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Was a tie between here and Server Fault, and I decided that it belongs more here.

Anyway, I am seeking to host a website on my computer using Ubuntu Server 11.04. I've got just a few questions.

First off, does anyone know of any good tutorials, guides, or other documentation for learning their way around the terminal? I know the basics, but any sort of in-depth guide would be absolutely lovely. I know that it is possible to install a GUI, but I'd just honestly enjoy working with and learning the terminal more anyway, and I'm certain I'll have to learn it at some point in my life.

Secondly, do any of you have links to videos or (preferably) written guides on how I can set it up so that others may access and view the pages and files I upload?

FINAL THOUGHT: I am running Ubuntu Server in a Virtual Machine as all the spare computers in my home have fallen victim to my screwdriver. Would this give me any issues? I am aware that desktops are generally not built for long periods of activity.

FINAL THOUGHT PS: Thank you all so much for any assistance that you can provide. It is incredibly appreciated. (。◕‿◕。)

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You would probably do better to ask more specific questions which can each be answered more easily. Perhaps you're better off with a forum like ubuntuforums.org –  Lekensteyn Jul 24 '11 at 8:06
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2 Answers 2

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The Ubuntu documentation can probably get you most of the way.

1. Using the terminal

This is a very open-ended issue. Tutorials like UsingTheTerminal will tell you some of the basics but I'm really not sure how much you think you need to know.

Start there. If you run into any more issues, try Google, the search on this site and failing that, post a new question explaining what you're trying to do.

2. Hosting a website

If you're just hosting simple html files (no dynamic languages), the easiest document to read through is the server guide for Apache (a web server).

If you want MySQL and PHP too, the LAMP page might do you better. It still uses Apache, so don't be afraid to read both as you'll get a better understanding of Apache from the server guide.

Neither of these explain the underlying networking that you'll need to do too:

  • Port forwarding on the router to allow people to access your computer's port 80 from the internet.
  • The DNS (eg DynDNS) so you can bind a domain name to a dynamic IP your ISP gives you.

If you're just hosting things on a local network, you can ignore those items.

3. Is virtualised good enough?

Desktops aren't built to run all the time? Speaking as somebody whose desktop has been in near-enough constant use for two years (down for upgrades, rewiring, etc), I can say, as long as it's a good desktop, it'll make a perfectly serviceable server.

You're right, in essence. Server grade hardware is built with long service terms in mind but modern consumer hardware is (and has been for the past 5-10 years) very acceptable. I say that with the bias of somebody who tends to buy premium components... I'm not sure what budget hardware is like these days.

What is the VM host? If it's also Ubuntu, why not just install Apache on that, and forgo the virtualisation?

Virtualised systems are slower. They take up a chunk of overhead too (not too much in Ubuntu Server's case, but still 100+ megabytes of ram that you might not have spare). However, serving static files from Apache is a trivial task. It uses a pathetically small amount of CPU time, so performance really shouldn't be an issue at all.

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No, my main installation is Windows 7, and I don't have any spare computers which is why I'm using virtualization. I believe that I'll be able to run a virtualized server over Windows as I have two AMD Athlon II X2 215 processors at 2.7 GHz, 4 GB RAM, and an NVIDIA GTS 450. Nothing amazing, but it will be just fine. Thank you so much for the help, all of you. –  Sam Jul 24 '11 at 17:51
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One advantage of using a VM for the server, is that you can place the VM files for the server on other media as a backup incase any thing does happen to the desktop and you can get back up and running pretty quick.

You can always install a desktop, I have. Even tho I know a thing or two about the command line I enjoy a GUI. That said, if you use say a light desktop it won't add much to the over all resources.

Amahi is a great home server solution, however its a bit tricky getting to it from outside your network.

There are many howto's on Howtoforge here http://www.howtoforge.com/installing-apache2-with-php5-and-mysql-support-on-ubuntu-11.04-lamp

Lastly you can find some really good terminal commands and examples here..

http://www.commandlinefu.com/commands/browse

Use what ever you are like, command line or gui.. Its your server and you want to make it easy for you.

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