How to Setup a Dedicated Web Server for Free
Alex Villmann on Dec 4th 2008 with 395 comments
* Technology: LAMP Install
* Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate
* Completion Time: 1-2 hours
All great websites have a great server behind them. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to set up a dedicated web server (with Apache, MySQL, and PHP) using that oldcomputer you have lying around the house and some free software.
1. A Quick Overview
In this tutorial, we are aiming to accomplish several things:
* We’re going to install the Ubuntu Server operating system. I commonly use Ubuntu because of its ease of use and
simple administration. It also has a rather large and extremely active community behind it, which makes getting
support a breeze.* We’re going to install an OpenSSH server. This allows you to administer your server from remote computers.
* A LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) stack is going to be installed. This provides the backbone that will run
your web site. Apache is the industry standard web server on Unix-based operating systems; it’s what most web hosts
use (NETTUTS is using it right now!) and it’s whatwe’re going to use.
* We’re going to install a firewall to protect your server from unauthorized access.
In order to follow this tutorial, you’re going to need a few items:
* A computer to use as your server. It doesn’t need to be powerful; as long as it’s not ancient, it’ll work fine. Please
don’t do this on your desktop PC; Ubuntu will completely wipe your computer.
* A CD burner and ablank CD. These are so that you can burn Ubuntu to a disk in order to install it.
* Time. Seriously, this process is time-consuming, especially if you run into problems. Try to set aside an afternoon
to follow this tutorial.
You may be asking why you’d want to have your own web server. There are several reasons, a few of them being: you can have your own testing
ground for your websites;with a little modification, you could host your own site; and, you will learn a lot about Linux/Unix as you go.
With that said, let’s get started!
2. Download Ubuntu Server
First and foremost, we’re going to need a CD with Ubuntu on it. Point your web browser to http://www.ubuntu.com/,
and click download from the menu to the left. You will now be presented with a box with two tabs: “DesktopEdition” and
“Server Edition”. Click the “Server Edition” tab, and select “Ubuntu 8.04 LTS”. Next, select a download location from the
drop-down box. Finally, hit the “Begin Download” button.
Now you need to burn the ISO (the file that you downloaded) to a blank CD. If you don’t know how to do this, there is an
excellent guide at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BurningIsoHowto
3.Install Ubuntu Server
Now that you’ve downloaded and burned the ISO, let’s get Ubuntu installed on your server. Put the disk in the drive, and boot from the CD. In most modern computers, this will happen by default if a disk is in the drive when you turn it on. If it doesn’t, then you need to press a key on your keyboard right when you turn it on. For my laptop, it’s F12, and for my server, it’s F2. Itjust depends on your computer. You can find it by looking at the text on your screen right when you turn the computer on, during the BIOS. You’ll see something like “Press [KEY] to change boot order”. Press that key, and select your CD drive.
Still with me? Good. Now that you’ve booted up Ubuntu, you should see the following screen:
Select your language, and hit enter. Now you’ll see thisscreen:
Select “Install Ubuntu Server”, and away we go!
The installer will now ask you if you want it to detect your keyboard layout. Personally, I always choose no, because
it’s faster to select a standard american keyboard from the list than to have the installer detect it. Either option is fine,
just follow the on-screen instructions.
After you’ve done that, you’ll now see a bunch of...
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