Like its many uses, Linux has a variety of printed and electronic guides to show you what to do. The specialist guides are highly detailed focusing on narrow areas of excellence. The encyclopedic guides for beginners focus on Linux fundamentals and then only introduce you to more specialized topics. Unfortunately, there are few practical texts in between that help you to transition from being a beginner to having the confidence of an expert.

As the line between power users and administrators continues to blur, as computers move from the data center to the desktop, as Linux and Windows gain equal footing in business, it becomes harder to remember and do it all. This book covers all the server management essentials that will give you enough time to eat lunch.

Chapter 1 – Why Host Your Own Site?

A discussion on the pros and cons of hosting your own Web site. Also includes a discussion on how to simply migrate a Web site from a third party provider to your office or home.

Chapter 2 – Introduction to Networking

Covers the basic concepts needed to make the advanced user comfortable with many frequently encountered networking scenarios. Describes thirty of the most commonly used terms with simple one paragraph discussions.

Chapter 3 – Linux Networking

A practical guide to configuring a network interface and simple Internet routing using Linux.

Chapter 4 – Simple Network Troubleshooting

Very detailed yet simply explained coverage of the various methods you can use to identify network trouble spots.

Chapter 5 – Troubleshooting Linux with Syslog

Explanations on how to view and use Linux system error messages as part of the troubleshooting process.

Chapter 6 – Installing Linux Software

All you need to know on installing Linux software using popularly available RPM installation files.

Chapter 7 – The Linux Boot Process

Explanations of how Linux starts up after turning on the power switch. Coverage of how to activate/deactivate the startup of various important system programs when the system boots up. Also covers details on how to choose between using the graphical and regular text interfaces on the Linux VGA console.

Chapter 8 – Configuring the DHCP Server

Essential topics on how to configure a DHCP server so that PCs are automatically assigned their internet addresses when they boot up. Targets usage in the simple networks found in small offices and schools.

Chapter 9 – Linux Users and sudo

The basics on how to create Linux user accounts. Not all the features, just enough so that a user will be comfortable in creating one if software installation requires it. Also provides explanations, with examples, of how to grant regular trusted users with temporary system administrator privileges and track what they do. This makes it easier to determine precisely who did what on a system which can be virtually impossible to determine if everyone shares the administrator password.

Chapter 10 – Windows, Linux and Samba

How to make your Linux server act transparently as a Windows file server using the Samba package. Uses a sample network of a few PCs which is the typical scenario in schools, corporate departments and homes.

Chapter 11 – Sharing Resources with Samba

Explains how to share a Linux attached printer or CDROM drive with other Windows users.

Chapter 12 – Samba Security and Troubleshooting

Simple Samba problem resolution outlined in a logical step by step fashion.

Chapter 13 – Linux Wireless Networking

Coverage of how to install, configure and test a wireless network that includes Linux servers.

Chapter 14 – Linux Firewalls Using iptables

Security is an essential part of Web life. This chapter gives an explanation of the most popular Linux based firewall software with a step-by-step examples of a script/program you can write to protect your network.

Chapter 15 – Linux FTP Server Setup

Shows how to set up a Linux server to allow uploading and downloading of files from the Internet using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) package. FTP can be tricky to configure with firewalls and a sample iptables script is provided. There is also a tutorial on how to set up an FTP server to allow people to download only, not upload files for the sake of security.

Chapter 16 – Telnet, TFTP and xinetd

Coverage of how to log into a Linux server from a remote PC using the commonly available Telnet program. Also offers an example of how to save the configuration files of various Cisco networking devices to a Linux server using TFTP. Both the Telnet and TFTP packages are governed by the xinetd program which is also explained.

Chapter 17 – Secure Remote Logins and File Copying

Telnet is very insecure as the data passing between the client and server is unencrypted. This chapter covers how to setup a secure shell (SSH) server for encrypted communications as an alternative to Telnet. Also covers how to configure SSH to allow you to both log in to a remote Linux server without a password and to execute commands on a remote Linux server on demand.

Chapter 18 – Configuring DNS

How to configure the Domain Name Services (DNS) on a Linux server that will enable you to map an Internet address to a Web site name. Explains the different types of DNS servers and discusses simple methods of how to make them serve your departmental network.

Chapter 19 – Dynamic DNS

In many cases you might want to host a Web site on a DSL line. Regular DNS relies on an Internet network whose Internet address doesn’t change. Many home and office networks get their Internet addresses dynamically assigned. This chapter covers how to track this constant change so that your Web site’s name (URL) always points to your new Internet address.

Chapter 20 – The Apache Web Server

Once DNS is configured you need to set up a server to handle your Web site’s pages. The Apache Web server package is the most commonly used Linux software used for this task, but the configuration file can be difficult to understand. This chapter explains how to create a Web site simply by tacking on easy-to-understand customizations to the end of the configuration file. Full examples provided.

Chapter 21 – Configuring Linux Mail Servers

Covers how to configure the sendmail mail server to manage mail for your Web site. sendmail can be difficult to configure, but it can be easily simplified using macros that are provided with it, which is all explained in this chapter. Methods on how to combat SPAM, one of the Internet’s greatest nuisances, are also explained as are the steps needed to retrieve your mail from your sendmail server.

Chapter 22 – Monitoring Server Performance

Very detailed coverage on how to monitor your server 39;s performance, and even get Web-based Internet traffic graphs, using the SNMP, MRTG, Webalizer, TOP, VMSTAT and FREE utilities.

Chapter 23 – Advanced MRTG For Linux

Expanded coverage of MRTG, which explains how to get graphs of CPU, memory and disk usage statistics with examples.

Chapter 24 – The NTP Server

Explanations on how to synchronize the time on your Linux server with well-known time servers on the Internet, as well as how to make your Linux server the primary time source for your network.

Chapter 25 – Network-Based Linux Installation

How to install Linux quickly over a network without the need for CDs. Also covers how to automate installation for large-scale deployments with examples.

Chapter 26 – Linux Software RAID

Coverage of how to configure Linux software to create redundant arrays of identical disk drives (RAID) to provide fail-safe data storage.

Chapter 27 – Expanding Disk Capacity

Sometimes you run out of space on a Linux partition and need to expand it onto another hard disk. This chapter explains how to do it.

Chapter 28 – Managing Disk Usage with Quotas

Examples of how to limit the amount of disk space individual Linux users can use on a filesystem.

Chapter 29 – Remote Disk Access with NFS

A practical guide on how to use the network file system (NFS) to share files between Linux systems.

Chapter 30 – Configuring NIS

A description of how to use name information services (NIS) to create a centralized username/password database for all your Linux servers.

Chapter 31 – Centralized Logins Using LDAP and RADIUS

NIS has its limitations because it is geared toward Linux logins and does unencrypted authentication. The lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) can also be used to store username/password data in a rapid access database format over an encrypted network connection. When used in conjunction with RADIUS, it can be used to authenticate users logging into a variety of devices, such as networking equipment, that don’t run Linux. This chapter explains how.

Chapter 32 – Controlling Web Access with Squid

This chapter focuses on how to use Squid to limit the amount of time users can spend browsing the Internet using the Squid Linux package. Also covers how to provide password only access to the Internet.

Chapter 33 – Modifying the Kernel to Improve Performance

A brief explanation with examples on how to configure the Linux kernel to improve system performance.

Chapter 34 – Basic MySQL Configuration

Many add-on Linux applications require interaction with a database of some sort; one of the most popular is MySQL. This chapter discusses basic MySQL configuration for the purposes of supporting the installation of third-party Linux applications such as accounting packages and message boards.

Chapter 35 – Configuring Linux VPNs

Details of how to create a permanent site-to-site VPN between two offices.