The Perfect Setup – Debian Etch (Debian 4.0)

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme <ft [at] falkotimme [dot] com>
Last edited 04/09/2007
This tutorial shows how to set up a Debian Etch (Debian 4.0) based server that offers all services needed by ISPs and hosters: Apache web server (SSL-capable), Postfix mail server with SMTP-AUTH and TLS, BIND DNS server, Proftpd FTP server, MySQL server, Courier POP3/IMAP, Quota, Firewall, etc. This tutorial is written for the 32-bit version of Debian Etch, but should apply to the 64-bit version with very little modifications as well.

I will use the following software:

  • Web Server: Apache 2.2
  • Database Server: MySQL 5.0
  • Mail Server: Postfix
  • DNS Server: BIND9
  • FTP Server: proftpd
  • POP3/IMAP: I will use Maildir format and therefore install Courier-POP3/Courier-IMAP.
  • Webalizer for web site statistics

In the end you should have a system that works reliably, and if you like you can install the free webhosting control panel ISPConfig (i.e., ISPConfig runs on it out of the box).

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

1 Requirements

To install such a system you will need the following:

2 Preliminary Note

In this tutorial I use the hostname server1.example.com with the IP address 192.168.0.100 and the gateway 192.168.0.1. These settings might differ for you, so you have to replace them where appropriate.

3 The Base System

Insert your Debian Etch Netinstall CD into your system and boot from it. Press ENTER to boot:

The installation starts, and first you have to choose your language:

Then select your location:

Choose a keyboard layout:

The installer checks the installation CD, your hardware, and configures the network with DHCP if there is a DHCP server in the network:

Enter the hostname. In this example, my system is called server1.example.com, so I enter server1:

Enter your domain name. In this example, this is example.com:

Now you have to partition your hard disk. For simplicity’s sake I will create one big partition (with the mount point /) and a little swap partition so I select Guided – use entire disk (of course, the partitioning is totally up to you – if you like, you can create more than just one big partition, and you can also use LVM):

Select the disk that you want to partition:

Then select the partitioning scheme. As mentioned before, I select All files in one partition (recommended for new users) for simplicity’s sake – it’s up to your likings what you choose here:

When you’re finished, select Finish partitioning and write changes to disk:

Select Yes when you’re asked Write changes to disks?:

Afterwards, your new partitions are created and formatted:

Afterwards, give the root user a password:

Confirm that password to avoid typos:

Create a normal user account, for example the user Administrator with the user name administrator (don’t use the user name admin as it is a reserved name on Debian Etch):

Now the base system is being installed:

Next you must configure apt. Because you are using the Debian Etch Netinstall CD which contains only a minimal set of packages, you must use a network mirror:

Select the country where the network mirror that you want to use is located (usually this is the country where your Debian Etch system is located):

Then select the mirror you want to use (e.g. ftp2.de.debian.org):

Unless you use an HTTP proxy, leave the following field empty and hit Continue:

Apt is now updating its packages database:

You can skip the package usage survey by selecting No:

We need a web server, DNS server, mail server, and a MySQL database, but nevertheless I don’t select any of them now because I like to have full control over what gets installed on my system. We will install the needed packages manually later on. Therefore we just select Standard system and hit Continue:

The required packages are being installed on the system:

When you’re asked Install the GRUB boot loader to the master boot record, select Yes:

Afterwards, the GRUB boot loader gets installed:

The base system installation is now finished. Remove the Debian Etch Netinstall CD from the CD drive and hit Continue to reboot the system:

On to the next step…

4 Install The SSH Server

Debian Etch does not install OpenSSH by default, therefore we do it now. Run

apt-get install ssh openssh-server

You will be prompted to insert the installation CD again.

5 Configure The Network

Because the Debian Etch installer has configured our system to get its network settings via DHCP, we have to change that now because a server should have a static IP address. Edit /etc/network/interfaces and adjust it to your needs (in this example setup I will use the IP address 192.168.0.100) (please note that I replace allow-hotplug eth0 with auto eth0; otherwise restarting the network doesn’t work, and we’d have to reboot the whole system):

vi /etc/network/interfaces

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
#allow-hotplug eth0
#iface eth0 inet dhcp
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
        address 192.168.0.100
        netmask 255.255.255.0
        network 192.168.0.0
        broadcast 192.168.0.255
        gateway 192.168.0.1

Then restart your network:

<!– document.write(‘

‘); //–> <!– document.write(‘

‘); //–>

/etc/init.d/networking restart

Then edit /etc/hosts. Make it look like this:

vi /etc/hosts

127.0.0.1       localhost.localdomain   localhost
192.168.0.100   server1.example.com     server1

# The following lines are desirable for IPv6 capable hosts
::1     ip6-localhost ip6-loopback
fe00::0 ip6-localnet
ff00::0 ip6-mcastprefix
ff02::1 ip6-allnodes
ff02::2 ip6-allrouters
ff02::3 ip6-allhosts

Now run

echo server1.example.com > /etc/hostname

and reboot the system:

shutdown -r now

Afterwards, run

hostname
hostname -f

Both should show server1.example.com.

From now on you can use an SSH client such as PuTTY and connect from your workstation to your Debian Etch server and follow the remaining steps from this tutorial.

6 Edit /etc/apt/sources.list And Update Your Linux Installation

Edit /etc/apt/sources.list. Comment out the CD. It should look like this:

vi /etc/apt/sources.list

#
# deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 r0 _Etch_ - Official i386 NETINST Binary-1 20070407-11:29]/ etch contrib main

#deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 r0 _Etch_ - Official i386 NETINST Binary-1 20070407-11:29]/ etch contrib main

deb http://ftp2.de.debian.org/debian/ etch main
deb-src http://ftp2.de.debian.org/debian/ etch main

deb http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib

Then run

apt-get update

to update the apt package database and

apt-get upgrade

to install the latest updates (if there are any).

7 Install Some Software

Now we install a few packages that are needed later on. Run

apt-get install binutils cpp fetchmail flex gcc libarchive-zip-perl libc6-dev libcompress-zlib-perl libdb4.3-dev libpcre3 libpopt-dev linux-kernel-headers lynx m4 make ncftp nmap openssl perl perl-modules unzip zip zlib1g-dev autoconf automake1.9 libtool bison autotools-dev g++

(This command should go into one line!)

8 Quota

(If you have chosen a different partitioning scheme than I did, you must adjust this chapter so that quota applies to the partitions where you need it.)

To install quota, run

apt-get install quota

Edit /etc/fstab. Mine looks like this (I added ,usrquota,grpquota to partition /dev/sda1 (mount point /; your device name might be /dev/hda1 or similar)):

vi /etc/fstab

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
#
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
proc            /proc           proc    defaults        0       0
/dev/sda1       /               ext3    defaults,errors=remount-ro,usrquota,grpquota 0       1
/dev/sda5       none            swap    sw              0       0
/dev/hdc        /media/cdrom0   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0
/dev/fd0        /media/floppy0  auto    rw,user,noauto  0       0

To enable quota, run these commands:

touch /quota.user /quota.group
chmod 600 /quota.*
mount -o remount /
quotacheck -avugm
quotaon -avug

9 DNS Server

Run

apt-get install bind9

For security reasons we want to run BIND chrooted so we have to do the following steps:

/etc/init.d/bind9 stop

Edit the file /etc/default/bind9 so that the daemon will run as the unprivileged user bind, chrooted to /var/lib/named. Modify the line: OPTIONS=”-u bind” so that it reads OPTIONS=”-u bind -t /var/lib/named”:

vi /etc/default/bind9

OPTIONS="-u bind -t /var/lib/named"
# Set RESOLVCONF=no to not run resolvconf
RESOLVCONF=yes

Create the necessary directories under /var/lib:

<!– document.write(‘

‘); //–> <!– document.write(‘

‘); //–>

mkdir -p /var/lib/named/etc
mkdir /var/lib/named/dev
mkdir -p /var/lib/named/var/cache/bind
mkdir -p /var/lib/named/var/run/bind/run

Then move the config directory from /etc to /var/lib/named/etc:

mv /etc/bind /var/lib/named/etc

Create a symlink to the new config directory from the old location (to avoid problems when bind gets updated in the future):

ln -s /var/lib/named/etc/bind /etc/bind

Make null and random devices, and fix permissions of the directories:

mknod /var/lib/named/dev/null c 1 3
mknod /var/lib/named/dev/random c 1 8
chmod 666 /var/lib/named/dev/null /var/lib/named/dev/random
chown -R bind:bind /var/lib/named/var/*
chown -R bind:bind /var/lib/named/etc/bind

We need to modify /etc/default/syslogd so that we can still get important messages logged to the system logs. Modify the line: SYSLOGD=”” so that it reads: SYSLOGD=”-a /var/lib/named/dev/log”:

vi /etc/default/syslogd

#
# Top configuration file for syslogd
#

#
# Full documentation of possible arguments are found in the manpage
# syslogd(8).
#

#
# For remote UDP logging use SYSLOGD="-r"
#
SYSLOGD="-a /var/lib/named/dev/log"

Restart the logging daemon:

/etc/init.d/sysklogd restart

Start up BIND, and check /var/log/syslog for errors:

/etc/init.d/bind9 start

10 MySQL

In order to install MySQL, we run

apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client libmysqlclient15-dev

We want MySQL to listen on all interfaces, not just localhost, therefore we edit /etc/mysql/my.cnf and comment out the line bind-address = 127.0.0.1:

vi /etc/mysql/my.cnf

[...]
#bind-address           = 127.0.0.1
[...]

Then we restart MySQL:

/etc/init.d/mysql restart

Now check that networking is enabled. Run

netstat -tap

In the output you should see a line like this one:

tcp        0      0 *:mysql                 *:*                     LISTEN     3281/mysqld

Run

mysqladmin -u root password yourrootsqlpassword
mysqladmin -h server1.example.com -u root password yourrootsqlpassword

to set a password for the user root (otherwise anybody can access your MySQL database!).


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