By Doug Lowe

At one time, Apple offered a dedicated network operating system known as Mac OS X Server (the X is pronounced Ten, not Ex). In 2011, Apple merged Mac OS X Server with its desktop operating system and made the server components of the operating system available as an inexpensive add-on you can purchase from the App Store.

For the latest version of OS X (10.8, released in July 2012), the Server App enhancement can be purchased for under $20.

The Server App download adds a variety of network server features to OS X, including:

  • Apache web server, which also runs on Windows and Linux systems

  • MySQL, which is also available in Windows and Linux versions

  • Wiki Server, which lets you set up web-based wiki, blog, and calendaring sites

  • NetBoot, a feature that simplifies the task of managing network client computers

  • Spotlight Server, which lets you search for content on remote file servers

  • Podcast Producer, which lets you create and distribute multimedia programs