The Basic Software (Step 4)

The Debian GNU/Linux distribution includes a lot of extra software with it, but there were still a few key things I needed to get everything working the way I wanted. First of all, I wanted the domain names I'd purchased to point to my new server when people typed them into a web browser (if you are looking for a decent and cheap registrar, I'd recommend www.gandi.net). If you know nothing about DNS, the next bit is going to confuse you. My registrar provides DNS hosting, but I decided to put a DNS on my own server for experience purposes. I used a program called BIND, and followed this HOW-TO on the www.linuxdoc.org site to get it all set up.

The next step was the web server software itself. I chose Apache, as it is pretty much an industry standard and has thorough documentation available (again, all for free-- yes, I really like the free thing). Apache was really easy to set up by just following the instructions they gave me. Once I had it installed, it took me only a few minutes to get it configured and view the default web page that came pre-installed.

Lastly, I wanted a way to get files from other computers over to my server, since I wasn't intending to do all my web site development on the server itself (I'm typing this on my iBook right now in fact). I decided on ssh, which is a secure/encrypted protocol. That makes it harder for people to break into my server when I'm transfering files and I can also use ssh as a regular terminal, which means I can control the entire server remotely and securely. Even better, there are plenty of free ssh clients available on all kinds of platforms.

Software Resources:

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