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closed as too broad by joeqwerty, EEAA, MadHatter, kce, Jenny D Nov 5 '13 at 8:05

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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I'm not sure how much help you're going to get with this, but from experience - these are excellent tutorials -> digitalocean.com/community/community_tags/centos - I'd recommend doing some research on hardening centos too. –  sgtbeano Nov 4 '13 at 15:25
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You should probably start working on it and then come back when you have specific questions (there are lots of good tutorials out there). Your question as it stands right now is basically "give me a quick rundown of system administration". –  phoebus Nov 4 '13 at 15:31
    
Thanks @sgtbeano that's very helpful. –  A4J Nov 4 '13 at 15:48
    
@phoebus - Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately part of the problem is ascertaining which tutorials are good/current. Do you have links to any that you recommend? –  A4J Nov 4 '13 at 15:51
    
Well it looks like the link @sgtbeano posted has a guide or how to for everything I asked - even postfix! Do you want to post it (the links to each guide) as an answer @sgtbeano? I can mark it as the accepted answer then, because it is pretty much exactly what I was after. –  A4J Nov 4 '13 at 16:19

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Start here;

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/articles/initial-server-setup-with-centos-6

Install/update latest versions of MySQL & Postgres (are they 'safe' out of the box? Or do I need to do anything else like set up root passwords etc?)

Install Apache & PHP (again, are the base installs good to go or do they require security tweaks?)

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/articles/how-to-install-linux-apache-mysql-php-lamp-stack-on-centos-6

Set up nameservers/hostnames/reverse DNS etc (Any guides on how to do this please?)

Install Rubygems Install and configure Dovecot and Postfix (any tips on doing this? Or links to how-tos that cover it please?)

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/articles/how-to-install-ruby-on-rails-on-centos-6

Set up each website - any links to guides on how to do this?

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/articles/how-to-set-up-apache-virtual-hosts-on-centos-6

Install/configure firewall (or is the default install good to go?)

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/articles/how-to-install-denyhosts-on-centos-6 https://www.digitalocean.com/community/articles/how-to-setup-a-basic-ip-tables-configuration-on-centos-6 https://www.digitalocean.com/community/articles/how-to-protect-ssh-with-fail2ban-on-centos-6

Any other tips or advice would be greatly appreciated, as would links to guides or how-tos.

Get registered on some good linux forums and search around for 'hardening' your partifular distro and deployed applications.

Feel like a bit of a phoney posting this as all credit must go to the excellent Digital Ocean

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Thanks! I will be ordering a new server today and putting these into practise. Only thing I would suggest re your answer, is to skip the order I requested the info and edit your answer so that it is in the order as recommended by Digital Ocean (ie start with initial set-up first, then lamp or iptables, then the rest) –  A4J Nov 4 '13 at 16:56

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