quotawarn = 75

Additionally, the following arrays are pretty helpful, which used to have GUI options:

  • mail:postfix:mynetworks:_array_index:0 = “″ – Add entries to this one to add “local” clients
  • mail:postfix:host_whitelist = _empty_array – Add whitelisted hosts
  • mail:postfix:blacklist_from = _empty_array – Add blacklisted hosts
  • mail:postfix:black_hole_domains:_array_index:0 = “” – Add additional RBL Servers

The client side of the mail service is straight forward enough. If you are wondering where in this article we discuss using webmail, er, that’s not installed by default any longer. But the open source project previously used, roundcube, is still available for download and easily installed (the pre-reqs are all there, already). Check out the roundcube wiki installation page here for more info on that. Also, mail groups. I hope to have a post about that soon enough. Unless, of course, I get sidetracked with having a life. Which is arguably not very likely…

September 24th, 2015

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OS X Server has long had a VPN service that can be run. The server is capable of running the two most commonly used VPN protocols: PPTP and L2TP. The L2TP protocol is always in use, but the server can run both concurrently. You should use L2TP when at all possible.
Sure, “All the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks.” But security is a theme that it never hurts to keep in the forefront of your mind. If you were thinking of exposing the other services in OS X Server to the Internet without having users connect to a VPN service then you should think again, because the VPN service is simple to setup and even simpler to manage.

Setting Up The VPN Service In OS X Server

To setup the VPN service, open the Server app and click on VPN in the Server app sidebar. The VPN Settings  screen has two options available in the “Configure VPN for” field, which has two options:

  • L2TP: Enables only the L2TP protocol
  • L2TP and PPTP: Enables both the L2TP protocol and the PPTP protocol

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.23.05 PM

The VPN Host Name field is used by administrators leveraging profiles. The setting used becomes the address for the VPN service in the Everyone profile. L2TP requires a shared secret or an SSL certificate. In this example, we’ll configure a shared secret by providing a password in the Shared Secret field. Additionally, there are three fields, each with an Edit button that allows for configuration:

  • Client Addresses: The dynamic pool of addresses provided when clients connect to the VPNScreen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.24.23 PM
  • DNS Settings: The name servers used once a VPN client has connected to the server. As well as the Search Domains configuration.Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.25.11 PM
  • Routes: Select which interface (VPN or default interface of the client system) that a client connects to each IP address and subnet mask over. Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.25.50 PM
  • Save Configuration Profile: Use this button to export configuration profiles to a file, which can then be distributed to client systems (OS X using the profiles command, iOS using Apple Configurator or both using Profile Manager).

Once configured, open incoming ports on the router/firewall. PPTP runs over port 1723. L2TP is a bit more complicated (with keys bigger than a baby’s arm), running over 1701, but also the IP-ESP protocol (IP Protocol 50). Both are configured automatically when using Apple AirPorts as gateway devices. Officially, the ports to forward are listed at

Using The Command Line

I know, I’ve described ways to manage these services from the command line before. But, “tonight we have number twelve of one hundred things to do with your body when you’re all alone.” The serveradmin command can be used to manage the service as well as the Server app. The serveradmin command can start the service, using the default settings, with no further configuration being required:

sudo serveradmin start vpn

And to stop the service:

sudo serveradmin stop vpn

And to list the available options:

sudo serveradmin settings vpn

The output of which shows all of the VPN settings available via serveradmin (which is many more than what you see in the Server app:

vpn:vpnHost = "elcapserver.krypted.lan" = "/var/log/ppp/vpnd.log" = 1 = 128 = _empty_array = _empty_array = "1" = "" = "2" = "" = yes = "PPTP" = "PPP" = 5 = 1 = "EAP-RSA" = "DSACL" = 1 = 0 = 1 = 1 = 60 = 1 = "MSCHAP2" = 0 = "DSAuth" = "/var/log/ppp/vpnd.log" = 1 = 7200 = "MPPE" = "Manual" = "" = "" = _empty_array = _empty_array = _empty_array = "" = 128 = 0 = "/var/log/ppp/vpnd.log" = 1 = _empty_array = _empty_array = "1" = "" = "2" = "" = yes = "L2TP" = "PPP" = 5 = 1 = "EAP-KRB" = "DSACL" = 1 = 0 = 1 = 60 = 1 = "MSCHAP2" = "DSAuth" = "/var/log/ppp/vpnd.log" = 7200 = "Keychain" = "" = "" = "SharedSecret" = "" = "None" = <> = "Manual" = "" = "" = _empty_array = _empty_array = _empty_array = "IPSec" = "yaright"

To disable L2TP, set to no:

sudo serveradmin settings = no

To configure how long a client can be idle prior to being disconnected:

sudo serveradmin settings = 10

By default, each protocol has a maximum of 128 sessions, configureable using

sudo serveradmin settings = 200

To see the state of the service, the pid, the time the service was configured, the path to the log files, the number of clients and other information, use the fullstatus option:

sudo serveradmin fullstatus vpn

Which returns output similar to the following:

vpn:servicePortsAreRestricted = "NO"
vpn:readWriteSettingsVersion = 1 = "MSCHAP2" = 0 = yes = "MPPEKeySize128" = "PPP" = "PPTP" = "DSAuth" = "MSCHAP2" = "PPP" = yes = 0 = "L2TP" = "DSAuth"
vpn:servicePortsRestrictionInfo = _empty_array
vpn:health = _empty_dictionary
vpn:logPaths:vpnLog = "/var/log/ppp/vpnd.log"
vpn:configured = yes
vpn:state = "STOPPED"
vpn:setStateVersion = 1

Security folk will be stoked to see that the shared secret is shown in the clear using: = "a dirty thought in a nice clean mind"

Configuring Users For VPN Access

Each account that accesses the VPN server needs a valid account to do so. To configure existing users to use the service, click on Users in the Server app sidebar.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.28.10 PM

At the list of users, click on a user and then click on the cog wheel icon, selecting Edit Access to Services.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.28.30 PM

At the Service Access screen will be a list of services that could be hosted on the server; verify the checkbox for VPN is highlighted for the user. If not, click Manage Service Access, click Manage and then check the VPN box.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.29.07 PM

Setting Up Client Computers

As you can see, configuring the VPN service in OS X Server 5 (running on El Capitan and Yosemite) is a simple and straight-forward process – much easier than eating your cereal with a fork and doing your homework in the dark.. Configuring clients is as simple as importing the profile generated by the service. However, you can also configure clients manually. To do so in OS X, open the Network System Preference pane. From here, click on the plus sign (“+”) to add a new network service.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.30.27 PM

At the prompt, select VPN in the Interface field and then either PPTP or L2TP over IPSec in the VPN Type. Then provide a name for the connection in the Service Name field and click on Create.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.31.01 PM

At the list of network interfaces in the Network System Preference pane, provide the hostname or address of the server in the Server Address field and the username that will be connecting to the VPN service in the Account Name field. If using L2TP, click on Authentication Settings.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.31.35 PM

At the prompt, provide the password entered into the Shared Secret field earlier in this article in the Machine Authentication Shared Secret field and the user’s password in the User Authentication Password field. When you’re done, click OK and then provided you’re outside the network and routeable to the server, click on Connect to test the connection.


Setting Up the VPN service in OS X Server 5 (for Yosemite or El Capitan) is as simple as clicking the ON button. But much more information about using a VPN can be required. The natd binary is still built into OS X at /usr/sbin/natd and can be managed in a number of ways. But it’s likely that the days of using an OS X Server as a gateway device are over, if they ever started. Sure “feeling screwed up at a screwed up time in a screwed up place does not necessarily make you screwed up” but using an OS X Server for NAT when it isn’t even supported any more probably does. So rather than try to use the server as both, use a 3rd party firewall like most everyone else and then use the server as a VPN appliance. Hopefully it can do much more than just that to help justify the cost. And if you’re using an Apple AirPort as a router (hopefully in a very small environment) then the whole process of setting this thing up should be super-simple.

September 23rd, 2015

Posted In: Mac OS X Server, Mac Security

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Under the hood, OS X Server has a number of substantial changes; however, at first the Server app (Server 5) appears to have had very few changes. The changes in the Server app were far more substantial in the El Capitan version (and Yosemite for that matter) of OS X Server. All of the options from OS X are still there and using the new command line interface for managing the service, there are far more options than ever before.

The DNS service in OS X Server, as with previous versions, is based on bind 9 (BIND 9.9.7-P2 to be exact). This is very much compatible with practically every DNS server in the world, including those hosted on Windows, OS X, Linux and even Zoe-R.

The first time you open the DNS Service click on the DNS service in the ADVANCED section of the list of SERVICES.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.15.41 PM

Then, click on the cog wheel icon below the list of records and click on Show All Records.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.16.09 PM

At the Records screen, you’ll now see forward and reverse record information. Click the Edit… button for the Forwarding Servers field. Here, you’ll be able to enter a Forwarders, or DNS servers that resolve names that the server you’re using can’t resolve using its own DNS records.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.17.27 PM

Click the plus sign to enter the IP address of any necessary Forwarders. Enter the IP address of any Forwarding servers, then click OK to save your changes.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.18.27 PM

Once back at the main DNS service control screen, click the Edit… button for Perform lookups for to configure what computers the DNS server you are setting up can use the DNS service that the server is hosting.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.27.31 PM

At the Perform Lookups screen, provide any additional subnets that should be used. If the server should be accessible by anyone anywhere, just set the “Perform lookups for” field at the DNS service screen to “all clients”.

All you have to do to start the DNS is click on the ON button (if it’s not already started, that is). There’s a chance that you won’t want all of the records that are by default entered into the service. But leave it for now, until we’ve covered what everything is. To list the various types of records:

  • Primary Zone: The DNS “Domain”. For example, would likely have a primary zone of
  • Machine Record: An A record for a computer, or a record that tells DNS to resolve whatever name is indicated in the “machine” record to an IP address, whether the IP address is reachable or not.
  • Name Server: NS record, indicates the authoritative DNS server for each zone. If you only have one DNS server then this should be the server itself.
  • Reverse Zone: Zone that maps each name that IP addresses within the zone answer with. Reverse Zones are comprised of Reverse Mappings and each octal change in an IP scheme that has records mapped represents a new Reverse Zone.
  • Reverse Mapping: PTR record, or a record that indicates the name that should respond for a given IP address. These are automatically created for the first IP address listed in a Machine Record.
  • Alias Record: A CNAME, or a name that points to another name.
  • Service Record: Records that can hold special types of data that describe where to look for services for a given zone. For example, iCal can leverage service records so that users can just type the username and password during the setup process.
  • Mail Exchanger Record (aka MX record): Mail Exchanger, points to the IP address of the mail server for a given domain (aka Primary or Secondary Zone).
  • Secondary Zone: A read only copy of a zone that is copied from the server where it’s a Primary Zone when created and routinely through what is known as a Zone Transfer.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.26.44 PM

When you click on the plus sign, you can create additional records. Double-clicking on records (including the Zones) brings up a screen to edit the record. The settings for a zone can be seen below.

 Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.28.19 PM

These include the name for the zone. As you can see, a zone was created with the hostname rather than the actual domain name. This is a problem if you wish to have multiple records in your domain that point to the same host name. Theoretically you could create a zone and a machine record for each host in the domain, but the right way to do things is probably going to be to create a zone for the domain name instead of the host name. So for the above zone, the entry should be rather than (the hostname of the computer). Additionally, the TTL (or Time To Live) can be configured, which is referenced here as the “Zone data is valid for” field. If you will be making a lot of changes this value should be as low as possible (the minimum value here is 5 minutes). Once changes are made, the TTL can be set for a larger number in order to reduce the amount of traffic hitting the server (DNS traffic is really light, so probably not a huge deal in most environments using an El Capitan Server as their DNS server). Check the box for “Allow zone transfers” if there will be other servers that use this server to lookup records.

Additionally, if the zone is to be a secondary zone configured on another server, you can configure the frequency to perform zone transfers at this screen, how frequently to perform lookups when the primary name server isn’t responsive and when to stop bothering to try if the thing never actually ends up coming back online. Click on Done to commit any changes made, or to save a new record if you’re creating a new zone.

“Note: To make sure your zone name and TLD don’t conflict with data that already exists on the Internet, check here to make sure you’re not using a sponsored TLD.” —

Double-click on a Machine record next (or click plus to add one). Here, provide a hostname along with an IP address and indicate the Zone that the record lives in. The IP Addresses field seems to allow for multiple IPs, which is common in round robin DNS, or when one name points to multiple servers and lookups rotate amongst the servers. However, it’s worth mentioning that when I configure multiple IP addresses, the last one in the list is the only one that gets fed to clients. Therefore, for now at least, you might want to stick with one IP address per name.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.29.37 PM

Note that the above screen has the domain in the zone field and the name of a record, such as www for the zone called, for example, krypted.lan. Click Done to commit the changes or create the new record.

Next, let’s create a MX record for the domain. To create the MX for the domain, click on the plus sign at the list of records.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.31.46 PM

Select the appropriate zone in the Zone field (if you have multiple zones). Then type the name of the A record that you will be pointing mail to. Most likely, this would be a machine record called simply mail, in this case for krypton.lan, so mail.krypted.lan. If you have multiple MX records, increment the priority number for the lower priority servers.

As a full example, let’s create a zone and some records from scratch. Let’s setup this zone for an Xsan metadata network, called krypted.xsan. Then, let’s create our metadata controller record as starbuck.krypted.xsan to point to and our backup metadata controller record as apollo.krypted.xsan which points to First, click on the plus sign and select Add Primary Zone.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.33.11 PM

At the zone screen, enter the name krypted.xsan, check the box for Allow zone transfers (there will be a second server) and click on the Done button. Click on the plus sign and then click on Add Machine record.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.33.56 PM

At the New Machine Record screen, select krypted.xsan as the Zone and then enter starbuck as the Host Name and click on the plus sign for IP Addresses and type in Click on Done to commit the changes.

 Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.34.35 PM

Repeat the process for Apollo, entering apollo as the Host Name and 10.0.03 as the IP address. Click Done to create the record.

Setting Up Secondary Servers

Now let’s setup a secondary server by leveraging a secondary zone running on a second computer. On the second El Capitan Server running on the second server, click on the plus sign for the DNS service and select Add Secondary Zone.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.25.19 PM

At the Secondary Zone screen, enter krypted.xsan as the name of the zone and then the IP address of the DNS server hosting that domain in the Primary Servers field. Click Done and the initial zone transfer should begin once the DNS service is turned on (if it hasn’t already been enabled).

Managing DNS From The Command Line

Now, all of this is pretty straight forward. Create a zone, create some records inside the zone and you’re good to go. But there are a lot of times when DNS just needs a little more than what the Server app can do for you. For example, round robin DNS records, bind views, etc. Therefore, getting used to the command line is going to be pretty helpful for anyone with more than a handful of records. The first thing to know about the DNS command line in OS X El Capitan Server is to do everything possible using the serveradmin command. To start the service, use the start option:

sudo serveradmin start dns

To stop the service, use the stop option:

sudo serveradmin stop dns

To get the status of the service, including how many zones are being hosted, the last time it was started, the status at the moment, the version of bind (9.8.1 right now) and the location of the log files, use the fullstatus option:

sudo serveradmin fullstatus dns

A number of other tasks can be performed using the settings option. For example, to enable Bonjour Client Browsing, an option previously available in Server Admin, use the following command:

sudo serveradmin settings dns:isBonjourClientBrowsingEnabled = yes

Subnets can be created programmatically through serveradmin as well. Let’s look at what our krypted.xsan subnet looks like, by default (replace your zone name w/ krypted.xsan to see your output):

sudo serveradmin settings

Now, let’s say we’d like to disable bonjour registration of just this zone, but leave it on for the others on the server:

sudo serveradmin settings = no

The entire block can be fed in for new zones, if you have a lot of them. Just remember to always make sure that the serial option for each zone is unique. Otherwise the zones will not work properly.

While serveradmin is one way to edit zone data, it isn’t the only way, you can also use the dnsconfig options described in In /private/var/named are a collection of each zone the server is configured for. Secondary zones are flat and don’t have a lot of data in them, but primary zones contain all the information in the Server app and the serveradmin outputs. To see the contents of our test zone we created, let’s view the /Library/Server/named/db.krypted.xsan file (each file name is db. followed by the name of the zone):

cat /var/named/db.krypted.xsan

Add another record into the bottom and stop/start DNS to immediately see the ramification of doing so. Overall, DNS is one of those services that seems terribly complicated at first. But once you get used to it, I actually find manually editing zone files far faster and easier than messing around with the Server app or previously Server Admin. However, I also find that occasionally, because the Server app can make changes in there that all my settings will vanish.

Troubleshooting is another place where the command line can be helpful. While logs can be found in the Server app, I prefer to watch log entries live as I perform lookups using the /Library/Logs/named.log file. To do so, run tail -f followed by the name of the file:

tail -f /Library/Logs/named.log

Also, see for information on forcing DNS propagation if you are having issues with zone transfers. Finally, you can manage all records within the DNS service using the new /Applications/ command line tool. I’ve written an article on managing DNS using this tool, available here.

September 21st, 2015

Posted In: Mac OS X Server, Xsan

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

DHCP, or Dynamic Host Control Protocol, is the service used to hand out IP addresses and other network settings by network appliances and servers. The DHCP Server built into OS X Server 5, installed on El Capitan or Yosemite is easy-to-use and fast. It’s pretty transparent, just as DHCP services should be. To install the service, open the Server app and then click on the Show button beside Advanced in the server sidebar. Then click on DHCP.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.41.07 PM

At the DHCP screen, you’ll see two tabs: Settings, used for managing the service and Clients, used to see leases in use by computers that obtain IP address information from the server. You’ll also see an ON and OFF switch, but we’re going to configure our scopes, or Networks as they appear in the Server app, before we enable the service. To configure a scope, double-click on the first entry in the Networks list.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.42.41 PM

Each scope, or Network, will have the following options:

  • Name: A name for the scope, used only on the server to keep track of things.
  • Lease Duration: Select an hour, a day, a week or 30 days. This is how long a lease that is provided to a client is valid before the lease expires and the client must find a new lease, either from the server you’re configuring or a different host.
  • Network Interface: The network interface you’d like to share IPs over. Keep in mind that you can tag multiple VLANs on a NIC, assign each an interface in OS X and therefore provide different scopes for different VLANs with the same physical computer and NIC.
  • Starting IP Address: The first IP address used. For example, if you configure a scope to go from to you would have 50 useable IP addresses.
  • Ending IP Address: The last IP address used in a scope.
  • Subnet Mask: The subnet mask used for the client configuration. This setting determines the size of the network.
  • Router: The default gateway, or router for the network. Often a .1 address for the subnet used in the Starting and Ending IP address fields. Note that while in DHCP you don’t actually have to use a gateway, OS X Server does force you to do so or you cannot save changes to each scope.
  • DNS: Use the Edit button for DNS to bring up a screen that allows you to configure the DNS settings provided as part of each DHCP scope you create, taking note that by default you will be handing out a server of if you don’t configure this setting.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.43.39 PM

The DNS settings in the DHCP scope are really just the IP addresses to use for the DNS servers and the search domain. The search domain is the domain name appended to all otherwise incomplete Fully Qualified Domain Names. For example, if we use internal.krypted.lan and we have a DNS record for wiki.internal.krypted.lan then we could just type wiki into Safari to bring up the wiki server. Click the minus sign button to remove any data in these fields and then click on the plus sign to enter new values.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.45.05 PM

Click OK to save DNS settings and then OK to save each scope. Once you’ve build all required scopes, start the service. Once started, verify that a new client on the network gets an IP. Also, make sure that there are no overlapping scopes and that if you are moving a scope from one device to another (e.g. the server you’re setting up right now) that you renew all leases on client systems, most easily done using a quick reboot, or using “ipconfig /release” on a Windows computer. If you have problems with leases not renewing in OS X, check out this article I did awhile back.

So far, totally easy. Each time you make a change, the change updates a few different things. First, it updates the /etc/bootpd.plist property list, which looks something like this (note the correlation between these keys and the settings in the above screen shots.:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">
<string>192.168.210 Wi-Fi</string>

Settings from this file include:

  • dhcp_enabled – Used to enable dhcp for each network interface. Replace the <false/> immediately below with <array> <string>en0</string> </array>. For additional entries, duplice the string line and enter each from ifconfig that you’d like to use dhcp on.
  • bootp_enabled – This can be left as Disabled or set to an array of the adapters that should be enabled if you wish to use the bootp protocol in addition to dhcp. Note that the server can do both bootp and dhcp simultaneously.
  • allocate – Use the allocate key for each subnet in the Subnets array to enable each subnet once the service is enabled.
  • Subnets – Use this array to create additional scopes or subnets that you will be serving up DHCP for. To do so, copy the entry in the array and paste it immediately below the existing entry. The entry is a dictionary so copy all of the data between and including the <dict> and </dict> immediately after the <array> entry for the subnet itself.
  • lease_max and lease_min – Set these integers to the time for a client to retain its dhcp lease
  • name – If there are multiple subnet entries, this should be unique and reference a friendly name for the subnet itself.
  • net_address – The first octets of the subnet followed by a 0. For example, assuming a /24 and 172.16.25 as the first three octets the entry would be
  • net_mask – The subnet mask clients should have
  • net_range – The first entry should have the first IP in the range and the last should have the last IP in the range. For example, in the following example the addressing is to
  • dhcp_domain_name_server – There should be a string for each DNS server supplied by dhcp in this array
  • dhcp_domain_search – Each domain in the domain search field should be suppled in a string within this array, if one is needed. If not, feel free to delete the key and the array if this isn’t needed.
  • dhcp_router – This entry should contain the router or default gateway used for clients on the subnet, if there is one. If not, you can delete the key and following string entries.

If you run the serveradmin command, followed by the settings verb and then the dhcp service, you’ll see the other place that gets updated:

serveradmin settings dhcp

The output indicates that

dhcp:static_maps = _empty_array
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:WINS_secondary_server = ""
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:selected_port_name = "en0"
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:dhcp_router = ""
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:dhcp_domain_name_server:_array_index:0 = ""
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:net_mask = ""
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:WINS_NBDD_server = ""
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:net_range_start = ""
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:lease_max = 3600
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:dhcp_domain_search:_array_index:0 = "internal.krypted.lan"
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:descriptive_name = "192.168.210 Wi-Fi"
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:WINS_primary_server = ""
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:net_range_end = ""
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:dhcp_ldap_url = _empty_array
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:WINS_node_type = "NOT_SET"
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:net_address = ""
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:dhcp_enabled = yes
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:dhcp_domain_name = "internal.krypted.lan"
dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:WINS_scope_id = ""
dhcp:subnet_defaults:logVerbosity = "MEDIUM"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:WINS_node_type_list:_array_index:0 = "BROADCAST_B_NODE"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:WINS_node_type_list:_array_index:1 = "HYBRID_H_NODE"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:WINS_node_type_list:_array_index:2 = "NOT_SET"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:WINS_node_type_list:_array_index:3 = "PEER_P_NODE"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:WINS_node_type_list:_array_index:4 = "MIXED_M_NODE"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:dhcp_domain_name = ""
dhcp:subnet_defaults:WINS_node_type = "NOT_SET"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:routers = _empty_dictionary
dhcp:subnet_defaults:logVerbosityList:_array_index:0 = "LOW"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:logVerbosityList:_array_index:1 = "MEDIUM"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:logVerbosityList:_array_index:2 = "HIGH"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:dhcp_domain_name_server:_array_index:0 = ""
dhcp:subnet_defaults:selected_port_key = "en0"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:selected_port_key_list:_array_index:0 = "bridge0"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:selected_port_key_list:_array_index:1 = "en0"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:selected_port_key_list:_array_index:2 = "p2p0"
dhcp:subnet_defaults:selected_port_key_list:_array_index:3 = "en1"
dhcp:logging_level = "MEDIUM"

Notice the correlation between the uuid string in /etc/bootp.plist and the arrayid entry for each subnet/network/scope (too many terms referring to the same thing, ahhhh!). Using the serveradmin command you can configure a lot more than you can configure in the Server app gui. For example, on a dedicated DHCP server, you could increase logging level to HIGH (as root/with sudo of course):

serveradmin settings dhcp:logging_level = "MEDIUM"

You can also change settings within a scope. For example, if you realized that you were already using and 201 for statically assigned IPs elsewhere you can go ahead and ssh into the server and change the first IP in a scope to 202 using the following (assuming the uuid of the domain is the same as in the previous examples):

serveradmin settings dhcp:subnets:_array_id:B03BAE3C-AB79-4108-9E5E-F0ABAF32179E:net_range_start = ""

You can also obtain some really helpful information using the fullstatus verb with serveradmin:

serveradmin fullstatus dhcp

This output includes the number of active leases, path to log file (tailing that file is helpful when troubleshooting issues), static mappings (configured using the command line if needed), etc.

dhcp:state = "RUNNING"
dhcp:backendVersion = "10.11"
dhcp:timeOfModification = "2015-10-04 04:24:17 +0000"
dhcp:numDHCPActiveClients = 0
dhcp:timeOfSnapShot = "2015-10-04 04:24:19 +0000"
dhcp:dhcpLeasesArray = _empty_array
dhcp:logPaths:systemLog = "/var/log/system.log"
dhcp:numConfiguredStaticMaps = 1
dhcp:timeServiceStarted = "2015-10-04 04:24:17 +0000"
dhcp:setStateVersion = 1
dhcp:numDHCPLeases = 21
dhcp:readWriteSettingsVersion = 1

Once started, configure reservations using  the /etc/bootptab file. This file should have a column for the name of a computer, the hardware type (1), the hwaddr (the MAC address) and ipaddr for the desired IP address of each entry:

# hostname hwtype hwaddr ipaddr bootfile
a.krypted.lan 1 00:00:00:aa:bb:cc
b.krypted.lan 1 00:00:00:aa:bb:cc

You can start and stop the service either using the serveradmin command:

serveradmin stop dhcp
serveradmin start dhcp

Or using the launchctl:

sudo /bin/launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/bootps.plist
sudo /bin/launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/bootps.plist

September 21st, 2015

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

Tags: , , , , ,

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