It’s been said a million times over — Linux is awesome on servers! With over 60 per
cent of the Web’s servers gunning away on the mighty penguin, the robust, resilient,
scalable and stable Linux plays a major role in keeping the Internet running like a
well-oiled machine. In this article, I will describe how to set up a LAMP (Linux,
Apache, MySQL and PHP) server from scratch, remotely. The only step requiring
physical access is installing Ubuntu Server. The rest can be done the geeky way, via
SSH! Read on if getting your hands dirty gives you a kick!
Let us first install Ubuntu Server, and then, from another system, connect using the
PuTTY SSH client to install FTP support and phpMyAdmin, and get a phpBB
website up and running.
Setting up Ubuntu Server
Download the ISO from the Ubuntu website. Burn a CD, or prepare a USB boot disk,
as per your preference. Boot the server machine from it. The boot menu is shown in
Figure 1. Select Install to the Hard Disk. The installer will boot and ask you to select
your language. Select English and continue.
Figure 1: Ubuntu Server boot menu
I will fly through the next few screens, since they’re all what you usually see during
any standard OS installation. For the keyboard layout, the default US layout works
for us. The installer will then load components and configure hardware. It will also try
to configure the network interface using DHCP. If that fails, you will be asked to
manually enter network information like Host IP, Gateway, Subnet Mask, etc. It will
also prompt you to enter the hostname; use a name you would like the server to be
known by on the network. For this article, I have used ‘mylamp’ with IP address
Next comes partitioning. I used the Erase Entire Disk option; if you have any specific
partitioning requirements, feel free to use Manual partitioning. After this stage, under
Clock Configuration, you will be asked about your system time setting. The new user
(non-root) creation screen is next; enter your full name, user name (I used
‘lampuser’) and password.
The installer will now show you a software selection screen; select LAMP Server
and OpenSSH Server.
Wait as the progress bars fill up — first for the base system, then for the package
installation, and then for the GRUB bootloader. Once all these are done, it will tell
you that it is time to reboot and take your new server for a ride!
Figure 2: Reboot prompt
Server installation is now complete. Remove the disc and return to your desktop. Let
us now remotely configure the server for a LAMP website.
Preparing for deployment
Whether your desktop runs Windows or Linux, you can use the PuTTY SSH
client. Download it, fire it up, and enter the connection details for your server (Figure
Figure 3: PuTTY connection screen
Click Open to connect to the server. This will bring up a terminal prompt that asks
you to enter the username. It may throw up an error similar to the one in Figure 4.
Just click on Yes. Once the password is accepted, you will be greeted with a shell
prompt. The first thing to do is set up a FTP server so we can upload files to the
server. Next, let us install phpMyAdmin to manipulate MySQL databases.
Figure 4: Server host key alert
FTP service
FTP support is by the vsftp daemon; installation is straightforward: sudo apt-get
install vsftpd. After installation, tweak the configuration file to point the default
path to /var/www (the Apache ‘Webroot’ for hosted content/sites).
Edit /etc/vsftpd.conf as the root user, with a text editor and Make sure the
settings match those shown below:
Restart the FTP service to bring the configuration changes into effect: sudo restart
Installing phpMyAdmin
phpMyAdmin is a great tool for administering MySQL databases. Install it using the
following command: sudo apt-get install phpmyadmin.
We can now exit the PuTTY session, using the exit command.
Deploying a LAMP website
For the purpose of this article, let us deploy a standard version of phpBB — the most
famous AMP-powered bulletin board system and forum content management
system (CMS). I will not go into the installation details, since the aim here is to learn
how to generally deploy a LAMP website remotely — however, you can refer to
this article for installation instructions. Download the archive from the phpBB home
page and extract its contents.
Now, using an FTP client, connect to the server with the username and the
password used in the PuTTY session. Create a folder called phpBB on the server,
and copy the extracted files and folders to the root of that directory. Open a browser
and navigate tohttp:// (replace the IP address with
yours) to bring up the phpMyAdmin page (Figure 5).
Figure 5: phpMyAdmin status page
Create a new database named phpbb — go to the Database tab and use the Create
New Database section at the bottom. You can now proceed to a site-specific
installation by navigating to Follow the instructions on
the page.
We have now successfully set up our server, and learnt how to remotely control it! I
hope you had fun learning, during this process. Until next time, cheers!
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