Web-based server configuration with Webmin


In many cases, you need to adapt the operating system to support an application correctly. This configuration might include enabling daemons at the right run level to launch the application automatically at boot time. Again, Webmin can help you with this task. The System module includes an impressive number of options that let you set up the boot process, configure time-driven program execution on the server, and control backup functions on various media. Additionally, you can set up hard disk quotas and change user passwords.

Webmin also lets you modify the start and stop scripts to meet your requirements. Additionally, the menu gives you access to various logfiles and a list of active processes. Finally, the System module gives you an overview of the mounted filesystems, as well as a nicely sorted list of both local and network filesystems.


Webmin has the tools you'll need to convert your computer into a firewall. The hard-hitting duo of Netfilter/iptables has long been the packet filter of choice on Linux. But because of its convoluted syntax, configuring this team at the command line is something best left to experts. Selecting Networking | Linux Firewall in Webmin takes you to an easy-to-use interface with rule sets nicely organized in tables to help you create, manage, and delete rules without needing a degree in rocket science (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Configuring a firewall with Webmin.

The Networking item also takes you to the basic network settings. If you are experiencing network problems, bandwidth measurement is a useful troubleshooting tool. This service takes some time to return meaningful data, and it generates a fair amount of CPU load, especially on less powerful servers.


The Hardware item has everything you need to manage your system's mass storage media. In addition to the options for configuring RAID arrays, mirror volumes, or partitions, you will also find a Logical Volume Management option, along with a front end to help you modify the parameters of individual disks. To launch the tool, select Hardware | Partitions on Local Disks. Webmin then shows you the usage statistics for the current volume as a red bar. To create a new partition or modify the default parameters, click Edit IDE parameters. Under the hood, Webmin calls the Hdparm program. But beware: Changes to settings such as the data transfer mode can cause data loss if the hardware does not support the selected mode. Before you change any of the IDE parameters, make sure you understand the characteristics of your hard disk.

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