The “setup” Command on Red Hat-Based Servers

Server configuration can be time consuming, even if you happen to have a web-based control panel. On Linux-based dedicated servers, you can find configuration files for most of the applications and services in the /etc directory. These are text files that are not difficult to edit, but they do often require you to read some documentation.

Linux distributions based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (such as the popular free distribution, CentOS) or Fedora also have a graphical ncurses program called “setup” that gives the system administrator the ability to easily manage many of the server’s configuration settings.

To run setup, you first need to become root:

su -

Next, simply type “setup” from the command line:


The setup program includes the following options:

Authentication – Password settings and configuration
Firewall – Port settings for Linux firewall (iptables). If you use a different firewall application, you should not touch this option.
Keyboard – Not usually needed for a remotely hosted server
System Services – Easy configuration for services that start at boot and run in the background. You can enable or disable them here.
Timezone – Set the timezone for the server, which is very important for remotely hosted servers that may be in different geographical locations.
X configuration – Used for graphical X11 setup, which is not recommended for a server

The setup program does not give you graphical configuration for all Linux settings files, but it does make it much easier to configure some of the most common system admin settings that often need tweaking.