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Best Server Os


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#1 deanpcmad

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 11:30 AM

Hey,

What is the best Server Operating System?

I would like to build a Server (for business, as my dad runs his own business, and for personal use) as we have an old one up in the loft (if you see my other posts) but I don't know what is the best operating system for this.
I will use it for:
* Files
* Backups
* Printers (maybe)
* And probs some more.

Thanks
deanpcmad

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#2 BlackSpyder

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 06:01 PM

Debian, CentOS, Fedora, and Ubuntu are all good choices (and Free, as in free beer). Debian has a longer development cycle which is good for servers (Debian is 18 months were fedora and Ubuntu are 6 months, not sure what CentOS is)

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#3 deanpcmad

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 06:16 AM

Thanks for your reply!

Are these Linux/Unix Server versions easy to use as I am a beginner with Linux Server Systems (although I have played about with them as a virtual machine, but couldn't get Ubuntu 7.10 Server to work!)

I would appreciate some tutorials on how to set up a Linux Server properly on a Windows Network. I found this link to be helpful but haven't tried it: http://computer-vet.com/tech/linuxfileserver.html

I have many Linux/Unix eBooks that I havn't properly had a look at yet but will when I begin to set up this server.

I have heard about SAMBA but which Operating System (Linux/Unix) can this be installed on, or already is installed on?

Thanks
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#4 groovicus

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 02:46 AM

Lets see if we can help you clarify things a bit. A Linux server on a Windows network is a non-issue. Samba allows for file and printer sharing, but not file sharing in a server context. Samba essentially has nothing to do with servers. Ubuntu or CentOs are probably the easiest choices as far as ease of use, but that is sort of relative.

Anyway, you asked about setting up a Linux server on a Windows network. There really is nothing to consider. Your router merely needs to forward port requests to your server. If all you are doing is using the server to serve files and printing, then Samba is part of the equation. It takes a bit to configure Samba, but is not impossibly difficult. If you are new to Linux, it is going to be a bear, but you should be able to find plenty of examples on the web to help you.

#5 deanpcmad

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 05:03 AM

but not file sharing in a server context. Samba essentially has nothing to do with servers.


What do you mean by this?

deanpcmad


#6 groovicus

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:22 AM

When I pull a file from the Internet somewhere, presumably there is some sort of a link to the file so that people can get to it. Samba allows users to share files and printers on a network. If you want to use the system as a file server, then you will need to use Samba so that the Windows system can communicate with the Server. If this is the case, there are already thousands of tutorials on how to configure Samba, and it would be a waste of time to duplicate those efforts.

You said in your list of things that you want to be able to do other things, and the only other things I can think of that you would want to do is host a website or something; for that, you do not need Samba. Now that I re-read your initial post, it isn't clear to me from where you want to be able to access files, or from where you want to do backups. Or for that matter, what sort of information is going to be backed up. If it is data that can be used for identity theft, or other personally identifiable information (such as billing information), then you should not be attempting this project at all. An improperly secured system can leave a business liable if the system gets compromised.

With that caveat out of the way, a little more detail is needed about what you want to do.

#7 deanpcmad

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 02:24 PM

Oh right! I understand you now!

I would want only family members to access the files (family photos, etc) over the Internet I know about APACHE and how to set up .htaccess files but don't know how other people can view the files over the Internet!
I am going to backup media files (photos [yes family photos again], music and video [family video]) and nothing confidential.
I might in the future host my own website so also how do I go about doing this?

Right the conclusion: I want to share files on our home office network now and set it up so only family can view photos - so would Apache and Samba be alright for this?
I might in the not so near future host our own website but not quite yet (maybe in about 5-10 years).

So which operating system would be best for this then?

Thanks for replying

deanpcmad


#8 groovicus

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 02:54 PM

Again, you are talking about two different things, so I am still a little confused. Sharing files on a closed network is different than sharing files over the Internet. A closed network means that all of your systems are connected through a router, hub, or switch (also called a Local Area Network). Sharing over the Internet means that everybody has their own Internet connections and are not behind the same router, hub, or switch. Am I being clear about the difference?

If I fire up my browser and access my server, which is on my local network, I am not using the Internet to connect to it.

If all of the systems are on a single network, then all you need is Samba for file and printer sharing. Period. Apache is for serving web pages, and has nothing to do with file and printer sharing. .htaccess is the configuration file for Apache. If you want family members to be able to download pictures and such, then you need to either allow FTP or SCP. SCP uses a secure connection to log into your server, and there are free programs that one can use, such as WinSCP. All you need to do is set up a user on the server, give permissions to those users to whatever directories that you want them to have access to, and that is about it. If you just want it available for family, then there is no reason to make them accessible to everybody anyway. The server needs to be set up to allow ssh connections, and that is about it.

If you want to serve up webpages, then you use Apache. That is just a matter of setting up some web content and allowing the system to take requests on port 80.

There is no best or easiest when it comes to servers. Any one already suggested by BlackSpyder will work just fine. But administering a server means a lot of research and asking specific questions. You are not going to set up a system and have everything going like you want in just a couple of days given that you are just starting out. The first thing would probably be to just get a server that works. Another thing you should keep in mind. Servers generally do not have guis associated with them, nor should they (it just potentially adds more vulnerabilities). I'm curious if that was your problem with Ubuntu-Server, perhaps you were expecting a windows-like environment when you booted into it?

Before that, you may want to see if your ISP even allows clients to have their own servers.

#9 deanpcmad

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 04:05 PM

Thankyou so much groovicus and I'm sorry if I have confused you!

We are with Sky Broadband and we have a Free Wireless Router (Netgear DG834GT) with 1 PC connected by Ethernet Cable and 1 PC and 2 Laptops connected by wireless.

I will use FTP for internet access to files only for family. And I will share files on a closed network.

I want this to be easy to use and error free as I am a GCSE student and in my last year at school so I will be revising and not enough time to administer the server.

Thanks

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#10 deanpcmad

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 05:12 PM

I have found 2 very informative articles at bit-tech.net about how to build a server. The OS used in this is Xubuntu. So I think that I might follow this as it says about remote administration and FTP and also cleaning the temporary files out after installation!

Thanks so much for all of your help! If you have any more info on building a server or a different OS used then please add a reply!

deanpcmad





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