Ubuntu 18.04 LAMP Server – Quick Setup and FTP to Webserver

I recently setup an Ubuntu 18.04 webserver to test webpages locally. I used tasksel to quickly install the LAMP server role as follows:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install tasksel
sudo tasksel install lamp-server

With the webserver up and running I needed to be able to FTP into the var/www/html directories to upload my HTML and CSS.

As Ubuntu server comes with SSH installed be default I decided to use that for FTP instead of installing something like vsftd (Very Secure FTP Daemon). FTP over SSH turned out to be a much simpler and quicker setup.

Warning: These steps do not restrict access to folders outside of the /var/www/html directories. As such this setup is not recommended for any kind of production server.

First create a new directory under /var/www/html:

cd /var/www/html
sudo mk dir newdirectory

Create a new user and give the user a password:

sudo adduser ftpuser
sudo passwd ftpuser

Finally give the new user the permissions that they need. Change the directory ownership and group:

sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/html/newdirectory

Give the group write permissions to the directory:

sudo chmod -R 775 /var/www/html/newdirectory

Add the new user to the www-data group:

sudo usermod -a -G www-data ftpuser

With this done I configured FileZilla to establish a secure FTP connection to my webserver.

Filezilla: Secure FTP using SSH File Transfer Protocol.

Sources:

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/questions/permissions-on-var-www-html-for-uploading-web-site-files-via-sftp

Ubuntu Server 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) – Zentyal 3.5 Installation

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Zentyal Server is an open source Linux small business server, that can act as a Gateway, Infrastructure Manager, Unified Threat Manager, Office Server, Unified Communication Server or a combination of the above.

I am performing this setup on a minimal virtual machine installation of Ubuntu Server 14.04. At the time of writing Zentyal 3.5 is the most current Zentyal release.

First make sure that repositories and software are up to date:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Add the Zentyal 3.5 repository to /etc/apt/sources.list:

echo "deb http://archive.zentyal.org/zentyal 3.5 main extra" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list

Import public keys for Zentyal 3.5:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 10E239FF
wget -q http://keys.zentyal.org/zentyal-3.5-archive.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Update repositories:

sudo apt-get update

Install Zentyal:

sudo apt-get install zentyal
  • When prompted enter a password for the MySQL root user.
  • Confirm port 443 as the Zentyal https port.

From here we simply setup Zentyal using the web-gui. Open Firefox (the only officially supported browser) and enter the url for your Zentyal install: https://zentyal-server-ip.

Confirm the security exception in Firefox and then log in to Zentyal using your Ubuntu Server credentials:

Zentyal - login

Ubuntu Server 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) – Quick MediaDrop Installation

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MediaDrop is a open source online video platform for managing and delivering video, audio and podcasts.

mediadrop

Sadly I found the official documentation to be lacking and had to cross reference it with other install guides to even get a basic setup running.

This guide will take you through a basic installation of MediaDrop that utilizes the built in Paste Server provided by Python. If you prefer a more permanent solution you can setup an Apache 2 or Nginx web server yourself. For the time being I am happy enough to just have MediaDrop running – having experienced a couple of bugs I do not want to mess with my working configuration any further right now.

My working environment is a minimal installation of Ubuntu 14.04 Server on VMware vSphere 5.x.

Let’s begin our installation – first we will elevate ourselves to the root user and then install MySQL, System libraries, development headers, python libraries and tools:

sudo -i

apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client libjpeg-dev zlib1g-dev libfreetype6-dev libmysqlclient-dev python-dev python-setuptools python-virtualenv git

When prompted enter a password for the MySQL root user.

Setup Python virtual environment:

cd /

virtualenv --no-site-packages venv

Activate the virtual environment:

source venv/bin/activate

Install MediaDrop from Git:

git clone git://github.com/mediadrop/mediadrop.git mediadrop-git

Download and install all the necessary dependencies for MediaDrop into your virtual environment:

cd mediadrop-git

python setup.py develop

Generate the deployment.ini file:

paster make-config MediaDrop deployment.ini

We will now bring up a mysql> prompt to administer the MySQL database:

mysql -u root -p

Enter your MySQL password when prompted.

Create the MySQL database mediadrop_db and the MySQL user mediadrop_user and a password for mediadrop_user:

mysql> create database mediadrop_db;
mysql> grant usage on mediadrop_db.* to mediadrop_user@localhost identified by 'mysecretpassword';
mysql> grant all privileges on mediadrop_db.* to mediadrop_user@localhost;
mysql> exit;

Note: Change ‘mysecretpassword‘ to the password you want for mediadrop_user.

Edit the delpoyment.ini file:

nano deployment.ini

Under the [app:main] heading, look for the sqlalchemy.url setting:

sqlalchemy.url = mysql://username:pass@localhost/dbname?charset=utf8&use_unicode=0

Change the username, pass, and dbname entities to mediadrop_user, password and mediadrop_db:

Note: password here refers to the password that you designated earlier for mediadrop_user.

sqlalchemy.url = mysql://mediadrop_user:mysecretpassword@localhost/mediadrop_db?charset=utf8&use_unicode=0

Setup the built in server:

paster setup-app deployment.ini

Enable simple full text searching:

mysql -u root mediadrop_db < setup_triggers.sql -p

Enter your MySQL password when prompted.

Now that MediaDrop itself is installed and the basics are configured, we can test it out using the Paste server:

paster serve --reload deployment.ini

Open a browser and enter the ip address for your server using port 8080. For example – http://server-ip:8080

To access the admin dashboard you need to append /admin to the above url. The default administrative username is admin, and the password is also admin. Remember to change your password!

If you restart your server you will need to activate the virtual environment again and run the Paste server again. A basic script to handle this looks like this:

#!/bin/bash
cd /
source venv/bin/activate
cd mediadrop-git
paster serve --reload deployment.ini

Save this as something like mediadrop-start.sh and then make it executable:

chmod +x mediadrop-start.sh

Run the script as follows:

sudo ./mediadrop-start.sh

As a closing note I did encounter issues accessing the admin panel after changing the admin password when using Firefox. I could access the admin panel using Internet Explorer though.

Sources:

http://mediadrop.net/docs/install/index.html

https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1DAikm-mCYiNFddClW21S0G-EwzINIC_gUl7pn2jq2zA

Ubuntu Server 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) – Quick Headless Transmission Setup

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This is a quick post with a brief explanation of how to set up transmission on Ubuntu Server (currently 14.04 (Trusty Tahr)).

First make sure your repositories are up-to-date:

sudo apt-get update

Install transmission:

sudo apt-get install transmission-cli transmission-common transmission-daemon

Check to make sure that the transmission-daemon is not running – if it is it will overwrite any configuration changes that we make later:

sudo service transmission-daemon stop

Locate the transmission-daemon settings file:

sudo find / -iname settings.json

Two locations are found for this file:

/etc/transmission-daemon/settings.json
 /var/lib/transmission-daemon/info/settings.json

We will edit /etc/transmission-daemon/settings.json:

sudo nano /etc/transmission-daemon/settings.json

The changes that I made to settings.json are in red. You will need to provide your own settings to configure your setup:

"download-dir": "your-download-location",
"incomplete-dir": "your-download-location",
"rpc-password": "password",
"rpc-username": "username",
"rpc-whitelist": "127.0.0.1,192.168.0.*",
  • download-dir and incomplete-dir are directories where complete and incomplete torrents are stored. They do not have to be different directories.
  • rpc-password and rpc-username are the username and password for web access administration.
  • rpc-whitelist defines access to transmission. Localhost (127.0.0.1) is defined by default. I added ,192.168.0.* to allow any machine on my LAN access.

Start the transmission-daemon:

sudo service transmission-daemon start

Verify that everything is working by opening a broswer and pointing it to http://server-ip:9091.

Sources:

https://forum.transmissionbt.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=8361

http://www.webupd8.org/2009/12/setting-up-transmission-remote-gui-in.html

Ubuntu Server 14.4 (Trusty Tahr) – add-apt-repository: command not found

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The last time I encountered the add-apt-repository: command not found error I was using Ubuntu Server 12.4 Lucid. The solution then was to install python-software-properties as follows:

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties

 

This did not resolve the issue on my minimal virtual machine installation on Trusty so I installed apt-file – which is an apt package searching utility:

sudo apt-get install apt-file

 

Update apt-file:

apt-file update

 

Finally use apt-file to search for the add-apt-repository package:

apt-file search add-apt-repository

 

As you can see add-apt-repository is in software-properties-common:

software-properties-common: /usr/bin/add-apt-repository
software-properties-common: /usr/share/man/man1/add-apt-repository.1.gz

 

After installing software-properties-common I was able to use add-apt-repository without any further issue:

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common

Ubuntu Server – Installing Tiny Tiny RSS

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I have been using Gregarius as my web-based RSS aggregator for quite some time now but have wanted to try Tiny Tiny RSS for a while.

Now that WebUpd8 have created a PPA (Personal Package Archives) for Tiny Tiny RSS I really had no excuse for not installing it.

Note: I am installing Tiny Tiny RSS on Ubuntu Server 12.04. PPAs have been available for Ubuntu since Ubuntu 9.10 – so this will not work on prior editions of Ubuntu Server.

The first step is to update our repositories and install Apache and MySQL:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client apache2 libapache2-mod-php5

When prompted enter a password for your MySQL root user:

MySQL Password

Confirm your MySQL password:

Confirm MySQL Password

Now that we have our prerequisites installed we can add the Tiny Tiny RSS PPA.

Note: On a minimal virtual machine installation of Ubuntu Server we need to install the  python-software-properties package to be able to add a PPA:

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties

Add the Tiny Tiny RSS PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/tt-rss
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tt-rss

Set Apache as the Tiny Tiny RSS web server:

tt-rss apache

Set the URL for the Tiny Tiny RSS installation – for a local install on my LAN i used http://localhost/tt-rss/:

tt-rss url

Select Yes for database configuration:

tt-rss database config

Confirm MySQL as the database for Tiny Tiny RSS:

tt-rss database mysql

Enter your root MySQL password:

tt-rss root mysql password

Enter a password for Tiny Tiny RSS to register with MySQL – a random password will be generated if left blank:

tt-rss application password

Confirm your application password:

tt-rss confirm application password

Next we need to use nano to edit some configuration files.

First we need to edit our server address in /etc/tt-rss/config.php:

sudo nano /etc/tt-rss/config.php

Find the line  define('SELF_URL_PATH', 'http://yourserver/tt-rss/'); and change it to  define('SELF_URL_PATH', 'http://localhost/tt-rss/'); (as per the server address that we set previously):

tt-rss config.php

Press Ctrl + O then Enter to save the changes to config.php and then Ctrl +X to exit nano.

To get Tiny Tiny RSS to update feeds we need to edit /etc/default/tt-rss:

sudo nano /etc/default/tt-rss

Change DISABLED=1 to DISABLED=0 to allow the Tiny Tiny RSS daemon to be started:

tt-rss tt-rss

Press Ctrl + O then Enter to save the changes to config.php and then Ctrl +X to exit nano.

Start the Tiny Tiny RSS service:

sudo service tt-rss start

Obtain the IP address of your Ubuntu Server installation:

ipconfig

tt-rss ifconfig

Open a browser on another machine and navigate to your Tiny Tiny RSS URL:

tt-rss login

Login with the username: admin and the password: password.

Click Actions, Preferences and Users to change your admin password and add users. You can import feeds under the Feeds tab or click Exit Preferences and then Actions, Subscribe to feed to add feeds manually.

Source: http://www.webupd8.org/2013/05/tiny-tiny-rss-ubuntu-ppa-google-reader.html

Ubuntu – Change Hostname Permanently Using the Command Line

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On Ubuntu the hostname is stored in both the /etc/hosts and /etc/hostname files. There are several ways that we can change the hostname in these files.

1. Manually Edit the hostname

We can manually edit these files using a basic text editor like nano:

sudo nano /etc/hosts
sudo nano /etc/hostname

In /etc/hostname simply overwrite the existing hostname with a new one. In /etc/hosts you will find the hostname on the line beginning 127.0.0.1 – overwrite only the hostname with the new one, and then reboot.

Editing /etc/hosts using nano
Editing /etc/hosts using nano

sudo reboot

2. Use sed to change the hostname

Another way to achieve the same goal is to use the sed command to replace the existing hostname with a new one.

For example, my Ubuntu Server has the default hostname of ‘ubuntu’.

Use the hostname command to check what your hostname is.

With sed we can look for our hostname (in /etc/hosts and /etc/hostname) and then replace it with the desired new-hostname:

sudo sed -i 's/ubuntu/new-hostname/g' /etc/hosts
sudo sed -i 's/ubuntu/new-hostname/g' /etc/hostname

Reboot:

sudo reboot

3. Write a Bash Script

It’s always handy to have a script to do things – so here is a quick bash script that I put together that uses sed to change the hostname and then reboot:

#!/bin/bash
#Assign existing hostname to $hostn
hostn=$(cat /etc/hostname)

#Display existing hostname
echo "Existing hostname is $hostn"

#Ask for new hostname $newhost
echo "Enter new hostname: "
read newhost

#change hostname in /etc/hosts & /etc/hostname
sudo sed -i "s/$hostn/$newhost/g" /etc/hosts
sudo sed -i "s/$hostn/$newhost/g" /etc/hostname

#display new hostname
echo "Your new hostname is $newhost"

#Press a key to reboot
read -s -n 1 -p "Press any key to reboot"
sudo reboot

Ubuntu Server – Apache2: Could not reliably determine the server’s fully qualified domain name, using 127.0.1.1 for ServerName

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Restarting the Apache Web Server on Ubuntu Server (12.04 at the time of writing) gives me the following error:

apache2: Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using 127.0.1.1 for ServerName

To fix this error add ServerName localhost to /etc/apache2/httpd.conf, as follows:

echo 'ServerName localhost' | sudo tee -a /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

Restart Apache to make sure that the issue is resolved:

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Ubuntu Server – Unattended Installation (Custom CD)

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I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have installed Ubuntu Server on my VMware vSphere box – so I finally looked in to performing an unattended install.

I could have setup DHCP and TFTP servers and done PXE boot from images over the network – but I wanted to work on something quicker than that (and I don’t have that much spare RAM on my vSphere box as it is).

So I settled on re-mastering an Ubuntu Server .iso image. The result is an unattended install, except for the initial boot screen (where I need to select a minimal virtual machine installation anyway).

The following steps were performed on Ubuntu Desktop.

Download Ubuntu Server – I am using the 32 bit version of Ubuntu 12.04.

Open a Terminal and create a directory to mount the Ubuntu Server iso to.

sudo mkdir -p /mnt/iso

The -p switch is very useful as it allows you to create a directory structure which does not already exist (as opposed to creating a single directory).

Change directory to Downloads:

cd Downloads

I renamed my download UbuntuServer.iso.

Mount UbuntuServer.iso to /mnt/iso:

sudo mount -o loop UbuntuServer.iso /mnt/iso

Create a directory and copy the mounted Ubuntu Server files:

sudo mkdir -p /opt/serveriso
sudo cp -rT /mnt/iso /opt/serveriso

The -r switch copies directories recursively and -T specifies no (singular) target directory.

Now we have a copy of our Ubuntu .iso to work on in /opt/serveriso – but we need to make these files writable:

sudo chmod -R 777 /opt/serveriso/

With this preparation done we can start customizing things.

If we look at the isolinux/langlist file we see all the supported languages listed that Ubuntu supports (in an abbreviated format):

am
ar
ast
be
bg ...

I am only interested in an English install so I am going to overwrite the contents of isolinux/langlist with the single abbreviation for English, which is “en”.

cd /opt/serveriso
echo en >isolinux/langlist

This stops the language selection menu from appearing during installation.

The next step of the process is to create a kickstart file – this will provide the server install with the answers to the various questions asked during installation, such as timezone, username, password, partition structure and so on.

Install Kickstart Configurator:

sudo apt-get install system-config-kickstart

Click the Dash button and type kickstart and then click on the kickstart application.

kickstart

Obviously you should customize your settings as you see fit – I have provided mine for reference.

Basic Configuration
Basic Configuration: Set Timezone

Installation Method
Installation Method: Choose the CD-ROM installation method

Boot Loader Options

Partition Options: Add an ext4 partition to the root file system that fills all unused space on the disk
Partition Options: Add an ext4 partition to the root file system that fills all unused space on the disk

Partition Options: Add a swap file system that uses the recommended swap size
Partition Options: Add a swap file system that uses the recommended swap size

Network Configuration: Add network device eth0 and set to DHCP
Network Configuration: Add network device eth0 and set to DHCP

User Configuration: Provide username and password
User Configuration: Provide username and password

Click File, Save File and save the kickstart file ks.cfg to /opt/serveriso.

While using the Kickstart Configurator you may have noticed that the Package Selection screen did not work. Fortunately we can manually edit the ks.cfg file so that the packages that we want are installed during Ubuntu Server installation.

At the end of ks.cfg add %packages and then list the packages that you want installed. I chose to install nano, openssh-server and open-vm-tools:

%packages
nano
openssh-server
open-vm-tools --no-install-recommends

–no-install-recommends installs open-vm-tools in headless mode.

Now we need to configure the CD boot command line to use the kickstart ks.cfg file.

Browse to and open /opt/serveriso/isolinux/txt.cfg.

We need to edit the append line of the default install section at the top of the file.

default install

At the end of the append line add ks=cdrom:/ks.cfg. You can remove quiet — and vga=788.

My append line is as follows:

append  file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntuserver.seed initrd=/install/initrd.gz ks=cdrom:/ks.cfg

The final step is to create a new Ubuntu Server .iso using this command:

sudo mkisofs -D -r -V "ATTENDLESS_UBUNTU" -cache-inodes -J -l -b isolinux/isolinux.bin -c isolinux/boot.cat -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table -o /opt/autoinstall.iso /opt/serveriso

The finished .iso is /opt/autoinstall.iso.

Test your .iso in a virtual machine to make sure that everything works as it should.

The minimal interaction that I need to set my Ubuntu Server install going is documented below:

1. Press the Enter key to confirm the English language selection
Press the Enter key to confirm the English language selection

Press F4, select Install a minimal virtual machine, and then press Enter
Press F4, select Install a minimal virtual machine, and then press Enter

Press Enter to install Ubuntu Server
Press Enter to install Ubuntu Server

From here installation continues without any further input being required.

Sources: http://askubuntu.com/questions/122505/how-do-i-create-completely-unattended-install-for-ubuntu

Ubuntu Server – Very Quick FTP Setup

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To get an FTP daemon running on Ubuntu Server we will install vsftpd (Very Secure FTP Daemon) as follows:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vsftpd

The next step is to configure vsftpd by editing the /etc/vsftpd.conf file. Issue the following commands to install the nano editor (if you haven’t installed it before) and edit the file:

sudo apt-get install nano
sudo nano /etc/vsftpd.conf

The basic configuration of vsftpd.conf involves simple editing and un-commenting of the existing parameters:

Un-commenting is the removal of the # sign from the start of a line. For example changing #local_enable=YES to local_enable=YES (which we will do later).

  • To disable anonymous access change anonymous_enable=YES to anonymous_enable=NO.
  • Un-comment #local_enable=YES to allow local users to login to the FTP server.
  • Un-comment #write_enable=YES if you want users to be able to upload to the FTP server.

Vsftp.conf contains an explanation of its parameters – so it should be relatively self-explanatory if you wish to configure other options.

The final step is to restart the vsftp daemon. On older Ubuntu servers you will probably use sudo /etc/init.d/vsftpd restart but a more recent installation will prefer:

sudo service vsftpd restart

Enjoy!