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  1. #1

    Mini Project - Creating a Web Server

    Hi all,

    I am very much a Microsoft person and have very little experience in Linux, however I have recently got a new job and there is a large open source community here (not specific for my role). I feel it will benefit me by learning the technology.

    I have always been a person who likes to explore with technology, and I am lucky enough that I work for a data centre who allow their employees rack space for free.

    For a learning experience I would like to embark on the setting up and configuring a Linux web server and additionally a mail server too.

    I currently use 1&1 to host a few personal websites I have created and email accounts associated with these and would like to migrate them to this web server when it is complete (why not, itís free ay? )

    I plan on purchasing something like a Dell Poweredge 1950 VIII V3 Server 2x Xeon L5420 2.50GHz 8GB Ram 1x 250GB HDD's. I can pick one up for £300.

    I would also like my web server to be a VM as I would also like to configure a Microsoft VM later down the line on the same server.

    So my initial thoughts are, please bear in mind I am very new to this ...

    1) Install ESXi on my server
    2) Create 1 VM
    3) Install Ubuntu Server (I am expecting people to suggest red hat/ fedora here)
    4) .....

    And the next steps is where I would like advice/help.

    What would be the best way of going about doing this, I have not really thought too much about it, so would love to hear some recommendations.

    I know I will need to install Apache2, MYSQL, PHP but my issues are how, what is the best way to configure them etc.

    I really would like to be able to host multiple sites and multiple email accounts from this server (not loads, just a few)

    Would you recommend installing a 3rd party firewall like Shorewall, or is iptables sufficient?

    All ideas are welcome, this will help me learn lots I think.

    Thanks in advance, and sorry this is so long

  2. #2
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    hi dear

    You can use any Linux distro but i will say chose one that you feel comfortable with then we can help you here start with installing apache and mysql (if you need php install this as well)

    do like this
    apt-get install apache mysql-server mysql-client php*

    press enter then go to and try to do some basic website setup or google apache on ubuntu

    anythings else you can ask here i try to help you where i can

  3. #3
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Santa Cruz, California
    I assume you intend to run Linux in a VM under some Windows server version, or is it the other way round?

    Regarding configuring Apache/PHP/mysql/ etc., the configuration files are different between Redhat/Fedora/Scientific/etc and Debian/Ubuntu/etc distros, and yet different under Slackware or Gentoo etc. Reading documentation on the WWW for the specific distro is a good idea. Apache has a lot of modules that have to be configured to load - in Debian or Ubuntu this is done by creating some symlinks with tools like a2enmod - and some of the config files have to be edited.

    I'm sure other people will give you suggestions as to whether you would be best off running Windows under Linux or the reverse.

    Good luck!

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    May 2005
    North Va
    check out the guys at How to Forge , com.

    They have a HUGE list of DIY set-ups, all the way from setting up small sites to major multi-node replicating multi-master domains. Most of their, if not all, instructions are copy and paste.

    As far as setting up VM's, remember your powers of 2. You will be running two, or more, machines on one machine. Read up on minimum requirements, and then double it. Win7 min reqs 1GB RAM(32bit), and 2GB(64bit), so you will need that much, plus what ever OS(es) you are already running.

    Linux machines can be run headless, but if you are just learning, I do not recommend it. Unless you are comfortable with the command line interface, or use WinSCP or Filezilla, you will have to install the GUI, which uses more RAM. I have a Fedora14 box, with 1.5GB RAM, running a Win7 VM with 700MB RAM, tough to get anything done in a timely manner. Usually take 5 or more mins to boot the Win7 VM. At work have brand new Dells with 1.5GB RAM, still takes 5min to boot.

    While you can run the web server as a VM, I do not recommend it. LAMP and WAMP are available and are easily configured to do multiple sites with one IP.

    On the Linux side, the different security suites do handle alot and are very configurable, but take time to learn. Both SELinux, for rpm based distros and AppAmor, for debian based, are very good and are updated quite frequently. I do recommend an external appliance as you will be making alot of changes to configurations and permissions. I use IPCop and Smoothwall variations for my firewalls/routers/gateways/proxys. Both have a lot of addons that will make them very robust and are easy to learn. Both work great to set up SOHOs and making testing networks. Much cheaper that going out and buying a device.

    A lot to digest, I know, and a learning curve is ahead of you, but welcome to the Light Side of the Force.

  6. #5
    Just Joined! bitonw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Crawley, UK


    google for blueonyx then go there and download the right (32bit or 64bit) image, install it on a spare box. now you have a working box you can play with. ssh to this new box and start messing around

    also mark minasi did made a nice book back in 2000 (cheap on ebay?) linux for windows nt/2000 administrators to get you starting

    have fun,
    Last edited by bitonw; 02-10-2012 at 10:23 AM. Reason: typo

  7. #6
    ubuntu has a server image that has LAMP and mail services built in. You can also load the gnome desktop with apt-get. This would be a good way to start because the web, database, and mail server would be configured on installation.

  8. #7
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Either at home or at work or down the pub
    I have just blogged on how I configure my development environment. Maybe it'll help.
    Should you be sitting wondering,
    Which Batman is the best,
    There's only one true answer my friend,
    It's Adam Bloody West!

    The Fifth Continent

  9. #8
    for mail server,u can use deepofix.It is quit easy to deploy and manage.

  10. #9
    I would go for CentOS, same as RHEL but free

    I would also recommend Joomla as a CMS, which makes creating web pages really easy. I've written a post on how to install Joomla on CentOS 6.2

    As for mail server, postfix is decent enough.

  11. #10
    Linux Engineer
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Virginia, USA
    I realize I'm a little late to the OP's thread, but here's a step by step for setting up a basic web server using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, php, mysql, and apache.
    Ubuntu 12.04 Web Server

    Has all the necessary steps for the complete beginner.

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