NethServer is an all-in-one Linux distribution based on CentOS, which is the clone of popular commercial Linux distribution Red hat Enterprise Linux. It ships with powerful, yet easy to use web interface that enables us to install plenty of pre-configured modules with a single mouse click. It is completely free, and 100% open source distribution supported by many contributors and community members all over the world. NethServer is opt for small office and medium enterprise organizations, and of course you can use it for large enterprises if you have sufficient high-end configuration system.
NethServer is a available as Community edition, which is free, and Enterprise edition. The Enterprise edition’s users will get more advantages over free version, including,
- Professional assistant and support via email, telephone, and help-desk portal,
- Full data backup on cloud,
- Automatic upgrades,
- Proprietary software runs,
- Remote monitoring,
- And many.
What can I do with NethServer?
Everything! You can setup a Web server, Mail server, File server, Private Cloud, Groupware, Firewall, VPN, FTP, DNS, DHCP, PXE, Web filter, and much more.
Here is the complete list of available modules in NethServer.
- Web server – Multi-domain support with ready to use LAMP stack.
- Mail server – Postfix, Dovecot, Amavis, multi-domain and quota support, queue management, smart host, and Roundcube webmail client.
- File server – Shared folders, Primary Domain Controller and workstation mode, Support network recycle bin and folder auditing.
- Private cloud – Powered by ownCloud.
- Groupware – Powered by SOGo. Support for Android/iOS clients, and Mozilla Thunderbird desktop client.
- Firewall – Based on Shorewall.
- VPN – Powered by OpenVPN and L2TP.
- Web filter – Squid proxy integrated with ClamAV and SquidGuard.
- Fax server
- IPS (Snort)
- Bandwidth monitor
- PXE server
- Phone Home
- WebTop 4
- OCS Inventory NG
- HA (High Availability)
- And more.
Forget about the complex step by step application installation and configuration. Everything will be done right from NethServer’s web-based dashboard in minutes with few mouse clicks. To install any module, Just click on it and follow the onscreen instructions. It will be installed and configured as per your requirements in couple minutes.
Can I install NethServer on an existing CentOS operating system?
Of course, you can. Just add the NethServer’s repositories in your CentOS, and start installing NethServer base system and the required modules (such as Web server, mail server, and more) you want to use. It is always recommended to use freshly installed CentOS minimal server to install NethServer.
To deploy NethServer, you need at least the following specification.
- 64 bit CPU (NethServer is not available for 32 bit systems);
- 1 GB RAM;
- 8 GB free disk space. It is recommended to use at least two disks with RAID 1 configuration;
- Since it is based on CentOS/RHEL, it will work on any hardware certified by Red Hat.
Install NethServer 6.8
As of writing this guide, the latest stable version was 6.8, and it is based on CentOS 6.8.
NethServer can be installed in two methods.
- Install using ISO,
- Install using YUM on an existing CentOS minimal system.
Install NethServer using ISO
Installing NethServer using ISO is opt for newbies and intermediate users. Download the latest stable version from the link given below.
Once downloaded, write the ISO to any CD/DVD
Then, start the machine using the bootable media.
You will be greeted with the following screen.
As you see in the above screenshot, there are different types of installation menus.
- NethServer interactive install – It needs the user interaction. I.E you have to select the language, configure RAID support, network, and encrypted file system etc.
- Other installation options – User interaction is not required. The installer will take care of everything, and the default parameters will applied.
- Standard CentOS installations – It allows the user to deploy the NethServer as the you do the normal CentOS installation.
- Tools – It allows users to go to system recovery, execute a memory test etc.
- Boot from local drive – Allows the users to boot the already installed OS.
I go with the first installation option i.e NethServer interactive install.
Choose the installer language:
Select the Network interface card to configure:
Enter the parameters for your Network card, such as IP Address, Netmask, Gateway, and DNS etc.
Select Install button to start the installing process. As you see in the below screenshot, the “root” user’s default password is “Nethesis,1234. You can change it later.
NethServer base system installation will start now.
Once the installation is completed, the system will automatically reboot.
At the boot prompt, enter the default username and password. The default username and password for both interactive and non-interactive installation mode is given below.
- Default username : root
- Root password : Nethesis,1234
Congratulations! NethServer base system has been successfully installed!!
If you chose non-interactive mode(unattended installation), the system will be automatically configured as shown below.
- Default User name: root
- Root password: Nethesis,1234
- Network: DHCP enabled on all interfaces
- Keyboard: en
- Time zone: Greenwich
- Language: English
- Disks: if there are two or more disks, a RAID 1 will be created on first two disks.
You can change these values in the NethServer’s dashboard later.
NethServer initial configuration
First things first
The first thing we must do after installing any operating system is to update it.
To update your NethServer, run:
Once updated, reboot your system to apply all updates.
Then, change the default password to something else strong and hard to guess.
To do so, run:
Changing password for user root. New password: Retype new password: passwd: all authentication tokens updated successfully.
We can also change the root user password from NethServer’s dashboard. We will see it in our upcoming articles.
Acesss NethServer’s Server-manager
To access the Server-manager, navigate to https://domain-name:980 or https://IP_Address:980 from your web browser.
You should see the following screen. Enter the default username and password – root/Nethesis,1234
Enter new root user password.
Change the default SSH port to any random number (Do not forget the number though):
Review the changes and click Apply to configure NethServer.
Here it is how NethServer’s dashboard looks like.
That’s it. From here, you can do all administrative tasks, such as installing, removing, configuring modules, configure and manage network services, configure NethServer etc.
Have you already tried NethServer? Share your experience in the comment section below. Thank you.