Find Out When a Unix/Linux User Last Logged In

Keeping track of your users’ activities may seem a little bit intrusive, but it is very necessary for security-conscious system administrators. When users are logged onto the system, you should know, and if a user account is up to anything suspicious, knowing when the user’s logged in might very well save your system. It may […]

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 […]

3 Ways Virtualization Can Help You Save

Saving money is very important in the competitive dedicated server industry, and a good system administrator will always look for ways to help the business save. Virtualization, when used correctly, is a great way to save money and still get good performance out of a server. The following are three ways to save with virtualization.
1. […]

Linux Server Management Software

There was a time when pride dictated that a system administrator manage a Linux server with nothing more than a text-only terminal window and a cup of coffee. Times have changed, especially since even major enterprises need to manage their Linux servers quickly and effectively. The following are four useful server management options with varying […]

How to Run Commands as Another User

In a previous post, we explained how to use “su” to execute a command as another user, but that is only one of the many ways you can accomplish this on a Linux or Unix server. The following techniques each have their own advantages and can help you run programs under different user identifications.

runuser – […]

How to Add and Drop MySQL Users

Most MySQL users manage their databases using some type of graphical user interface (GUI), whether it is a web-based tool like phpMyAdmin or a desktop tool like MySQL Administrator. For a dedicated server system administrator, however, there are times when it may actually be more convenient to use queries in the MySQL text-only command line […]

The Benefits of the Shell over Control Panel Administration

Using a web-based control panel is the ultimate convenience for dedicated server system administrators. Many of the tasks that once took multiple commands or even complex scripts to run can now be accomplished with a few clicks. Control panels also provide visual interfaces for those who have grown up in the era of graphical computing. […]

Should You Offer SSH Access?

With a Linux or Unix dedicated server, you will probably access it via SSH on a regular basis. It is an essential feature for server system administrators. For other users, however, it is usually not essential and may even be a security risk. Do your hosting customers or company employees need access? A lot of […]

Unix Server Permission Safety

Unix and Unix-like servers share a common permissions-based system for users and files.  This allows the system administrator (root) to determine which users are allowed access to specified files and what type of access they get.  Whether your server is running FreeBSD, Debian, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X or any other Unix-like […]

Using a Low End Box for Backups

Every system administrator should have a server backup of some form.  For on-premise servers, it may be an external storage device, either physically connected to the server or stored within a network-attached storage (NAS) device.  For remote servers, you can still use a local storage or lease a separate server for backups.
In some cases, your […]