How to Check Your Server for Bash Shellshock Vulnerability

The hosting world has been hit with yet another highly publicized server vulnerability. This one affects the ubiquitous shell program GNU Bash and is referred to as Shellshock. Most Linux, BSD and Mac OS X operating systems and variants use Bash or derivatives of it. All Bash versions between versions 1.14 and 4.3 are […]

Top Web Server Software for Dedicated Servers

Netcraft publishes a list of the web’s most widely used web server software every month. Here is a brief look at each of those top web servers and what they can do.
Microsoft IIS (37% market share) – Microsoft Internet Information Services is the web server designed specifically for Microsoft Windows Server operating […]

4 Common Open Source Licenses

As you enter the world of server management, you are likely going to encounter free and open source software. Even a Windows system administrator these days will likely have to at least run Linux in a virtual machine at some point. Therefore, having a little background knowledge on how Linux and other open source software […]

What are binary and source packages?

While learning to use a Linux or BSD dedicated server, you are likely to encounter the terms binary and source software packages. Depending on your actual operating system, it may use one, the other or both as default methods of software installation.
A source package is a file archive that contains the full source code of […]

Manage Multiple Servers Simultaneously with Cluster SSH

SSH (Secure Shell) is a powerful command-line tool that allows you to securely manage your dedicated server from a remote location. If you have more than one server, however, it can become tedious to have to SSH into each one and make identical changes.
Cluster SSH is a software utility that gives you […]

How to send a system message to all *BSD users

Any good system administrator needs to be able to send authoritative messages to any online users. Fortunately, with BSD variants such as FreeBSD and OpenBSD, it is very easy with a tool called “wall”.
To send a general message to all users logged into the system, follow this format:

# wall
your message here
more of your message

At the […]

How Often Do You Reboot Your Server?

Once upon a time, it was conventional Unix server wisdom to reboot every month or so to make sure it was working correctly. These days many Linux system administrators boast about the number of days their servers have been up and running without interruption. BSD and other Unix-like OS users also claim similar uptimes, sometimes […]

3 More Differences Between Linux and BSD

In the first post on this topic, we looked at 3 key differences between Linux and BSD: the licensing, the kernel, and the package management system. The following are three more differences you should probably know.
1. Hardware support – In many cases Linux supports hardware sooner and more often than BSD. This is partly […]

3 Differences Between Linux and BSD

Linux and BSD are two of the most highly regarded server operating systems in the world, mainly for their security, flexibility, and open source development. In reality, both terms broadly refer to multiple operating systems, and it is not possible to compare the two without confusing some of their variants. There are, however, general similarities […]

What is Ncurses?

Ncurses a program for POSIX-compliant operating systems (Linux, Unix, BSD, etc) that is designed to provide a text-based visual interface for a variety of tools. Essentially, programs that rely on ncurses can display GUI-like interfaces within a terminal emulator that support keyboard and even mouse navigation just as a true GUI program would.
Some of the […]

Is Linux the Best for Web Servers?

Linux is a free and open source kernel that powers numerous operating systems (often called “distributions”). Many system administrators have long regarded Linux as the best option for powering web-facing dedicated servers and virtual private servers. There are, however, many other options. So, what makes Linux the best, or is it even truly the best […]

The Disadvantages of Old Proprietary UNIX

At one time, most of the world’s dedicated servers used a form of UNIX. Big mainframes were known to have big expensive UNIX installations with hefty, costly licenses. Many of those servers have gradually been phased out or have been switched to more modern operating systems like Linux or BSD. Still, some persist, and those […]

Server OS Profile: OpenBSD

OpenBSD is a derivative of the free and open source Unix operating system BSD, which was first developed at the University of California, Berkeley. The OS is probably best known for its mascot, the puffer fish named Puffy, and also for its very popular sub-project OpenSSH, which is used on many of the servers around […]

Server Terminology You Should Know

SSH – Secure Shell allows you to connect to your server as though you were sitting in front of it typing on the console. If you have administrative access, you can completely control your server from SSH. Connections made via SSH are also encrypted and secure.
Apache HTTP Server – The most popular web server software […]

Should You Defragment Your Server’s Hard Drive?

One of the most unappealing yet necessary tasks that PC users often perform is defragmenting of their hard drives. In the old days of small, slow hard drives, defragmenting was the only way to speed up performance and use every last byte you had available.
Times have changed considerably since then. Most modern hard disk drives […]

4 Reasons to Go Open Source on Your Server

When you decide to get a new dedicated server, you will be faced with many software options. You could easily pay big money for a proprietary Unix variant or for Microsoft Windows Server, but there are also plenty of good reasons to go open source. Saving money is just one of them.
1. Stability
Linux and BSD […]

How to Install Webmin on a CentOS Server

Webmin is a free and open source web-based interface for Unix and Linux system administration. It is more powerful and more comprehensive than the typical web-based control panel, and it is also completely free to download and use. You can install Webmin on just about any Linux distribution, BSD variant, or other Unix-like operating system. […]

Understanding Free Software Licenses

Free and open source software powers many of the world’s servers, and numerous high-traffic sites such as YouTube, Wikipedia, and Facebook use free software to keep their sites performing at extraordinary levels.  Some of the most common free software applications for servers are: variants of the GNU/Linux operating system, Apache […]

What is the Best Server Operating System?

Proponents of each operating system will always give you different answers to this question, but it is important for you to decide which one is best for your circumstances.  Choices include the many variations of GNU/Linux, the numerous descendants of BSD, several versions of Windows Server, Solaris, Mac OS X Server, and several proprietary iterations […]

Linux vs BSD

If you spend any time on free software websites or forums, you have undoubtedly heard both sides of the argument of Linux vs. BSD.  Each side claims to have advantages in particular areas, so it may be difficult for you to easily tell which one is actually better.  Before you even begin to decide which […]

Top 10 Reasons to Get a Dedicated Server

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to make the move to a dedicated server.  While most people think in terms of space or power, not all reasons revolve around these factors.  Here are 10 of the top reasons you might want to get a full dedicated server.
1. You run a business and […]

Monitor Bandwidth with BandwidthD

Bandwidth is not free, and if you were to believe everything ISPs said, you might believe a war over bandwidth will be as violent as one fought over oil. With ISPs throttling bandwidth, and hosting companies fighting for every last cent of bandwidth, it is no surprise that the word bandwidth can strike fear […]

Routine Server Reboots

At one time, it was a common practice of Unix system administrators to reboot their servers regularly, once a month or at another specified interval. This was done to flush the memory, make sure there was nothing wrong with the server, and give it a fresh start.
Nowadays, it seems that many Linux, BSD, and […]

BSD Flavors for Servers

Although Windows and Linux dominate most headlines about server operating systems, many system administrators prefer the stability and security of BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution). BSD is a Unix-like operating system, originally developed at the University of California at Berkeley. Although the original code is scarcely used anymore, it has many descendants, including the […]

An Introduction to FreeBSD Ports Collection

For most of my posts that cover the installation of software on dedicated servers, I have focused on Linux package managers like YUM and APT. Many servers, however, run variations of BSD (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, etc.). Therefore, it would be shortsighted to ignore Ports Collection, which is FreeBSD’s answer to software […]

Test Your Server OS with VirtualBox

When you get your first dedicated server, the last thing you want to do is experiment on it, especially if your server is already live on the Internet. Instead, you can use a virtual machine to run the same operating system installed on your server. With it you can do whatever kind of […]