Mark Kirby - mobile, cloud, voice and IoT

Running a local webserver from a Dropbox folder on OS X

I wrote a article a few years back on setting up virtual hosts on OS X so you can have lots of urls pointing to different folders on your mac, for testing websites. A good practice I have found is to run this folder out of Dropbox, so even if you haven’t committed changes to a remote repository your work is always saved and backed up. To do this, there are a couple of extra steps you need to take, so I am writing this article here, do read the old one first to get the basics set up, and then come here for the updates.


Follow the instructions on setting up virtual hosts on OS X.

Your httpd-vhosts.conf should look something like this:

NameVirtualHost *:80

<VirtualHost *:80>  
DocumentRoot "/Users/markirby/Sites"  
ServerName localhost  

<Directory /Users/*/Sites/>  
Options Indexes Includes FollowSymLinks SymLinksifOwnerMatch ExecCGI MultiViews  
AllowOverride All  
Order allow,deny  
Allow from all  

Make sure you have set ‘/private/etc/hosts’, ‘/private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf’ and restarted apache, as per the instructions.

Enter the following to create a symlink which will enable you to edit files in either location and have the changes backed up as you work.

ln -s ~/Sites ~/Dropbox/Sites  

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