LinuxQuestions.org
Review your favorite Linux distribution.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Server
User Name
Password
Linux - Server This forum is for the discussion of Linux Software used in a server related context.

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 12-09-2008, 03:49 AM   #1
baldurpet
Member
 
Registered: Dec 2008
Location: Iceland
Distribution: Ubuntu, freeBSD
Posts: 110

Rep: Reputation: 15
Setting up a server for beginners


Hi, this might not be the right place to ask this but I'm going to regardless

Prologue:
I got interested in Linux about 2-3 months ago and I've tried around 6 distros, but that just wasn't enough for me so yesterday I had the silly idea of setting up my own server (typically when the winter examinations are). Since I started developing interest in Linux I've asked all of my friends and family to give me every spare computer part or computer, and I currently have two like 6-8 year old computers (freeBSD and Debian worked like a charm on the older one) and two more on their way,
but I digress.

My original point was, how do I set up my own server on one of the older computers? I am a total beginner but I'm a fast learner. I've already downloaded Ubuntu Server Edition (I've heard it's not the best, but I don't really give a rat's ass whether my server is all that secure or not at first, I just want a functional one) but I just need to know some things:
  • What can you do with a server exactly? Store data, access it from elsewhere?
  • For future reference, what's the best OS for a server? I've heard freeBSD and Solaris (isn't that a dying brand?)
  • Is it immensely difficult to set up a server?
sorry if this is too prolix but I tend to write down everything that comes to mind, can anyone help me? Thanks
 
Old 12-09-2008, 03:56 AM   #2
robertjinx
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2007
Location: Prague, CZ
Distribution: RedHat / CentOS / Ubuntu / SUSE / Debian
Posts: 585

Rep: Reputation: 58
Try this "howto's" http://www.howtoforge.com/perfect-server-ubuntu-8.10 for ubuntu server 8.10 or http://www.howtoforge.com/perfect-server-ubuntu8.04-lts for ubuntu server 8.04.

Good luck!
 
Old 12-09-2008, 04:40 AM   #3
unSpawn
Moderator
 
Registered: May 2001
Posts: 27,464
Blog Entries: 54

Rep: Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899
Quote:
Originally Posted by baldurpet View Post
I don't really give a rat's ass whether my server is all that secure or not at first, I just want a functional one
As long as that means the machine is on a LAN and not accessable from the outside it's OK. Once you make it accessable from the outside by providing services you should harden it. You'll then be part of the 'net, meaning that what happens to that machine could affect others.
 
Old 12-09-2008, 05:28 AM   #4
baldurpet
Member
 
Registered: Dec 2008
Location: Iceland
Distribution: Ubuntu, freeBSD
Posts: 110

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by unSpawn View Post
As long as that means the machine is on a LAN and not accessable from the outside it's OK. Once you make it accessable from the outside by providing services you should harden it. You'll then be part of the 'net, meaning that what happens to that machine could affect others.
I want to be able to access the server from my university and basically at every time I'm not home so that would mean that it's not LAN. I'm not going to start the server after the examinations :P How do I make the server more secure and what can I do with it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertjinx View Post
Try this "howto's" http://www.howtoforge.com/perfect-server-ubuntu-8.10 for ubuntu server 8.10
Ah thank you, I think that's exactly what I'm looking for I think! And how quick you were to reply, damn
 
Old 12-09-2008, 06:03 AM   #5
salasi
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jul 2007
Location: Directly above centre of the earth, UK
Distribution: SuSE, plus some hopping
Posts: 3,910

Rep: Reputation: 776Reputation: 776Reputation: 776Reputation: 776Reputation: 776Reputation: 776Reputation: 776
Quote:
Originally Posted by baldurpet View Post
  1. What can you do with a server exactly? Store data, access it from elsewhere?
  2. For future reference, what's the best OS for a server? I've heard freeBSD and Solaris (isn't that a dying brand?)
  3. Is it immensely difficult to set up a server?
sorry if this is too prolix but I tend to write down everything that comes to mind, can anyone help me? Thanks
  1. This point seems to discuss a fileserver to which you have access over the 'net. This is one of the things that you could do with a server.
  2. You are not going to get a definitive answer, but...not sure of the relevance of whether Sun is or is not in financial trouble. They have some good technology, but they are currently struggling commercially. not sure why the prospects for Sun several years out should be relevant.
  3. No. Only difficult to do it correctly.
 
Old 12-09-2008, 07:26 AM   #6
unSpawn
Moderator
 
Registered: May 2001
Posts: 27,464
Blog Entries: 54

Rep: Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899Reputation: 2899
Quote:
Originally Posted by baldurpet View Post
How do I make the server more secure and what can I do with it?
What you do with your server is only limited by physics, technology and what you can imagine. Securing it isn't hard either. While more hardening docs are available from the LQ FAQ: Security references (or the cleaned version at http://rkhunter.wiki.sourceforge.net/SECREF) there's some basic things:
- read a hardening HOWTO before installing so you know what's coming,
- install the OS disconnected from the 'net,
- install only what you need now,
- install, configure and regularly run auditing tools (Tiger, Logwatch, Aide or Samhain, Chkrootkit, Rootkit Hunter),
- audit the machine after the first install and adjust (Tiger would be a good start),
- choose strong passwords and rotate them regularly,
- update when updates are released,
- use root only for system tasks (updating, system configuration, etc),
- don't run (publicly accessable) services you don't need to expose,
- don't expose services without access restrictions (user and daemon configuration, firewall),
- choose SSL-ized versions of services over plaintext (IMAPS, POP3S, also see 'stunnel'),
- if you use SSH disable root account access and use pubkey auth with passphrases,
- make backups and store them away safely,
- use common sense: if you think something is bad practice it probably is :-]

It looks like much but it really isn't. It just takes some time and understanding what's good practice and what's not. If you want more detailed info or help you're invited to create a thread in the LQ Linux Security forum before or during your installation.
 
Old 12-09-2008, 11:00 AM   #7
rweaver
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2008
Location: Louisville, OH
Distribution: Debian, CentOS, Slackware, RHEL, Gentoo
Posts: 1,833

Rep: Reputation: 163Reputation: 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by baldurpet View Post
Hi, this might not... <SNIP>...

My original point was, how do I set up my own server on one of the older computers? I am a total beginner but I'm a fast learner. I've already downloaded Ubuntu Server Edition (I've heard it's not the best, but I don't really give a rat's ass whether my server is all that secure or not at first, I just want a functional one) but I just need to know some things:
  • What can you do with a server exactly? Store data, access it from elsewhere?
  • For future reference, what's the best OS for a server? I've heard freeBSD and Solaris (isn't that a dying brand?)
  • Is it immensely difficult to set up a server?
sorry if this is too prolix but I tend to write down everything that comes to mind, can anyone help me? Thanks
You setup a server approximately the same way you would setup a desktop or any other machine. You put installation media in the drive and let the system boot it, install the operating system on the hardware, remove the disk reboot and setup the services your server requires.

"Server" is a very generic term, there are many kinds of server, file servers, web servers, email servers, terminal servers, database servers, etc, etc, etc.

The best OS is whatever OS you are most comfortable with administrating and if in a business environment preferably you maintain homogeneity across the entire environment as much as possible. It's much harder to maintain 2 redhat servers, 2 ubuntu servers, 3 freebsd servers, 2 suns, 3 irix servers, 4 slackware servers, 2 gentoo servers, and 2 windows servers than it is to simply maintain 20 servers running the same operating system and version.

It is no more difficult to setup a server than it is to setup a desktop, in fact in linux it is probably far easier to setup a server than a desktop because generally getting the video and sound to work takes more effort than getting the cli to work (as a generally accepted rule, servers should not be running x unless it is necessary for a particular service.)

My personal recommended base installation for servers is Debian net install, unselect desktop and standard system when asked and then specifically only install the software you need for the particular type of server you are dealing with. This gives you a very clean, easy to maintain server with no unnecessary unexpected security holes to watch for.

Good luck!
 
Old 12-09-2008, 02:39 PM   #8
John VV
Guru
 
Registered: Aug 2005
Posts: 13,053

Rep: Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741
i always liked these
http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/ -- Apache
http://dev.mysql.com/doc/ -- Mysql
http://www.php.net/docs.php -- php
http://www.geeklog.net/ -- cms
http://www.google.com/ --
 
Old 12-20-2008, 05:02 AM   #9
baldurpet
Member
 
Registered: Dec 2008
Location: Iceland
Distribution: Ubuntu, freeBSD
Posts: 110

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by rweaver View Post
It's much harder to maintain 2 redhat servers, 2 ubuntu servers, 3 freebsd servers, 2 suns, 3 irix servers, 4 slackware servers, 2 gentoo servers, and 2 windows servers than it is to simply maintain 20 servers running the same operating system and version.
I'm only going to create one server initially, so I won't be managing anything near 20 servers any time soon mind you how ever if that goes well and I start diving deeper into all this server business I'll keep that in mind.

I'd also like to thank all of you for you help. Exams are over now, and my girlfriend is going to her parents today for Christmas so I'll have all the time in the world. I'll let you guys know how it goes and if I run into any problems.

Ps. Once when people were talking about 200* being the "year of Linux on the desktop", one poster commented that one of the things Linux really needs is a year of "helpful experts"- referring to that to novice Linux users, the "experts" often appear snooty and elitist. I just wanted to let you know how helpful you've been and how lucky new Linux users are to have experts like you to help them take their first baby-steps in Linux

Ps2. I'm also going to install Ubuntu on my girlfriend's Mac today. My mom loves it (she is a programmer though, so it's not really a case of "even my mom can use Linux") and I the fact that my little sister loves Ubuntu is just wonderful.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 05:13 AM   #10
billymayday
Guru
 
Registered: Mar 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Distribution: Fedora, CentOS, OpenSuse, Slack, Gentoo, Debian, Arch, PCBSD
Posts: 6,678

Rep: Reputation: 122Reputation: 122
This is a pretty complete reference and gives you a pretty good idea of typical server apps

http://www.linuxhomenetworking.com/
 
Old 12-26-2008, 09:34 AM   #11
baldurpet
Member
 
Registered: Dec 2008
Location: Iceland
Distribution: Ubuntu, freeBSD
Posts: 110

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Which one of these tutorials are the best for being able to store music/movies, so that you can download them from other places, such as school?

Edit: Here is says that you need to register a domain name to make a server? Is that true? I wasn't planing on spending any extra money on this

Last edited by baldurpet; 12-27-2008 at 07:53 AM.
 
Old 12-28-2008, 12:35 PM   #12
DarkFlame
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2008
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu Server 8.10 & SAMBA 3.2.3
Posts: 158
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 30
Typically, if you're wanting to access your server from a remote location, there are a couple of different ways to do it.

The most popular (& least secure) is straight over the Internet. To do this, you basically do need to register a domain and host it yourself. You CAN possibly access your own WAN (Internet) IP even if it's dynamic, but that can be tricky and will cease to work every time your (home server's) IP address changes - IE, with each different login or IP Lease Renewal. You can also typically use software such as "Go To My PC (.com ?)" and access it through the software. And, Norton has PCAnywhere. These may, or may not, work with Linux. They do claim to provide remote access via the Internet.

Another way would be to set up your own BBS (Bulletin Board - VERY OLD TECHNOLOGY, from the time before the popular emergence of the Internet). I'm sure there is freeware out there to do it, but don't know if it would work with Linux. For this, you'd typically need to set up your own BBS with a dial-up modem that would have a phone line connected, and you would have to access it from a dial-tone phone line at your remote location. Also, it's very slow, only about 53kbps - with the VERY BEST QUALITY phone lines, and if there's any kind of non-audible issue with the phone line, or length of the copper, it'll get much slower in a big hurry.

The cheapest alternative, assuming that you have an Internet connection, is to register a domain. That's not terribly expensive, somewhere in the neighborhood of $20-$50 per year, depending on the length for which you register it and the service that registers it for you. That gives you a domain and a permanent IP that can be associated with it. The next step is to have static IP service from your ISP. That can be a little more expensive, but it's probably cheaper than having a web hosting service host your domain. With your own static IP, you register your domain's IP to point to your ISP-assigned static IP, allowing you to simply type in www.yourdomain.com and have access to the interface that is programmed into your computer/server. My understanding is that Apache is the Internet Hosting Software that is needed with Linux to make your home-page (which you'll have to design in HTML, XML, etc.) available to anyone who surfs to your domain. Don't forget security, either.

There may be other ways to achieve your goal that I have not mentioned here.

You have chosen a very interesting project. I'm not questioning your choice. But, I wonder what purpose it might serve that could not be accomplished by simply burning your MP3s to DVDs or SD cards or USB Flash Drives or even an iPod type portable appliance. Maybe a laptop would be a much better solution? In any event, if you are set upon achieving the goal via web service, you have quite a bit of self-education in front of you. I'd say it's a monumental task that is not for the feint of heart and especially not to be attempted under a hard deadline where the failure of achieving such a goal would have dire consequences. Me? I burn my songs to an SD card & pop it into my pocket-pc, where I can have access to it anywhere, and can simply transfer a song via portable email, bluetooth, or wi-fi.
 
Old 12-28-2008, 06:27 PM   #13
John VV
Guru
 
Registered: Aug 2005
Posts: 13,053

Rep: Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741Reputation: 1741
i had good experience with no-ip.com for mapping my home ip to the web site name
dynamic but stable ( i would be the same for 6 mo to a year then change 6 times in 2 days)
and to access personal files i set up apache to index a "username/password" protected folder
 
Old 12-28-2008, 08:12 PM   #14
DarkFlame
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2008
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu Server 8.10 & SAMBA 3.2.3
Posts: 158
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by John VV View Post
i had good experience with no-ip.com for mapping my home ip to the web site name dynamic but stable ( i would be the same for 6 mo to a year then change 6 times in 2 days) and to access personal files i set up apache to index a "username/password" protected folder
John, I've not heard of no-ip.com - but now that I have, I'm going to look in to them. Just a quick glance of their website tells me a lot about the possibilities I could have with my own tiny little web server - I could host the family pictures and not have to worry about having them uploaded to a site! What a deal! Now, I'll just have to setup one of these old P3-800mhz boxes to do that -> right after I finish figuring out whether I'm going to have my home file server using Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, or Slackware, instead of the OpenSuSE that I've already installed. Just another iron in the fire, but at least this one is hot & burning!

"no-ip.com" is a great name!!!
 
Old 01-03-2009, 11:01 AM   #15
Ceasar7
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jan 2009
Posts: 1

Rep: Reputation: 0
Exclamation

On that No-IP.com site:

I'm not sure they are quite as legit as it first looks. When one reads what they say about why you need them, they make a number of statements that are not entirely true. Like "hard wired to port 25" And "port 25 used for receiving email" They shoule be saying port 25 for sending emails shouldn't they?

Anyway it looked a bit strange. So thought I'd mention it.
 
  


Reply

Tags
old, server


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
LXer: Setting up a nice looking KDE - For Beginners LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 04-01-2008 07:51 PM
Beginners guide to setting up a server DBA Solaris / OpenSolaris 10 12-05-2007 04:19 AM
Good BSD for server use for beginners? Grife *BSD 9 10-14-2006 04:39 PM
problems setting up apache and vsftp server behind a router that serves as a server xone Linux - Security 1 04-08-2004 10:46 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:58 PM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration