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How To Make A Dedicated File Server Or Web Server
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Thread: How To Make A Dedicated File Server Or Web Server

  1. #1
    Advisor beezlebubsbum's Avatar
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    Talking How To Make A Dedicated File Server Or Web Server

    How To Make A Dedicated File Server Or Web Server

    Have an old computer just lying around in your garage doing nothing? Well, I do, and I have decided to share my experiences with you.

    The best way to give life to your old computer is to turn it into a dedicated fileserver or web server. I have done it, but I will leave instructions on how you can do it too!

    Step One: Survey Old Computer
    First of all, survey the specs of the old computer. How much ram does it have, what's the processor and speed, and how big is the hard drive? In older systems, these are the main things that will determine its usefulness. For this article, I have used two different machines with these specs:

    Machine One: (Vintage)
    - Intel Pentium 75mhz
    - 48mb EDO Ram
    - 2x4.1gb Hard Drives
    - 16x CDROM
    - 10/100mbps Network Card

    Machine Two: (Not So Bad)
    - IBM Cyrix MIII 333mhz
    - 128mb SDRAM
    - 40gb Harc Drive
    - 52x CDROM
    - 10/100mbps Network Card

    Now, looking at these specs, you may be mistaken by thinking that they are nothing but giant paper weights. Well, they aren't. I'll show you how to turn them into servers!

    Step Two: Get The Software
    For my tutorial, I have decided to use a brand spanking new copy of Fedora Core 3. Yes, I am going to run Fedora Core 3 on these systems. You can download the whole set of Fedora Core cds from fedora.redhat.com
    The requirements indicate that these systems can't run it, but don't worry, they will, if they are not running an X server.

    Step Three: Install
    Once you have the cds all burned, just insert them into the computer at bootup. If you can't boot cds, then you need to use fedora core 1, which allows you to make boot floppies. Since we want these computers to do nothing but serve files and pages, we will not install an X server or window manager. If that worries you newbs out there, don't worry, I'll show you an easy way to configure the servers later in the article. Be mindful or what I.P address you assign to the server, make sure there are no conflicts with other I.P addresses on the network. Here is what I chose for my I.P Addresses.

    Server: 192.168.1.1
    Client Machine: 192.168.1.2, and so on...

    When you install, make sure that you only install the bare essentials. I recommend that you install emacs, all of the server sections, and the redhat configs. Oh, and for systems that have tiny amounts of ram, such as the ones I used, make sure you have a heap of swap space. Once everything is done, it's off to restart them computer. Oh, and don't forget to make a floppy bootdisk!!!!

    Step Four: Post Configuration
    If you are running a very slow machine (such as a pentium 1), you'll notice that it may take a while for Fedora to boot. My oldest system just spat out random numbers when it tried to boot grub, so I was forced to use a bootdisk everytime I needed to boot the computer, NOT FUN! Anyway, there is an easy way to make Fedora boot faster. Once the computer has booted and you are left with the user login, login as root. Now, in order to get Fedora to run faster, we need to cut down on all of the services that Fedora starts up with by default. Go to your client machine. Open up a console, and ssh into the server by typing in the following:

    su
    ssh -X 192.168.1.1

    It will then give you a warning about key verification. Just say yes and it will ask you for the root password for the server. Just type it in and proceed. Now, the ssh command that we typed in allows us to run X on the client machine without bringing the server down to its knees. We need to get rid of some of the services at bootup, so on the client machine, type:

    redhat-config-services

    After a while, you'll see that the redhat-config-services program loads up. Just eliminate all of the services that you don't really need (kudzu, pcmcia, etc). Save the changes and quit the program. Next, we need to configure NFS, Samba, and Apache. It's really simple with Fedora. While you are still logged on to the server with ssh, you can configure these by the following commands:

    redhat-config-samba
    redhat-config-nfs
    redhat-config-httpd

    These will allow you to configure the appropriate services on the server via gui. Once these are set to your likings (I set samba and nfs to share the same folder), you can exit the ssh.

    Step Five: Testing
    OK, everything is done, all we need to do now is test it. If you want to share files with the server via linux, then using NFS is the best option. However, you'll have to tell your linux where everything is. To do that, you need to update your /etc/fstab. It's easy, just open up a console and login as root. THen type :

    emacs /etc/fstab

    It will then open up your fstab. Now we need to write down our configuration. Go to the bottom of the file and make a new line. This is what I added to my fstab, if you are using the settings in this tutorial, then it will work for you, but you may add your own settings.

    192.168.1.1:/share /share/ nfs wsize=8192,rsize=8192,timeo=14,intr

    This is telling the client that there is a share file on the server with the i.p address of 192.168.1.1 and the folder that is to be shared in called share. It also tells the client where to mount the share, and what type of filesystem it is. You will now need to mount the share. You can do so by typing:

    mount 192.168.1.1:/share /share/

    It will pause for a moment and then mount the share. You can now browse to where you mounted it and write and read to it at your hearts content.

    Now if you want to share files with the server with Windows, then you'll need to use the Samba protocol. Make sure you know what workgroup your samba is using, mine was "mygroup". You can change it if you like. Now, boot windows and then add a workgroup called "mygroup", or whatever your samba was called. It will then allow you to share with the server. You may need to reboot windows to get it working.

    Step Six: Conclusion
    Well, the old piece of junk is now doing something useful. You'll find that even an old pentium 75mhz can send files around at 5mbps, which isn't that bad unless you have a lot of clients. I found that the Cyrix machine that I used was a much better server simply because it really shot files through the network. I know I haven't touched on security matters like encryption and passwords, but if it is a private network, then you hardly need it, and I don't know crap about it. Perhaps you can add some comments about this, and give your own suggestions.

    Not only does this tutorial tell you how to recycle old computers. but it also shows you the usefullness of the wonderful operating system called Linux
    My Website: http://ttgale.com
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    My Server Specs: AMD Athlon X2 3800+, 2gb DDR2 RAM, 1.5TB HDD, Ubuntu 9.10
    My Gaming PC: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.93ghz, 4gb DDR2 RAM, 9800GTX+

  2. #2
    Advisor beezlebubsbum's Avatar
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    oh, just a note, you may find this on the net on other sites by tylergale, that's me, so i didnt steal this.
    My Website: http://ttgale.com
    My Website Uptime: http://img.uptimeprj.com/holastickbo...dee9bae2e2.png
    My Server Specs: AMD Athlon X2 3800+, 2gb DDR2 RAM, 1.5TB HDD, Ubuntu 9.10
    My Gaming PC: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.93ghz, 4gb DDR2 RAM, 9800GTX+

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the write up ....

    Just a suggestion though; For a small network, instead of using two protocols, NFS and Samba, you might like to stick to only one.
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  4. #4
    Advisor beezlebubsbum's Avatar
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    Smile Good Idea

    This article that I wrote is very old and I had little knowledge about Linux and especially Networking. Since then, I have learned a bit and I really should update this article. Thanks for the suggestion compunuts, should I just stick to SAMBA? Is there a way that NFS can work on windows machines (I loved the way that NFS worked in the network, just felt like a local harddrive)?
    My Website: http://ttgale.com
    My Website Uptime: http://img.uptimeprj.com/holastickbo...dee9bae2e2.png
    My Server Specs: AMD Athlon X2 3800+, 2gb DDR2 RAM, 1.5TB HDD, Ubuntu 9.10
    My Gaming PC: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.93ghz, 4gb DDR2 RAM, 9800GTX+

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by beezlebubsbum
    should I just stick to SAMBA?
    Well, I was just saying if you have a small network, why bother with two protocol? Instead, just use one and you are good, right? One less un-necessary service, one less headache plus one less potential security hole.

    Other considerations need to put forth when choosing protocol. For example, NFS use plain text password while samba supports encrypted passwords. If you need NFS like functionality, you can either go CIFS route or use something like Sharity.

    Also, how fast you want your clients to be and how large files you usually transfer. Keep in mind, NFS is extremely FAST protocol. If you transfer 2 GB of files regularly (such as in database files), then using SAMBA will bog down your network like no other.

    Is there a way that NFS can work on windows machines (I loved the way that NFS worked in the network, just felt like a local harddrive)?
    Yes, Microsoft have natively supported service called "Windows Services for UNIX" currently it's in version 3 (I think). You can use that to have Windows NFS client. MS even have support page for how to do this but their original intent was so that you can move files off of Unix server to Windows server (mainly NT) since NFS is a very FAST protocol. Even file transfer protocols such as FTP is not as fast as NFS.
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  6. #6
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    Another thought, you should make that a PET and put that in our PET Wiki.
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    No IT BS !!

  7. #7
    Thanks for the tips mate I've got an old machine and I was thinking of throwing it away ,but now I'm gonna toy around with it a bit

  8. #8
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    Linux File/Web Server for WIN98se/XP/Mac Laptop?

    Good work Beez, I was looking for howto when I found this.
    Can u make a file and web server in one? Do u have to run samba and apache in the one distro (Slackware12)? Can samba and apache coexist? lol
    I have SY6BA+IV,PC100, PIII600e, dualboot win98/slack12
    on 2ata hdds, 160g ea. gigabyte etho card, 56modem, 2wire gateway that includes wireless access. I have winxp box and mac laptop.
    Want to backup, store and access mdia/web page files on linux. Share printer, scanner, no internet access for XP, limited internet services to laptop, win98 internet access for different browsers?
    What File Type do I have to use? Do I have to use DHCP?
    Do I need another router in addition to mySBC 2Wire Gateway. Thanks
    DualBoot Slackware12/Win98se SY6BA+IV, HPT366, PC100, PIII600e, ATI AGP2X, 56K modem, Gigabyte Ethernet PCI, 2Wire Gateway

  9. #9
    This tutorial is great!....

  10. #10
    Now you just need to make a follow-up with the AFP protocol added in as well.

    Not really, but you really don't see too many write-ups offering it.
    arrogance breeds ignorance

    Screaming Electron, Full of BSD Goodness

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