Webmin and Virtualmin installation on Debian

Now that we have a fresh and clean Debian installation we can proceed to Webmin and Virtualmin installation.

Althou installing Apache, MySQL and other stuff needed for a web server by hand is not hard and you can find a lot of support I prefer installing Webmin and Virtualmin to ease the administrative tasks.

If you’re planning for a new server you should start with a fresh Debian installation with only the basic stuff on it.

Fast Debian installation of Webmin:

# wget http://www.webmin.com/download/deb/webmin-current.deb
# dpkg --install webmin-current.deb

You probably will miss some dependencies and will have to install them via ‘apt-get install‘. On my fresh Debian I was missing some perl modules so I did ‘apt-get install perl’, again dependecies missing, but with a ‘apt-get install -f‘ (as instructed) I solved it.

When this process is over you can login at https://server_ip:10000. Most browsers will issue a warning because the certificate is not signed by a trusted 3rd party, but that’s fine since it’s your machine. If you login as root you will have full control of the system but pay attention to what you do from that point on.

Now a quick installation of Virtualmin:

# wget http://software.virtualmin.com/gpl/scripts/install.sh
# chmod +x install.sh
# ./install.sh

It askes for a FQDN, if you’re planning on a web hosting server you should provide your domain name (the hosting company domain) as this will be used as default when something is not found or when someone requests the IP directly via http.

Now the cool magic part comes in, as the install script does pretty much everything you should have done by hand, installing apache, mysql, php and a whole lot more (it will take a while).
A Post-Installation Wizard is now in place at https://server_ip:10000 to guide you in configuring Virtualmin. There are performance issues that can be change later on and since you will be exploring a first installation of Webmin & Virtualmin, the default values are just fine. As a side note to this, if you’re not planning  an email server you should disable clamav and SpamAssassin for saving RAM. By default MySQL will be the database and PostgreSQL will not be running. You will be prompted for a MySQL password (which should be different as the root password for obvious security reasons). You will be asked how should the passwords be stored, I higly recomend storing them as hashed. When they are stored as plaintext you can easily recover them for fast-forgeting users but this raises high security issues. You can always reset the passwords for your users.

Because we configured our VM as bridged network, we can access it not from only the host machine, but from the entire network, making it a playground for the office, or offering services such as internal web, file hosting, etc.