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Old 07-03-2015, 02:01 PM   #1
AdultFoundry
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Setting up a home network for learning Linux


I am working on learning Linux, and somebody suggested setting up Linux on a separate computer, and searching for answers to whatever may be needed, on a different computer plugged in to the Internet.

I have a Windows 7 PC, plugged in to a cable modem, and an old notebook, Compaq Presario R3000 (it was good, but it is already 10 years old, or so). I was thinking about installing the newest CentOS on the notebook (from a CD version), and connecting both machines to the Internet, through an xDSL router (this is what is needed, according to my ISP), which I would get for around $15-$20 (this is what it costs).

My overall goal is to learn server administration. I dont necessarily need to learn Linux as a whole (although I may go in this direction), and it is only the server administration part, which is important. I want to be able to get any UNMANAGED hosting plan (something like dedicated, which may cost $100-$300+ per month) and do everything by myself, on a professional level (administration, maintenence, updates, security, backups), similar to something that I would get with a regular hosting plan (so I want to learn everything, very good).

With this I would have a Linux and a Windows computer, both connected to the Internet, so I could work on the Linux one, and also check whatever would be needed, through the Windows one.
With this, I was wondering, if I could set up actual server on the Linux computer (LAMP, lets say), and start experimenting with hosting some websites there. I am not sure if the router would be what is needed for this, and how would this work. Router will computer both computers to the Internet, but will it connect them to each other, probably not...

I would like to be able to have both of the machines turn on, have websites on the Linux machine, and be able to access them from the Windows PC, lets say. This way I could experiment with it, just like I could with a regular hosting plan on the Internet.

So, the question is, is it possible not only to have two separate machines connected to the Internet, but also have these machines connected to each other, and work like I would work with a regular Linux server, on the Internet.

Thanks.
 
Old 07-03-2015, 02:15 PM   #2
jefro
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Not sure you'll be too happy with the netbook even if you are able to use it. Your goals seem OK but your hardware may hold you back.

Yes, I'd say that you could easily set up a home system. Normally one would do this on a controlled lan but in your case you may be on the web so you have to be careful with some names and IP addresses. Your local tests would have to be to the local machine IP most likely unless you can bypass domain name issue. For example, http:\\192.168.0.3\index.html or such for this test instead of http:\\someplace.org
 
Old 07-03-2015, 02:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Not sure you'll be too happy with the netbook even if you are able to use it. Your goals seem OK but your hardware may hold you back.

Yes, I'd say that you could easily set up a home system. Normally one would do this on a controlled lan but in your case you may be on the web so you have to be careful with some names and IP addresses. Your local tests would have to be to the local machine IP most likely unless you can bypass domain name issue. For example, http:\\192.168.0.3\index.html or such for this test instead of http:\\someplace.org
Thanks for the reply. I was thinking about the domain name part, but this is not the most important thing, as I need to set everything up first. I dont have another notebook, and I am not planning to get anything different, at this point. In general, what would be needed for this, and what would be the best way to get it done?

a) Windows PC -- able to connect to --> local Linux notebook (CentOS server)
b) both computers connectable to the Internet

This should be a good way of setting it up for learning, and I will be also looking at free 12 month hosting plan from Amazon Cloud (or some free Linux hosting, or something inexpensive, if I cant find it).

I will add, that I will be reading 10 or more of the best Linux books. I already have them selected from all the books, or most the books, that are out there. It may be 15 books too. People say to start working on Linux, but I've always "valued" books. Info there is organized, and it is good long-term investment, to learn from that.

Final goal. Be able to get any unmanaged hosting, and be able to run everything by myself, on the top level, and in a time-efficient way (come up with the best methods, shortcuts, programs, to do everything, that needs to be done).
 
Old 07-03-2015, 11:27 PM   #4
JaseP
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I don't understand why you would need an xDSL router, as opposed to just any wireless router connected to your modem...

A router is going to connect both machines to each other, typically (unless you have the router set to perform isolation). That is typically what you want. The router will supply the local DHCP server, assigning IP addresses, and the other machines will simply connect. If you intend to host anything locally, you're going to need to understand how NATs work, and how you overcome that type of hurdle (especially when DSL providers will typically reassign your IP address).

Keep in mind that a server is not really a "machine," but a service running on a host (connected machine/device). An example is a SAMBA server, which is typically a SMB service running on a Linux (or BSD) machine...

I'm not sure what your ultimate goals are,... But reading a bunch of books (even good ones) is not going to make you an expert. I've been running Linux exclusively for better than 15 years,... and I often still get "schooled," even after completing a University level 2nd Bachelors degree program in Computer Science (giving me a total of two Bachelors and a Professional Degree, but still not having anyone beating down my door to hire me)... Learning C, C++, Python, HTML/PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, Java (actually Android Dalvik), as well as algorithms, discrete mathematics, networking and OS programming. That... and I run a home network of over 12 total X86 machines, probably an equal number of ARM devices, and with only 2 of the machines bootable in Windows (one of them soon to have its HD wiped and Linux installed, after it serves its purpose in helping root a couple of phones). All the rest run one version or another of Linux.

My point is,... What are you trying to accomplish??? Are you learning job related skills??? If so, you need a more powerful Linux machine,... one capable of hosting virtual machines. Are you doing this just for fun??? If so,... you're on track to start learning a great Operating System... Or... Is it something else???
 
Old 07-04-2015, 01:44 AM   #5
mralk3
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I would recommend that if you want to actually learn how to use Linux that you stop using Windows all together. Immerse yourself in whichever distribution you choose to install. Stick with that distribution for a few months. Document the shortcomings and pitfalls of your distribution, and make an educated decision about which distribution is the right tool for your job. Most people usually do not stick with their first distribution for one reason or another.

I wouldn't recommend that you install Linux and piggy back off of Windows when you run into trouble. Try to replace every piece of software you use in Windows with software in Linux. Try to complete every task you normally do in Windows, day to day, in Linux.

I also would not suggest that you jump straight into system administration. You will quickly become overwhelmed, especially if you are a beginner Linux user. Start off by creating virtual machines, networking those VM's, and learning how to install/update them regularly. Then move into running a few services within the virtual network. Make the virtual network accesible on the host machine so you can check if those services are functioning correctly.

Quote:
I dont necessarily need to learn Linux as a whole (although I may go in this direction), and it is only the server administration part, which is important.
Sorry to spill the beans, but this route will not work. You have to know the basics before you cover the advanced topics. Starting from the ground up is how you will learn the skills you need to move onto the more difficult tasks. Anyone who thinks they can learn without first picking up the basic skills of any subject is just a hack. Not to mention this route creates bad habits.

Reading books is great. I read all the time. However, you will not be able to apply what you read in the same way the book presents its topic. Your best bet is to learn by doing. Think of a task you wish to complete, and set out to attempt to complete it. Read the man pages, use search engines, ask detailed and direct questions on web forums. Most of the information you will find in a book is available on the web already.

Last edited by mralk3; 07-04-2015 at 01:48 AM.
 
Old 07-04-2015, 02:35 AM   #6
AdultFoundry
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@JaseP - I want to learn Linux for server administration. The only reason why I need it, is to be able to get any type of hosting plan, unmanaged, and save $$$. I've seen hosting plans for $64 per month, which would cost $250 or more on a managed server, and thats why I decided to learn. In general, it is good knowledge to have, but I would not spend time on it, if the pricing for managed and unmanaged hosting, would be the same.

I am in general, an xxx webmaster, and I want to focus on seo (and possibly social media marketing) in the adult niche, or even dating niche, so it would be a dating site, or sites, and getting traffic from search, social media, and through an affiliate program. I may work on tgp / smart cj websites (traffic trading, adult sites, if you are familiar with that), and see whether this gets me somewhere too.

In general, I've been working on xxx sites for over 6 years, full time, and this is what I am planning to do, still, at this point. I dont want to work as a system administrator, or even use Linux every day (even though I may use Windows as Linux at the same time). Again, the only reason that I need it is cheaper hosting, and thats why I started to learning it. I dont want to be learning things like C, C++, Python, Java, as I cant be good at all the things at the same time, and in general, I dont want to be a programmer. You can be either a system administrator, programmer, graphic designer, or webmaster (person making websites, could be something like Wordpress, seo, social media, Internet marketing), lets say, and I want to focus strictly on the webmaster part. I already know some JavaScript, and MySQL/PHP (I already worked on PHP coding as this is needed, and fairly easy too), and I may expand on PHP knowledge, later on, if I have time. With that, I would need to focus on this, work on coding, but I am not a programmer, and I am not planning to specialize in this too. Again, I see it more as search engine optimization (growing converting traffic from search in the adult niche), landing page optimization, social media marketing, affiliate program management, and so on.

With adult sites, I may start working on xxx tubes (although probably not), and having a good and inexpensive hosting plan, would be an important part of this (pay less than $100 per month, instead of $350+, but I need to know how to do it all).

@mralk3 - I want to start with books, and then start doing more practical things. When I read books, I take notes of the most important things in a Word document (one for every book), so I can come back to it, later on. I may read 10 or 15 books, test everything on Linux, for as long as it is needed, research everything from any angle on the Internet, then possibly go over all the notes again, maybe, I am not sure. Book are a very good foundation, at least thats how it seems to work, for me. I read quite a lot of books on IT topics, related to all aspects of what I am working on / planning to do (this would / will be - hardware, networking, hosting, linux / system administration, mysql, php, html, css, javascript, photoshop, seo, social media marketing, email marketing, landing page optimization, domaining), and in general, I apply it to all things / programs, related to the adult niche (tube, tgp, cj, blogs, adult pinboards, and other types of sites).
 
Old 07-04-2015, 03:02 AM   #7
JaseP
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XXX websites?!?! I've never actually seen adult websites...

Basically... All you need to do is install a Linux distro and install the LAMP packages (for site deployment) to learn Linux based web-server admin. You can do all your learning on your local network. All the same stuff will apply to remotely hosted stuff (all things pointing to the localhost, pointing to the remote IP/domain, instead). There's no need to jump in with an actually hosted site until you develop your comfort level.

I suggest you learn some security stuff too, as Apache servers that are not properly secured get regularly "pwned," as the script-kiddies say... (One of the big problems is the common web-based admin. packages that are used to set-up and/or config. the servers being especially vulnerable to cracking). What you need to be able to do is to learn how to secure your box & ssh into the server using certificates, and how to do your admin. stuff using sudo or su ...

Oh,... and of course you should brush up on maintaining the proper records for 18 USC 2257 compliance,... not that I know what that is...
 
Old 07-04-2015, 03:43 AM   #8
Turbocapitalist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdultFoundry View Post
I would like to be able to have both of the machines turn on, have websites on the Linux machine, and be able to access them from the Windows PC, lets say. This way I could experiment with it, just like I could with a regular hosting plan on the Internet.

So, the question is, is it possible not only to have two separate machines connected to the Internet, but also have these machines connected to each other, and work like I would work with a regular Linux server, on the Internet.
My 0.02 on the subject :

It should be possible, depending on your router / modem but during your initial set up, most allow a LAN, but it would be best to avoid having an Internet-facing server in the beginning, at least until you can backup and restore conveniently. Be sure to subscribe to the relevant security mailing list for your distro and get a feel by skimming the list archive.

You'll want to learn to do all your work through ssh with tmux (or screen), so the OpenSSH server should be the first package to install. Success is when you can log in remotely, even if just over the LAN, as a regular user and then escalate to root access. If you do this in a virtual machine (vm) then you can take a snapshot and rewind to this clean slate as needed. A vm is the fastest way to get a clean slate. The important steps come next.

After having a basic system with ssh, you'll want to practice installing and configuring your services remotely, updating as necessary. Then wipe them and start over until it is familiar. This gets you familiar with configuration and how to avoid common mistakes. Take notes as you go, so you can refer to them again in each cycle.

Then after becoming familiar with the services, their components and configuration, practice backing up your services including the data, wiping the system, and restoring from backup. When this is comfortable you are ready to try connecting it to the Internet and watching the logs, with the help of sshguard or fail2ban, because when the site is found by bots it will get probed continually for weaknesses.

If you are new to working with the shell, then the first three sections of this book will help:
http://linuxcommand.org/tlcl.php
 
Old 07-04-2015, 04:52 AM   #9
Skaperen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdultFoundry View Post
My overall goal is to learn server administration. I dont necessarily need to learn Linux as a whole (although I may go in this direction), and it is only the server administration part, which is important. I want to be able to get any UNMANAGED hosting plan (something like dedicated, which may cost $100-$300+ per month) and do everything by myself, on a professional level (administration, maintenence, updates, security, backups), similar to something that I would get with a regular hosting plan (so I want to learn everything, very good).
i recommend opening an AWS account and learn Linux in cloud instances. cloud computing is the next big thing and adding this to your admin skill set will open up more job opportunities in the coming years. if you goof up the system in an instance you can just terminate it and it goes away. then launch a new one. AWS has a "free tier" for the first year in which you can run one micro instance with a 30GB volume for 750 hours per month for free to learn it. but even without this, cloud computing is not nearly as expensive as a dedicated machine (i used to lease one but no longer). even if you do not want to do cloud computing, you should at least look at VPS servers instead of dedicated machines. most VPS servers can be reloaded with a fresh OS if you ever need to do that. you can even switch distro at will (BTDT) in many such services. i currently use AWS, Cloud VPS, and FDCservers. you can then ask questions about virtualization here at LQ.

Last edited by Skaperen; 07-04-2015 at 04:58 AM.
 
Old 07-04-2015, 05:32 AM   #10
fatmac
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You could simply link your server to your Windows box using a crossover cable until you are competent with administrating your server.
 
Old 07-04-2015, 07:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mralk3 View Post
I would recommend that if you want to actually learn how to use Linux that you stop using Windows all together. Immerse yourself in whichever distribution you choose to install.
^ This +1. That's how I learnt, and learned to love the freedom of GNU/Linux.
 
  


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