Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want to start learning how to manage and maintain a VPS (unmanaged).

I have WAMP server and all that installed (if it helps). My OS on my laptop is Windows XP.

I am about to order a Linux system VPS from a provider.

My Q is: Can this be installed or simulated somehow on my laptop so that I can learn it and how to manage it BEFORE I go out and order a package?

If the answer is Yes, then some articles would help.

Btw, the website I am about to launch requires PHP, MySql, Java etc, Would be great if I could learn how to install this on a "virtual" VPS on my laptop.


share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, you can make your own virtual server and it can run from a laptop.

It might not be very fast. I wouldn't recommend an Atom CPU based laptop. Something with dual core like an Asus N would be fine though. Try to have at least 2Gb of RAM on your laptop, so you can give the virtual system 1Gb or so.

First, install SUN VirtualBox (Free at to create the virtual machine. When setting this up there is a Networking option. You can choose from NAT (it can get out but others cant get in), Bridged (asks for a new IP address from your network's DHCP server and is fully on the network for 2-way traffic), or internal network (no internet traffic, internal only -- useful if you have several virtual boxes). The Bridged setting is still fairly safe if your laptop is attached to one of those home networking boxes. You may encounter some issues using wired vs wireless on your laptop. Wired works better.

On the virtual machine, install a Linux of the same flavor as the ISP will use and you will have a virtual linux computer you can play with from under windows.

This won't match exactly, but can get you started.

If you can't find the ISPs linux -- if you want something easy to install, try installing Ubuntu on the virtual box. If you install Ubuntu server edition it has most everything you want already.

share|improve this answer
Okay, thanks. Do you recommend any specific OS I should go with? My ISP provides these: Gentoo, Debian 5.0, Ubuntu 8.04LTS, Ubuntu 9.10, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Fedora, Cent OS... All of these can be chosen with 64bit also if I would like to. My website is a classifieds website with PHP, MySQL, js, Solr (java SE), and nothing more fancy than that. – pesar2 Feb 12 '10 at 8:45
I've used Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS and Gentoo. Of all of these I like Ubuntu the best. They will all do webserving with PHP, MYSQL, etc... I find Ubuntu is easy to keep updated. – Paul Feb 12 '10 at 9:27

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.