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It’s no wonder that Headdress comes complete with a feature set that will appear to most avid graphic designers out there, at least those who dabble in the web. After all, it was designed by Twinsparc, your prototypical two-man design firm.

At first glance, Headdress may not seem like an exciting application. Those who have lived on a Mac long enough know that OSX ships with Apache and PHP preinstalled, so right out of the box you have a fairly decent web server. So, who needs Headdress?

I’d argue that many of you design-types out there will find serious value in what Headdress has to offer.

Headdress is a very nifty little app that allows you to host a website from any folder within your user account’s home folder. That means you’re no longer limited to stuffing your work into the “Sites” folder (which, if you’re like me, is already crammed with 15+ websites). You can add and remove sites to your liking, hosting any number of your projects simultaneously.

Once you’re no longer limited to a single folder, you can start putting your websites into a filing structure that makes sense to you — websites can live next to the source Photoshop files that gave birth to them without opening those files up to everyone on your network.

What more remarkable, is that Headdress uses the version of PHP that Apple has shipped along with OSX, so you can turn on PHP with the flip of a switch. No more digging in the Terminal to edit your httpd.conf files.

Headdress is a very simple and easy to use server that will appeal to anyone who just needs to host a PHP or XHTML based website. Unfortunately, Headdress doesn’t deliver a web server as robust as many of us are used to with Apache. While you can flip on PHP, you’re out of luck when it comes to SQL. There’s also no simple URL rewrite function.

If you’re looking for a simple server easily to host all of your design projects, take a look at Headdress. If you’re looking for a server to use for some serious development (Ruby on Rails or otherwise), you’ll have to look elsewhere. For now, I’ll keep to Apache and WEBrick.

The Bottom Line: Headdress is a very well designed little app that’s perfect if you’re requirements for a web server are relatively simple.

Product: Headdress
By: Twinsparc
Price: $14.99

13 Responses to “Headdress”

  1. Thanks for the kind review!
    Just to clarify – MAMP and Headdress are not the same. MAMP is an alternative to the system Apache. MAMP is self contained and includes MySQL. Headdress is a handy way to control server configs – primarily for adding virtualhosts. Headdress can control both MAMP’s config and the system config. More details can be found in the forum.
    Also – look for the new version coming soon, it has an updated interface and more server control features.

  2. Second vote for MAMP. There’s also XAMPP. The former easily sets up a completely enclosed environment, the later uses the built in Apache, etc. but requires the terminal to configure.