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Old 01-26-2004, 01:27 PM   #1
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Registered: Jan 2004
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Building small-scale ISP with VectorLinux

Dear Forum

I'm building a small scale ISP for 10-15 of my friends with the free, small version of the VectorLinux 4.0 distro. I'm using the following system:

PII 350 MHz
128 MB RAM
10 GB IBM Deskstar 5400RPM
3com 905C LAN-card
16/16 Mbit Internet connection
Static IP-address

I've already build a webserver on a Redhat 9 system, but I think that it was way too slow, even in textmode and thats why i'm starting over with VL40 in textmode to get a better performance. I have some questions I would like to hear your opinion on before I pull the plug on my Redhat 9 Box. So here goes:

1) I have after long research decided on the following software (all in the latest version), but would like to hear your views if something wont work together or with my system. To some programs I have specific questions. The programs I have chosen are:

1.a) Webserver: Apache
This is what everybody uses, and it seems fast and reliable.

1.b) FTP-server: VSFTP
Everybody raves about this one.

1.c) SMTP-server: Postfix
Seems lighter/faster and simpler than Sendmail. I don't need the advanced features that Sendmail provide.

1.d) POP3-server: I cant tell if there is one provided with VL40? If there is, how do I find it, and if there isn't which one should I chose?

1.e) Webmail: Neomail or openwebmail
Neomail looks easier but openwebmail looks better optimized. I'm a bit worried though that running a webmail service will be a bit too much for my system. Does any of you have any views to that point?

1.f) VNC: ???
Will some version of VNC work in text-mode? If that is the case, then which one? Im gonna log in to it mostly via my XP-box but also from other windows computers.

1.g) Network Monitor: ???
I'm not even sure what I need here. But I would like to log in from my XP-box and check the status of my system and if the webpages I'm hosting are running correctly, and see if there is some unusual network activity going on. I could really need some help on this one!

1.h) Other stuff i missed out on: ???
If you can think of some other software that will make my life easier and happier I would love to hear about it.

2) Security:
I don't need top notch security here because the material on the system isn't very secret (mostly personal pages and for Bands). If I follow the guidelines given in the various Apache-HOWTOS I should be reasonably well of. Right?..........Right?

Well that should be all folks, I really hope you have time to help me get started with this wonderful project of making my friends happy and learning more linux at the same time. To give just a tiny, little thing back to the amazing linux-community and this great forum I will write a "Build your own basic ISP with VectorLinux 4.0"-HOWTO, put it on my new webserver and post the link here.

With the highest regards
Old 01-26-2004, 02:22 PM   #2
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Arizona
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 142

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First this sounds like an interesting project.

Apache seems like a good idea, if you find it using to much memory / resources maybe switch to a smaller webserver such as monkeyd. Its very lightwight and simple to use. Kinda depends on what you need tho, it doesn't have all the nice options as Apache, but its still a good server.

VSFTP is a fine ftp server if you take the time to set it up correctly.

Postfix is really good. I use it whenever I can, just be carefull to set it up right. Make sure to check it and make sure its not an open proxy. If it is and a spammer gets ahold of it, your sistem will slow down to a crawl. I've got a really good machine setting in a datacenter and I can feel the effects of spammers delivering to the local system. Maybe you should set up spamassassin or something else with it while where on the subject

since resources are pretty limited in your case maybe try qpopper for your POP3 stuff.

I don't think that running a webmail server will have any significant impact on how the system runs. I could be wrong, but it seems like it would just be like serving a webpage, it shouldn't put to much stress on the system, unless its coded REALLY badly.

Hmm.. if all you have is a prompt on the other computer why would you want to use VNC? there really wouldn't be much of a need for it. Just use ssh (NOT TELNET), it would accomplish the same task and you wouldn't have to do any extra setup, plus its more secure anyways.

If you want network monitoring and have access to another computer to put the software on try Nagios (I love nagios) or BigBrother. They're both pretty good and will tell you when a service goes down by paging you or text messaging you / emailing you. But they need to be run on a different computer.. kinda kills the point if they're on the same one

Unfortuantly, just following the Apache how-to's won't help much in the overall security of the box. You'll need to make sure to turn off ALL unnessary services (will help with performace a bit too), such as Portmap / NFS / Nfslock and anything else you don't think you'll need. If you're not sure what it does try stopping that service and see if you notice any difference in how the computer runs. You can always turn it back on if something goes wrong. A good ip-tables firewall would also go a long way towards the security of the system. Try nmaping it from another computer and then use iptables to block any ports that you don't want open. That along with all the updated packages should keep you pretty safe as long as you keep up on the updates.

If you need anything don't be afraid to IM sometime, I would be happy to help ya out. AIM outtasns
Old 01-27-2004, 12:57 PM   #3
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Registered: Jan 2004
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Dear Khabi

First thx for a very thourough reply, I think I got enough to start now, thx a bunch!

So I think i'll start with Apache if it is still slow i will look into monkeyd, and maybe at that time the 1.0 has come

And then I'll do the VSFTP, Postfix, qpopper (which i hadn't noticed before, but it looks nice), neomail (i will try and see if my computer can cope with it) and Nagios for my Box.

I didn't even now what ssh did before but now I do and it is just what I was looking for. Thank you!

I will follow your advice on disabling all the services that I dont need. The other security advices I will have to look more in to before I truly understand, but I firewall I should probably install also. I will do that along the way.

Whauw Thankyou, I feel ready to begin now!

I'm travelling at the moment, but will be home around the 8. of februar. I will post how it turns out in this post. If I get stuck im glad to take you up on the offer to IM you!

Thx a bunch.

With the highest Regards


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