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I'm a complete linux/networking beginner. What equipment/software will be needed to do this? Basically I want to set up a server computer and be able to connect to it locally with my desktop, and learn the ropes of setting up a webserver without the potential unwanted outside access. Basically I want to learn how to manage these cheaper unmanaged VPS packages I see offered from webhosting companies, but locally first.

The equipment I have currently: My computer, an extra server computer, popular linux distros, linux books, linksys 4 port router, netgear 4 port hub, cat5 cables, and a patch cord. Also have an old Westell 327W wireless router, but I don't think it functions without a bellsouth/at&t DSL connection.

Would like to simulate VPS or real-world servers as much as possible for best possible learning experience. Thanks!

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closed as off topic by Shane Madden, cjc, Lucas Kauffman, jscott, Wesley Mar 11 '12 at 0:01

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Do you actually need to buid physical infrastructure? If not, just install the virtualization environment of your choice and start there. – jscott Mar 10 '12 at 23:45
I want to be able to connect to the box via the network. Didn't seem like it would be hard, but I don't know how much configuration this would take. – 128KB Mar 11 '12 at 3:07

Well, you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble and just use a virtualization environment like VMware workstation.

Just setup a few virtual machines on that first, interconnect them with virtual switches, setup openVPN, mailserver,webserver and most important of all secure them. Once you have done that try a more challenging virtualization environment on your server. Use ESXi, KVM or Xen(center) instead of workstation.

It's a lot of trial and error but you will get the hang of it. Some good places to start for comprehending linux is with the LPI courses. For basic networking I would look at CCNA. But the latter one might be a bit overkill for just managing a VPS.

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Thanks I will look into your suggestions. Mainly the reason I wanted to throw networking into the mix was because I wanted to kill 2 birds with 1 stone: Learning how to setup the box like a real webserver, but also allowing for connections via the network, for storage, multimedia, etc. – 128KB Mar 11 '12 at 3:03
Just to clarify: are physical switches needed within the LAN to accomplish this? – 128KB Mar 11 '12 at 3:09
Well 1/4th in CCNA is about switching, however you can directly connect 2 devcices with a cross over cable. But I'd just get a switch, you'll need it anyway. – Lucas Kauffman Mar 11 '12 at 8:58
Thanks Lucas. For now I've taken your advice and just went with the VM, but focusing more on setting up the LAMP like the VPS than the networking aspect. – 128KB Mar 12 '12 at 0:14

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