Host Your Own Mac Server on Windows 10/11 Without Port Forwarding

Host Your Own Mac Server on Windows 10/11 Without Port Forwarding

Hello. I’d like to share this way of hosting your own Mac Server on Windows 10/11 using QEMU/KVM on Windows Subsystem for Linux. Basically, setting up a MacOS Virtual Machine.

That sentence may have been confusing! But don’t worry, it’s really a simple process.

With the help of some guides from the internet, we’re gonna make it work!

What makes this method awesome?

  • Fairly easy to set up.
  • Perfect for hosting a server for your friends.
  • Quick boot up!
  • Uses way less of your CPU compared to other VM software like VirtualBox.
  • Easy to leave it running in the background.
  • No port forwarding needed!
  • Absolutely free.

Requirements

  • Windows 10/11
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux
  • Ubuntu from Microsoft Store
  • Virtual Network (I use ZeroTier, it’s free)
  • About 60GB of space (the MacOS Virtual Machine creating its own storage)
  • A bit of technical knowledge (terminals)
  • Time and effort, patience, Google…
  • And be ready to troubleshoot!

Steps

Step 1: Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)
In this step, you just need to enable some settings, download Ubuntu, and set WSL2 as default.

Please follow this guide.

Step 2: MacOS Virtual Machine
You’ll be installing the Virtual Machine. I don’t have much technical knowledge in Linux myself, and if you’re just like me, it’s important to follow the steps exactly as they’re listed.

Please follow this guide.

Following this guide, I had a few problems that were easily solved in a few Google searches.

After installing your MacOS Virtual Machine, you’re basically good to go.

Login to the App Store and download BlockheadsServer.

Create a new world, start it up, and its name should be highlighted in yellow.

Some tips:

  • Your mouse will be relative. You can make your mouse align by going to View>Details>Add Hardware>Input>EvTouch USB Graphics Tablet. You will need to do this every time you boot up the VM. You will also have to remove the previous tablet as it won’t work the next time you boot.
  • Please avoid changing network settings unless you know how it works. Internet access is all we need.
  • Lower the CPU allocation and topology to 1. This lowers the CPU usage, but should not affect the performance of the VM.

Step 3: Peer-to-Peer Virtual Network (ZeroTier)

This is why we don’t need to port forward. A Virtual Network will save your life. We’re not talking about VPNs that encrypt your connection for security. This Virtual Network lets your devices connect to each other just like your home network, and this seems to be the same mechanism that lets you host and connect over your own WiFi in BlockheadsServer.

I first found ZeroTier and thankfully I didn’t need to look further. I’ve spent a day sitting in front of my computer trying to port forward but I didn’t actually need it.

Download the MacOS app from their official page.

You don’t need further logins in your MacOS VM or on your devices. You only have to login to manage your network in zerotier.com.

Setting up a network is easy enough. ZeroTier will walk you through creating one.

Just install the ZeroTier One app on your device, enter in the Network ID from ZeroTier, and authorize the member in the network.

You will have to do this for every device that you want in, unless you set your network to public.

For the address of your MacOS VM, click the wrench icon and click “Do Not Auto-Assign IPs.”

In the “Managed IPs” column, you will see the IP of your Mac Server set by your ZeroTier network. This is the IP that you will use to join the Mac Server.

All Done! :wink:

After all this, you can just minimize and leave the MacOS Virtual Machine running in the background, and it shouldn’t use too much CPU (mine uses 8-10%).

Even if your Mac VM goes into sleep, the server should still be open as long as it’s running.

I’ll try my best to help you with troubleshooting.

7 Likes

Is there a reason why it doesn’t work in Windows 10?

Oh no. It probably works too since Windows 10 supports WSL2. I was just using Windows 11 in my case when I made a VM. Thanks :smiley:

By the way, you should be able to put links in your topic once you level up. Here are the requirements. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hackintoshing is also a thing and quite fun: OpenCore Install Guide

takes an hour tops and is much more reliable

yes really, try it. clover and old hackintosh methods take forever but with open core all it is is finding the files you need and putting them on a flash drive then adding an smbios which takes just a few seconds. Add in some troubleshooting kernel issues and you get 30-45 minutes

that’s why I didn’t say it was quicker. It is more reliable and gets better performance .

I was never trying to discredit anybody I just stated that hackintoshing is fun. The way mentioned works perfectly fine.

Sure, but it detracts from the main topic.

And that’s exactly what we should be avoiding. Let’s stop here… :slight_smile:

Free Mac Servers runs in QEMU/KVM, I’ve found it very painless. This guide is great!

@OSHAOSHAWOT

It is more reliable and gets better performance

I disagree that hackintoshing is more reliable than a VM. QEMU is more reliable in my experience.

KVM has a low performance overhead.

1 Like

An update could break the vm. it probably wouldn’t happen but could. Once a Hackintosh is made, it is made and can’t break easily.

If there’s a good chance it won’t brake the virtual machine, then what is there to worry about? :slight_smile:

what’s going on here too

just Hackintosh and avoid the problems of setting all this up. but if you get kvm working easily on windows then it probably is an easier option

I don’t think it’s related to this topic.

As I’ve already said, that isn’t always the case: https://forums.theblockheads.net/t/my-brothers-been-using-my-computer/87807/25

Yeah, definitely. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Why would you even have automatic updates turned on in the first place in this specific scenario?