Replacement for OS X Server

Apple has killed OS X Server as far as web serving is concerned. I’m sure that many Enterprise users are going to be looking for a replacement for both 6 and X.

Fortunately I was already somewhat familiar with Abyss from Aprelium and can solidly vouch for its quality, longevity and very responsive tech support.

Abyss has a free version if you’re running a single site on a server or it’s $59 for a multi-site license with a year of updates included or $79 for two years of updates. A new OS X version (2.12) is being beta tested now to deal with Gatekeeper issues.

The one thing that’s not as well documented as it could be is cgi configuration as you’d use it for Panorama. So, here’s how to do it…

You can create a “cgi-bin” folder at the root level of every site and put panorama.cgi inside it, or as I prefer to do, create a single cgi-bin folder that can tae care of all sites on the server.

With the cgi-bin in the root folder, in the Scripting Parameters > Script Paths for each site, simply enter “/*cgi”.

To use a central location for multiple sites, each site has a setting for Aliases. The key is to use aliases to “share” the same physical location on the hard drive among several sites.

In Aliases, add a new alias defined as follows with any path adjustments needed to fit your configuration:

Virtual Path: /cgi-bin
Real Path: /Library/WebServer/cgi-bin

And, in the Scripting Parameters > Script Paths


Or even a more specific value like:


The asterisk allows for a wildcard in the name of the cgi script. I use it because, with all due respect to Panorama, I prefer to rename panorama.cgi to something to match each site. The reason is that it gives the impression of a custom cgi and hides what underlying cgi engine is in use. To me that’s a touch of security against hackers if they can’t even tell what’s in use. My cgi folder has several renamed copies of panorama.cgi and they all work just fine.

You can also name the cgi-bin folder just about anything as long as you adjust it accordingly in the paths. For instance, OS X Server actually had it as CGI-Executables and it can remain that way.

Are you saying that macOS no longer includes Apache? That would be news to me. You have to operate it via the command line, but that’s not a big deal, and I even made a Panorama database that would operate it, which I posted on the QNA list some time ago. I know this still works on macOS 10.12, not sure about newer versions but I haven’t heard anything about any changes in that area. Even if there was, it should not be a big deal to install Apache on any macOS system (for free). I understand that nginx is also popular, though I haven’t tried that.

As far as macOS Server goes, I don’t see any reason to bother with that any longer.

Apache remains a solid part of the OSX installation, but the OSX Server software has dropped all interface with web serving and number of other features it’s had for years. See Prepare for changes to macOS Server 5.7.1 Apple’s suggested alternatives do nothing for me.

Abyss provides a nice interface for hosting web sites. And while you may be comfortable with doing it by command line, I freely admit that I wouldn’t know where to begin in configuring all the aspects of multiple sites on a single machine. I’m sure I’m far from alone on that.

Ok, good, I was afraid I had missed an announcement.

I’d certainly have to study up on that as well, but so far that’s not something I’ve needed to do. On the other hand, there is a wealth of information online for configuring and using Apache.