How Do I Setup a Web Server on a Mac?


Scott Campbell

Setting up a web server on a Mac can seem like a daunting task, but fear not! With a few simple steps, you’ll have your very own local server up and running in no time. In this tutorial, we’ll explore the process of setting up a web server on a Mac using the built-in Apache server.


Before we dive into the setup process, there are a couple of prerequisites that you’ll need to ensure are in place:

  • Mac OS: Make sure you have a Mac running macOS. The steps outlined in this tutorial may vary slightly depending on the version of macOS you are using.
  • Xcode Command Line Tools: Install Xcode Command Line Tools if you haven’t already.

    Open Terminal and run the following command: xcode-select --install. Follow the prompts to complete the installation.

Step 1: Enable Apache

The first step is to enable the Apache web server that comes pre-installed on your Mac. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Terminal: Launch Terminal from the Applications > Utilities folder or by using Spotlight search (Cmd + Space) and typing “Terminal”.
  2. Check Apache status: In Terminal, enter the command sudo apachectl -v. This will display the version of Apache installed on your system.

    If it’s not installed, follow this guide to install Homebrew and then install Apache using Homebrew.

  3. Edit configuration file: Next, open the Apache configuration file by entering the command sudo nano /etc/apache2/httpd.conf. This will open the file in the nano text editor.
  4. Make changes: Search for the line #LoadModule php7_module libexec/apache2/ and remove the ‘#’ at the beginning of the line to uncomment it. This enables PHP support in Apache.
  5. Save and exit: Press Ctrl + X to exit nano, and when prompted, press Y to save the changes.

Step 2: Start Apache

Now that you have enabled Apache, it’s time to start the server:

  1. Launch Terminal: Open Terminal if it’s not already open.
  2. Start Apache: Enter the command sudo apachectl start. You will be prompted to enter your password. Type it in and press Enter.
  3. Verify Apache is running: To check if Apache is running properly, open a web browser and enter “http://localhost” or “http://127.0.1” in the address bar.

    If you see the “It works!” page, congratulations! You have successfully set up a web server on your Mac!

Step 3: Configure Document Root

By default, Apache serves files from the “/Library/WebServer/Documents” directory. If you want to change this location, follow these steps:

  1. Edit configuration file: Open Terminal and enter the command sudo nano /etc/apache2/httpd.
  2. Edit DocumentRoot: Search for the line that starts with "DocumentRoot". Change the path after "DocumentRoot" to the desired directory where you want your web files to be served from.
  3. Edit Directory: Search for the line that starts with "<Directory /Library/WebServer/Documents>". Change the path after "<Directory" to match the new DocumentRoot path you set in the previous step.
  4. Restart Apache: Enter the command sudo apachectl restart to apply the changes.


You have successfully set up a web server on your Mac using Apache. Now you can start developing and testing your websites locally. Remember to place your website files in the DocumentRoot directory or any other directory you have configured.


If you encounter any issues during the setup process, here are a few common troubleshooting steps:

  • Check Apache status: Run the command sudo apachectl status in Terminal to check if Apache is running and any errors it may be encountering.
  • Check configuration file: Double-check that all edits made in "/etc/apache2/httpd.conf" are correct.
  • Check firewall settings: Make sure that incoming connections are allowed for port 80 (HTTP) and port 443 (HTTPS).

With a local web server set up on your Mac, you'll be able to develop websites and test them before deploying them onto a live server. Happy coding!