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Old 01-24-2004, 04:03 PM   #1
Lohan
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Registered: Jan 2004
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Distribution: Slackware 9.1, Kernel 2.6.0
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Setting up a Web Development Server w/ Slackware


I just started an internship and it looks like I'm going to be the lucky guy to set up a web development server for the other interns. I think the company uses Red Hat on their servers, but if it's up to me I'm of course going to use Slackware. =)

This is will be my first server, but I do run Slack on my own system. I'm asking for any advice people are willing to send in. Some preliminaries:

I can read. I do read. I like to read. I fall asleep reading the Linux SysAdmin Guide. If there is a good how-to, FAQ, or guide out there, feel free to just point me to it. I will devour it. I don't need to be walked through every little detail. If it's in the man pages, just say so, I can (probably) take it from there. I run Apache, PHP, and MySQL on my system for my own development. It works, but I haven't done much tinkering with it because it's just a 127.0.0.1 to make sure my PHP scripts work.

I will be happy to take all information given to me, mush it together some, and turn it into a beautiful How-to that will be a wonderful resource for years to come. I will give credit to people who help out, and I will affero.

What I do need is some good general advice. Which services to set up, what pitfalls to avoid, what packages are important for a web-dev server and which I can do without. Any special options on those packages that may be useful. How to best monitor services, tips on how to set up user accounts and permissions. Proper use of sudo, in case any of the other interns bother to learn about Linux. How to protect myself from screwing my own system up. Tips on remote administration (is Webmin any good?).

This is probably a dumb question, but how do I register the server so that we can do "http://webdev.companydomain.com" from outside and see our stuff?

Some site-specific info. The hardware being used is TBD... I can pick through whatever machines are laying around the office. Tips about hardware (processor speed, RAM, etc) are appreciated. I'm assuming this server will be behind whatever firewall they have in the office, but maybe not. The other interns will be using Windows, until I can convert them. Can I use Samba to share out var/log/hdocs? Is this wise? Also, one intern wants to be able to use ssh to work from home, so I will need to set that up.

Like I said, if you know of a good resource that covers any of the above, just point me to it. Any help, even just pointing, on any of these subjects, is greatly appreciated. I will spend some of my internship hours turning the info into a how-to (unless somebody points me to a good one that already exists).

Many thanks!
 
Old 01-24-2004, 05:10 PM   #2
Misel
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Berlin
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What exactly do you understand under the term "WebDev"-Server?

From my point of view it means you want to host Websites. But websites are developed on the client side and then uploaded via FTP or SSH.

To make a server secure it's recommended to use the least number of external services possible. That's why I'd close all the ports but those for FTP, HTTP and SSH. A console with SSH should be enough for remote administration (==my vote against Webmin ).

I could say more but that could go into a totally wrong direction of what you actually plan because I you're not really specific about the tasks this server will have to fulfill.

So tell us more about what it has to do and eventually you will answer some of these questions by yourself.

Cause if you know what the server has to provide and what each user is allowed to do you can kick off the unneeded rest and your system will be more secure, more slick and more stable.
 
Old 01-24-2004, 06:11 PM   #3
CartersAdvocate
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Location: Columbus, OH
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Re: Setting up a Web Development Server w/ Slackware

Quote:
Originally posted by Lohan
This is probably a dumb question, but how do I register the server so that we can do "http://webdev.companydomain.com" from outside and see our stuff?
Assuming "companydomain.com" is already registered, you don't have to "register" webdev.companydomain.com. You just need to tell your local DNS server that webdev = the IP address of the machine that you use as that server, and then when someone types "http://webdev.companydomain.com" into their web browser, it will contact your DNS server which will tell them what IP to connect to.


Jeff
 
Old 01-24-2004, 10:45 PM   #4
Lohan
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Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Brooklyn
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You know, Misel, I don't quite know why they want a web development server... Officially, it's a Perl, PHP, and MySQL internship. Certainly everybody could just run that stuff locally, but if I go and tell them that then maybe I won't get a server to tool around with. So I have to make it do something cool, y'know?

But seriously, nobody else really wants to be bothered with the gory details of httpd.conf and the like. Ideally they can just upload their neat PHP-enabled-MySQL-using pages and watch them go. Or not go.

Sooo

Apache with PHP
MySQL -- I'm a little unsure about permissions and things when there are multiple users, but I can probably figure it out.
Perl
SSH
FTP
Probably Samba to make things easier on the windows kids

And each person should have their own userspace where they can upload pages and other files that they don't want other people messing with.
 
Old 01-25-2004, 05:50 AM   #5
RTT
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Registered: Nov 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lohan
*snip*
MySQL -- I'm a little unsure about permissions and things when there are multiple users, but I can probably figure it out.
Perl
SSH
FTP
Probably Samba to make things easier on the windows kids
And each person should have their own userspace where they can upload pages and other files that they don't want other people messing with.
Perl, SSH and FTP can be installed by default with slackware during installation, so no real worries for you there. You say you want users to have their own space and which is protected from everyone else - You may want to chroot SSHD and add a particular line into your proftpd.conf (assuming you're gonna use proftpd) to only allow users to see whats in their /home directory.

Since you're using PHP and Apache, then my advice for the mysql permissions is to use phpmyadmin to do the work for you. Very easy to set up accounts and permissions with that tool

Good luck!
 
Old 01-25-2004, 01:32 PM   #6
Misel
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Berlin
Distribution: Slackware current
Posts: 310

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yeah, you can chroot the users to their home directory so that they can't mess with anything else.

I'm not sure about the samba thing but if you mount the samba shares on the windows machines as drives it might actually be easier for them and easier for you because then they can't mess an FTP client, or putty and/or whatever else you choose as client.

The SSH-guy (from your company) sounds serious enough about this stuff so you should talk about what he wants to do to clear the security settings.

Slackware comes with ProFTPd, Apache with MySQL, PHP, Perl and everything I think a good web-server has to have... ( well it lacks ASP support but on the other hand I don't think a web-server actually needs that ).

Apache comes in v1.3 and the version current is constantly updated to fix security holes. Maybe you want to check out Apache 2.0 but I haven't bothered with that one (OT: Why does Slackware come with 1.3 instead of 2 but also packages prereleases like "The Gimp" 2.0-pre1? ). If you decide to install Slack 9.1 and upgrade to current have a look at all config files that have a "*.new" copy in the same dir. If it's a clean new system it's best to just replace the newer ones with their respective original. This applies especially to apache as there was a change in the directories lately. The apache libraries have been moved from /usr/libexec/ to /usr/libexec/apache/ and the http.conf was modified correspondingly ... took me a couple of minutes to figure out why my new apache doesn't work

slackware-current is constantly updated and sometimes there are more unstable versions in it. But on other times there are new packages with just security fixes. So have a look at the changelog from time to time (especially after a new security hole is detected somewhere) to see if there's already a package.

So far my notebook and my main-PC go along very well with slackware-current but for a server you might wanna stay with 9.1 and certain security fixes. (read the security advisories on www.slackware.com !)

Note: This is just stuff I gained from about 18months linux/slackware experience. I haven't actually read (security) books about them and there might be the non-plus-ultra-how-to-build-the-perfect-slackware-system-website out there... I just haven't found it yet. Mainly because every time I stumbled upon small problems they're quickly solved and for the larger problems I have the guys around these forums to help out.
 
  


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