Most Mac users remain unaware of the fact that there’s a built-in web server on the system. On Mac, that web server is Apache. Apache is an open-source web server that has been around since as early as 1995. Ever since 2016, Apache has been the engine used behind 46% of all websites. If you would like to share information in a small group or would like to set up and test sites on a development web server before launch, then having a web server built-in on your system is ideal.

You can easily set up the Apache web server on your Mac. Though to do this, you’ll need some knowledge of the command line. The command line is a text interface on your system, that accepts commands from you, which are then sent to the operating system to run. The command line is an incredibly powerful tool, that is capable of accomplishing various tasks.

Many people often use the command line in order to navigate through files on their system. Though the command line is an extremely powerful tool, it is also very sensitive. You must be careful not to enter a command, without knowing exactly what it does, or else you may end up compromising the data on your system.

On your Mac, the command line exists in the Terminal application. In order to get started and use the command line to start an Apache web server, follow the instructions below.

Use Terminal to Start Apache Web Server in Mac OS X

If you’re a novice user, you may be hesitant to use Terminal, but this process is easy to carry out, and will only require a few moments of your time. In order to get started and use Terminal to set up and start the Apache web server, follow the surprisingly simple instructions below.

Spotlight

1. Launch Terminal. You can do this by using Spotlight and clicking on the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of your screen. Type in Terminal in the search bar, and press the enter/return key.

2. Enter the following command:

nano /etc/apache2/users/USERNAME.conf

Note: Please replace USERNAME with the user account name.

3. You may be prompted to enter your administrative password. Please do so accordingly.

4. Enter the following in the nano text editor:

<Directory “/Users/USERNAME/Sites/”>

Options Indexes Multiviews

AllowOverride AuthConfig Limit

Order allow.deny

Allow from all

</Directory>

5. Press the control + O key in order to save the changers to USERNAME.conf. Afterwards, press control + X in order to quit out of nano.

6. Enter the following command, in order to start the Apache web server:

sudo apachect1 start

7. Launch any web browser you prefer and navigate to http://127.0.0.1 in order to confirm that the web server is running. If the server is running properly, you’ll see a It Works! Message.

It’s as simple as that. You’ve now started a successful Apache web server on your Mac. You can now modify the localhost files or the user files. If this was your first time using Terminal, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Terminal is an extremely powerful tool, as stated above, but is also sensitive. Please ensure you know what a command does before entering it in Terminal.

If you don’t properly use the command line on your Mac, you can end up moving around files on your system, or even deleting all the data on your Mac. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t deter you from trying to learn how to use such a useful and beneficial tool.