It could be said that ISPConfig is the most complete open source server management control panel that exists. Developed by Till Brehm of projektfarm in 2005, it has withstood the test of time and has become the de facto favorite among serious self-employed and hosting agencies.
ISPConfig not only offers a full-featured control panel for managing multiple servers, but also includes support for a customer billing system, available as a payment module. That means you can use your server to run your own reseller hosting business at very low cost. The other two payment modules are the Migration Toolkit to move your ISPConfig and the Malware Scanner module from ISPProtect.
Hosting control panels such as ISPConfig are designed to facilitate the administration of a server by abstracting the intricate technical elements behind the automation of intermediaries. That said, some people may be rejected from ISPConfig because it has an air of complexity, which is true.
ISPConfig gives you extremely precise control over your server from the interface of your web-based control panel. Through this central interface, you can manage everything from web server environments to web sites, email accounts, databases, FTP users, imprisoned SSH users, cron jobs, DNS zone settings and more. The control panel supports four integrated user functions: administrator, reseller, customer and email user.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to install and configure the latest ISPConfig 3.1 on Ubuntu 18.04.
- A VPS or dedicated server with Ubuntu 18.04 newly installed. The recommended operating system is Debian, but Ubuntu appears in second place since it is based on Debian, only with the most recent versions of packages. 1GB + of RAM is better.
Step 1: Add a sudo user
We're going to use the root user to install ISPConfig, but you'll want to create a non-root user for later, in case you ever need SSH on the server for some reason. Log in to your server as root and add a new user (replace "myuser" with your own username):
Next, add "myuser" to the sudo group:
usermod -aG sudo myuser
Step 2: Use the installation script
One of the advantages of ISPConfig is that you have complete control over the server configuration process, and fortunately the developers provide detailed tutorials on how to prepare a new server for ISPConfig.
We're going to skip all that and use the automated installation script instead. Note that the script is not guaranteed to work on all operating system images, although the distribution (for example, 18.04) may be correct. If you have problems with the installer, refer to the tutorials of HowToForge Perfect Server to install ISPConfig step by step. Be careful, it is quite difficult, but it is worth it if you want to understand what is happening under the hood.
Copy and paste this in your terminal:
cd / tmp; wget -no-check-certificate -O installer.tgz "https://github.com/servisys/ispconfig_setup/tarball/master"; tar zxvf installer.tgz; cd * ispconfig *; bash install.sh
Now complete the installation of the standard mode following the instructions in the console.
Problem solving: If the installation script is frozen in this line:
"Updating the apt package database and updating the packages currently installed …"
… Then you must reinstall the server and run apt-get update and apt-get upgrade manually like this:
apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
Once this is done, you can try running the installation script again.
Step 3: Check the configuration of your server
When ISPConfig is installed, you can log in to your control panel by entering https: // Your_IP_Address: 8080 in your browser. The administration area is protected with a self-signed SSL certificate, so you can safely add an exception when the security warning appears.
Go to the System tab, click CP usersand then change the administrator password.
From the System tab, you can manage:
- System services
- General server configuration
- Network server and firewall
- Application packages and repositories
Feel free to take a look at System > Server configuration and explore all the different configuration options. As there are so many options, it can be difficult to know what to configure here. Try to follow what you know (and need) and leave the advanced configuration settings as the default.
Step 4: Add a new website
the Sites tab allows you to manage:
- FTP and Shell users
- Chron works
To add a new website, go to Websites > Website and complete the form after clicking on "Add new website".
The ISPConfig forms are designed so that you can assign websites, databases and users to different customer accounts. This allows you to limit the space on the hard drive and the bandwidth of traffic per client. Of course, if you are only running ISPConfig, then ignore the "Client" field and leave most other fields as default (for example, unlimited).
At a minimum, you must enter these fields: server IP, domain and PHP type (PHP-FPM is recommended for HTTP / 2 support).
Next, make sure you have configured your DNS host records for your domain with the IP of the server that you configured for your website in ISPConfig. Then, you can test your website by typing its URL in a browser. You will see the default Apache2 index page:
Excellent. Now, to install something that is really worth running (like WordPress or another PHP application), you must create a new database of users and a database, and then configure an FTP user so that you can upload the files to your website. All this can be done easily under the Sites tab too.
Step 5: Set up the email
What good is a website without email? To configure the mailboxes for your domain, go to E-mail tab and add a new email domain. Remember to configure the sensitivity of your spam filter.
Once you have added your domain, go to Email mailbox and create a new mailbox, for example firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then, you can access your mailbox with Roundcube by browsing to http://yourdomain.com/webmail and logging in.
Step 6: Go further
ISPConfig is extremely powerful and includes much more than we could reasonably cover in this brief tutorial. Do not be afraid to explore your abilities. Once you have an idea of the basic functions of the control panel, consider purchasing the ISPConfig User Manual. For free software as amazing as this, it's the least you can do to admit it (while supporting yourself at the same time).