How To: Set Up a Linux Based Server Using Ubuntu

Have you ever wanted your own website, but you don't want to go through someone else for hosting? This is a tutorial on how to set up a HTTP server using Ubuntu Linux Server Edition 8.10.
If you use this tutorial, you will not have to pay someone else for website hosting. However, you will still have to purchase a domain name (.com, .net, .org, or a different Top-Level Domain). You will also have to have your own connection to the internet, with a static IP. This article does NOT cover setting up the port forwarding on your router if you have one, just the set up of the actual server.
Getting Ready

First off, you will need a computer that you do not use for anything else, including surfing the Internet. If you do not have one, you can purchase any brand name computer, or, if you prefer, build one your self. You will also need a broadband internet connection, preferably with a high upload speed.

If you do not have a static IP, or if you do not know if you have a static IP, call your Internet provider. Make sure you write down the static IP, as you will need it later.

You will need to download Ubuntu from the Ubuntu website, and burn it to a CD. This is not the same as burning a music or general data CD. You will want to use your burning program's "Burn from image" feature (the image is a .iso image). If your burning program does not have this feature, you can usually find freeware that does. Make DOUBLE sure that you download the SERVER EDITION of Ubuntu.
Installing Ubuntu

Insert the CD you burned into your CD-ROM or DVD drive, and boot your computer. Some computers will automatically boot from the CD so you can install. For the computers that do not automatically boot from the CD, there will usually be a screen that comes up saying something along the lines of "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD...". This usually gives you a limited amount of time to press any key. Press any key and it will boot from the CD.

After you have booted from the CD, choose the install option. This is a fairly easy step-by-step process. One of the screens will ask you what type of server you wish to install. Choose HTTP or LAMP server (LAMP stands for "Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP server"). After the installation is finished, it will ask you to remove the CD or DVD and restart the computer.
Setting Everything Up

After you have rebooted your computer, you will notice that the operating system successfully installed, but there is no user interface, just a command prombt-like interface. This is called the "Linux Terminal". Ubuntu Server Edition does not come with a desktop
interface installed by default. First, type in your user name and password that you created during installation.

If you are not experienced with the Linux Terminal, you may want to install a desktop evironment. To install the Gnome Desktop environment, type the following into the Terminal:

$ sudo su

[The password you created durring installation]

$ apt-get install gnome-desktop

Or, if you perfer the KDE Desktop evironment, type the following:

$ sudo su

[The password you created during the installation]

$ apt-get install kde-desktop

Please keep in mind that you do NOT type the $ symbols when typing commands. Those are there to let readers of this article know that it is a new command.

After the desktop environment has finished installing, you server is ready to use. The directory you will put your website in is the '/var/www' directory. This can be changed, but changing it involves editing the Apache configuration files. I do not recommend doing this if you are not familiar with those files. I will do another tutorial next week on how to use WordPress with this type of Ubuntu installation.


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