CentOS 5.1 Server Setup I

This tutorial shows how to set up a CentOS 5.1 based server that offers all services needed by ISPs and web hosters: Apache web server (SSL-capable), Postfix mail server with SMTP-AUTH and TLS, BIND DNS server, Proftpd FTP server, MySQL server, Dovecot POP3/IMAP, Quota, Firewall, etc. This tutorial is written for the 32-bit version of CentOS 5.1, but should apply to the 64-bit version with very little modifications as well.

I will use the following software:

  • Web Server: Apache 2.2 with PHP 5.1.6
  • Database Server: MySQL 5.0
  • Mail Server: Postfix
  • DNS Server: BIND9 (chrooted)
  • FTP Server: Proftpd
  • POP3/IMAP server: Dovecot
  • Webalizer for web site statistics

In the end you should have a system that works reliably, and if you like you can install the free webhosting control panel ISPConfig (i.e., ISPConfig runs on it out of the box).

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

1 Requirements

To install such a system you will need the following:

2 Preliminary Note

In this tutorial I use the hostname server1.example.com with the IP address 192.168.0.100 and the gateway 192.168.0.1. These settings might differ for you, so you have to replace them where appropriate.

3 Install The Base System

Boot from your first CentOS 5.1 CD (CD 1) or the CentOS 5.1 DVD. Press <ENTER> at the boot prompt:

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It can take a long time to test the installation media so we skip this test here:

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The welcome screen of the CentOS installer appears. Click on Next:

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Choose your language next:

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Select your keyboard layout:

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I’m installing CentOS 5.1 on a fresh system, so I answer Yes to the question Would you like to initialize this drive, erasing ALL DATA?

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Now we must select a partitioning scheme for our installation. For simplicity’s sake I select Remove linux partitions on selected drives and create default layout. This will result in a small /boot and a large / partition as well as a swap partition. Of course, you’re free to partition your hard drive however you like it. Then I hit Next:

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Answer the following question (Are you sure you want to do this?) with Yes:

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On to the network settings. The default setting here is to configure the network interfaces with DHCP, but we are installing a server, so static IP addresses are not a bad idea… Click on the Edit button at the top right.

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In the window that pops up uncheck Use dynamic IP configuration (DHCP) and Enable IPv6 support and give your network card a static IP address (in this tutorial I’m using the IP address 192.168.0.100 for demonstration purposes) and a suitable netmask (e.g. 255.255.255.0; if you are not sure about the right values, http://www.subnetmask.info might help you):

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Set the hostname manually, e.g. server1.example.com, and enter a gateway (e.g. 192.168.0.1) and up to two DNS servers (e.g. 145.253.2.75 and 193.174.32.18):

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Choose your time zone:

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Give root a password:

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