Dummy Server

I have a Mac G4 Server that I've been messing with. The OSX is corrupt and I can't find any installs for an old version for it. I have been playing around with websites and I have a few PHP books lying around. Could install Apache or some other server OS to it an learn server / website admin skills using it as a test bed? Would I need a router between it and my laptop or could I just run ethernet?


EDIT: moved to Networking Software from Networking Hardware

EDIT: LINKS! (Not everything I need but a start)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0JFfpG4BWI pfsense tutorial

Might be able to do it. As for the networking hardware, I would recommend using a router.

What if I went for pfsense? What would that do? I want to expand on this. I'm going to college and I don't think I want all of my media on my laptop, I at least want a back up on a network drive. Could I use this as a media server as well? I wouldn't nessesarily use a domain name, it could run as an IP address (not connected to the internet, just local. Probably not even wireless) Then I could host documents and media as well run a website... IDEAS!

Use Debain for the OS and install apache (with the php5 plugins) along with MySQL and phpmyadmin for a web interface managment for the SQL database.

You could just use a standard crossover cable to the server from the laptop. However this will limit the access to the server just from the laptop unless you bridge your wireless and wired interface within your laptops OS.

A router would be the best option. As you could setup your own little network then. If the router has a wireless access ponit built in then hey presto no wires for the laptop.

If you plan to play around with pfsense, you could virtulise both pfsense and debian on something like an ESXi or proxmox install on the G4 (just check the processors are capable of virtulization as older processors do not support this function.). That leaves you with one of three options then for connecting to the server. Using a switch as the server will be acting as a virtulised router or if you want wireless access to the machine, add a wireless card or the alternative to that would be the original option of using a wireless router and cabling the server to it.

The router option is the best if you plan on making the server publicly accessable over the www as it will be a far more reliable option than connecting it to the gateway of the network wirelessly

I was with you until I was virtualizing and then - Poof - Mindblown. Do you have any good learning resources I can read up on? 

Also, can PFSense act as a NAS? I'm getting to the point where I should have a NAS for media back up but that could be just a portable hard drive [for back up].