Updates for 2019

Thursday, March 21, 2019


VirtualHostX 8.0 was released last September. Since then, we're now up to version 8.7.1 and have pushed out 28 app updates adding new features and squashing bugs. Here's a few highlights...

  • Improvements to Dark Mode in macOS Mojave.
  • VirtualHostX can now generate a "Public URL" for your websites that you can use to share them over the internet with another person or mobile device. This service is powered by the wonderful folks at Ngrok.
  • There is a new option in the Preferences window that, if enabled, will automatically save the domain names configured in VirtualHostX to your /etc/hosts file for you. This allows for fully offline functionality, however you'll be required to enter your administrator password each time you apply your changes. If you typically have a network connection when using VHX, there's no need to enable this setting.
  • A small tweak that makes VHX compatible with the newly released version 2.0 of Hostbuddy.
  • We now automatically add "AllowOverride All" to your website's custom directory directives when creating a new virtual host.
  • We've added a new option to the Preferences window where you can define your own Custom Directives templates. This lets you specify default custom directives that will be added to each new website you create.
  • VHX now offers a one-click install option for the Kirby CMS app.
  • Added a one-click installer for phpMyAdmin.
  • Added a one-click installer for Drupal.
  • Added a new "Local URL" text field which displays the URL you use to access your websites locally on your Mac. (Previously, this URL wasn't obvious for new users.)
  • VHX now parses out your ServerAlias domain names and can automatically add them to your /etc/hosts file for you. This will let you use any domain name you want to connect back to your locally hosted website.
  • We greatly improved the way the app handles detecting which port number the web server is running on. The app will display the currently active port number (either 80 or 8080) in the lower right corner of the main window. It also more gracefully handles switching between ports 80 and 8080 using the "Bind to Port..." command under the "Virtual Machine" menu.
  • The app now uses a trusted SSL certificate with your websites' HTTPS connections. This will allow you to automatically view your websites over a secure HTTPS connection without having to first manually import VHX's un-trusted SSL certificate into your Mac's keychain.
  • You can now view your web server's access and error logs by using the commands under the "Virtual Machine" menu.
  • You can now export backups of your websites. Each backup file contains the complete contents of your website's "Local Path" folder as well as a copy of its database(s), if any. You can pass along the backup file to another VHX user (or yourself) and they can import your data into a new or existing website.
  • Setting VirtualHostX's web server to run on ports 80/443 is now a permanent setting that lasts across reboots of your Mac. Once enabled, you can disable this setting at any time using the "Virtual Machine" menu.
  • Added a new "Sharing" section to the app's Preferences. From there, you can optionally configure the app to advertise your websites over your local network. Other folks running the new VirtualHostX for iOS app will be able to see your shared websites and open them in Mobile Safari. Also, you can tell VirtualHostX to advertise any websites you share publicly using the "Public URL" feature. This will send your publicly shared websites to people running the iOS app as well - whether or not they're connected to the same local network. All of this sharing is done securely by way of a four-digit PIN that VirtualHostX generates for you. Your friends and coworkers will need to enter this PIN before they can see your shared websites. And if you ever want to stop sharing your websites, you can generate a new PIN and everyone else will be disconnected.
  • VirtualHostX now keeps track of which websites have unsaved changes. If a website has a change that hasn't yet been saved into your web server's settings, it will appear in bold in the sidebar. Additionally, the status text in the bottom left corner of the app will give you a summary of your overall unsaved changes.
  • The sidebar of the app has received a visual refresh. I've cleaned up the website and folder icons, added a new status icon to let you know if a website is being publicly shared, and increased the white space to make things feel a bit less cramped.
  • The "Public URL" Connect button now changes appearance depending on the sharing status of the website. If a website is currently being shared, you can now click the button to disconnect.
  • Fixed a long-standing bug where editing a folder's name in the sidebar would cause some very ugly visual glitches.
  • The "Local URL", "LAN URL", and "Public URL" text labels are now clickable and will open their respective URLs in a new browser window.
  • Added right-click context menus to the sidebar. Right-click on a folder or website to add, edit, or delete.
  • Fixed a bug in our websocket library that prevented Auto Refresh from working in Firefox.

Whew! That's a lot. Also of note, VirtualHostX now requires macOS 10.12 or later.


Hostbuddy has received some love since it's big 2.0 release last Fall, too.

  • Made a lots of UI changes that are focused on cleaning up the interface and fixing a bunch of "paper cuts" within the app that didn't "feel right" and could get in your way.
  • Your host files in the sidebar are now sorted alphabetically.
  • You can now right-click on items in the sidebar to rename or delete them or add new ones.
  • After you add a new host file, we automatically select it for you in the sidebar so you can begin editing it right away.
  • We've rebuilt the sidebar to look a bit nicer and give your host files more spacing.
  • Added some whitespace around the code editor to make it breathe more. Previously, the text of your host file was right up against the edge of the screen, which didn't look very good.

Not as many updates as VHX, but Hostbuddy is a much simpler app and doesn't require as much maintenance. Nonetheless, we've got a few more new features in the works that I hope to get out the door in April.


Our long neglected app for managing Vagrant on your Mac, Hobo, recieved a big 1.5 update in March.

  • This long-overdue update added compatibility with macOS 10.14 Mojave and also fixed all known bugs that had crept into the app over the last year.
  • Added support for Mojave's Dark Mode - including a great looking, new dark theme for the code editors.
  • You can now interactively choose boxes to install from Vagrant's website again.
  • Much like VirtualHostX, Hobo now downloads the VirtualBox and Vagrant install packages automatically for you - rather than sending you to their websites to download it yourself.

Other Improvements On Our Website

Finally, I've been paying attention to our website the last few weeks - particularly our Support Site and our Store.

First off, I've gone through our database of FAQ articles and updated them for the latest versions of our software. I've also written new ones including a detailed getting started guide for VirtualHostX, the differences bewteen our Personal and Commercial License options, as well as how to purchase additional licenses for previous orders.

Many of the new FAQs are focused on changes to our online store. I've improved the system running it to allow you to more easily

So, that's what we've been up to the past few months. I hope you enjoy all the improvements to our apps. I can't wait to get even better versions to you soon!