1369
votes
28answers
321k views

Our security auditor is an idiot. How do I give him the information he wants?

A security auditor for our servers has demanded the following within two weeks: A list of current usernames and plain-text passwords for all user accounts on all servers A list of all password ...
671
votes
3answers
583k views

What is a Pem file and how does it differ from other OpenSSL Generated Key File Formats?

I am responsible for maintaining two Debian servers. Every time I have to do anything with security certificates, I Google for tutorials and beat away until it finally works. However, in my searches ...
445
votes
34answers
214k views

How can I sort du -h output by size

I need to get a list of human readable du output. However, du does not have a "sort by size" option, and piping to sort doesn't work with the human readable flag. For example, running: du | sort -...
422
votes
13answers
84k views

How do I deal with a compromised server?

This is a Canonical Question about Server Security - Responding to Breach Events (Hacking) See Also: Tips for Securing a LAMP Server Reinstall after a Root Compromise? Canonical ...
409
votes
12answers
508k views

How to determine if a bash variable is empty?

What is the best way to determine if a variable in bash is empty ("")? I have heard that it is recommended that I do if [ "x$variable" = "x" ] Is that the correct way? (there must be something more ...
403
votes
7answers
65k views

Something is burning in the server room; how can I quickly identify what it is?

The other day, we notice a terrible burning smell coming out of the server room. Long story short, it ended up being one of the battery modules that was burning up in the UPS unit, but it took a good ...
367
votes
5answers
140k views

Anyone else experiencing high rates of Linux server crashes during a leap second day?

*NOTE: if your server still has issues due to confused kernels, and you can't reboot - the simplest solution proposed with gnu date installed on your system is: date -s now. This will reset the ...
346
votes
7answers
280k views

In Nginx, how can I rewrite all http requests to https while maintaining sub-domain?

I want to rewrite all http requests on my web server to be https requests, I started with the following: server { listen 80; location / { rewrite ^(.*) https://mysite.com$1 ...
333
votes
15answers
296k views

How do you find what process is holding a file open in Windows?

One thing that annoys me no end about Windows is the old sharing violation error. Often you can't identify what's holding it open. Usually it's just an editor or explorer just pointing to a relevant ...
327
votes
6answers
98k views

How does IPv4 Subnetting Work?

This is a Canonical Question about IPv4 Subnets. Related: How does IPv6 subnetting work and how does it differ from IPv4 subnetting? How does Subnetting Work, and How do you do it by ...
324
votes
18answers
820k views

Ping a Specific Port

Just a quick sanity check here. Can you ping a specific port of a machine, and if so, can you provide an example? I'm looking for something like ping ip address portNum.
308
votes
21answers
53k views

How do you search for backdoors from the previous IT person?

We all know it happens. A bitter old IT guy leaves a backdoor into the system and network in order to have fun with the new guys and show the company how bad things are without him. I've never ...
301
votes
23answers
429k views

How do I tell Git for Windows where to find my private RSA key?

My GIT setup runs fine in Linux, but when I try to set things up under Windows (using Git for Windows and TortoiseGit), I don't know where to put my private ssh key (or, better still, how to tell ssh ...
282
votes
160answers
214k views

Useful Command-line Commands on Windows

The aim for this Wiki is to promote using a command to open up commonly used applications without having to go through many mouse clicks - thus saving time on monitoring and troubleshooting Windows ...
272
votes
27answers
61k views

100% uptime for a web application

We received an interesting "requirement" from a client today. They want 100% uptime with off-site failover on a web application. From our web application's viewpoint, this isn't an issue. It was ...
257
votes
8answers
294k views

Can scp copy directories?

Now I can only copy a single tar file,how can I copy directories recursively with scp?
254
votes
45answers
64k views

What are the obstacles to providing reliable Internet access and Wi-Fi at large tech conferences? [closed]

Every tech conference I've ever been to, and I've been to a lot, has had absolutely abysmal Wi-Fi and Internet access. Sometimes it's the DHCP server running out of addresses. Sometimes the backhaul ...
237
votes
15answers
17k views

I've inherited a rat's nest of cabling. What now?

You know, you see pictures like below and sort of chuckle until you actually have to deal with it. I have just inherited something that looks like the picture below. The culture of the organization ...
216
votes
12answers
74k views

Is it bad to redirect http to https?

I just installed an SSL Certificate on my server. It then set up a redirect for all traffic on my domain on Port 80 to redirect it to Port 443. In other words, all my http://example.com traffic is ...
215
votes
6answers
388k views

What's the default superuser username/password for postgres after a new install?

I have just installed postgres 8.4 on Ubuntu 9.10 and it has never asked me to create a superuser. Is there a default superuser and its password? If not, how do I create a new one?
210
votes
11answers
66k views

Can I nohup/screen an already-started process?

I'm doing some test-runs of long-running data migration scripts, over SSH. Let's say I start running a script around 4 PM; now, 6 PM rolls around, and I'm cursing myself for not doing this all in ...
208
votes
2answers
76k views

What exactly do the colors in htop status bars mean?

By default, htop shows colored status bars for processors, memory, and swap. From left to right, the bars are colored green, blue, yellow, and red depending on some thresholds. What does it mean when ...
206
votes
10answers
103k views

How to tell which local branch is tracking which remote branch in Git?

I would like to know if there's a way to tell which local branch is tracking which remote branch in Git. I'm using one remote server, which is named "origin".
204
votes
14answers
8k views

What is this very short power cable called?

I have a couple of networking components in my rack that take giant AC adapters ("power bricks") that don't fit neatly into my rackmount PDU. I have one "thingy" that is shown below, and I need to ...
204
votes
6answers
208k views

How to assign permissions to ApplicationPoolIdentity account

In IIS 7 on Windows Server 2008, application pools can be run as the "ApplicationPoolIdentity" account instead of the NetworkService account. How do I assign permissions to this "...
200
votes
2answers
45k views

Why is “chmod -R 777 /” destructive?

This is a Canonical Question about File Permission and Why 777 is "destructive". I'm not asking how to fix this problem, as there are a ton of references of that already on Server Fault (reinstall ...
199
votes
5answers
59k views

Redirect, Change URLs or Redirect HTTP to HTTPS in Apache - Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Mod_Rewrite Rules but Were Afraid to Ask

This is a Canonical Question about Apache's mod_rewrite. Changing a request URL or redirecting users to a different URL than the one they originally requested is done using mod_rewrite. This ...
196
votes
22answers
56k views

Is it normal to get hundreds of break-in attempts per day?

I just checked my server's /var/log/auth.log and found that I'm getting over 500 failed password/break-in attempt notifications per day! My site is small, and its URL is obscure. Is this normal? ...
194
votes
13answers
72k views

Any benefit or detriment from removing a pagefile on an 8GB RAM machine?

I'm running Windows 7 on a dual core, x64 AMD with 8GB RAM. Do I even need a pagefile? Will removing it help or hurt performance? Would it make a difference if this is a server or a desktop? Does ...
192
votes
5answers
74k views

What is the difference between double and single square brackets in bash?

I just wondered what exactly the difference between [[ $STRING != foo ]] and [ $STRING != foo ] is, apart from that the latter is posix-compliant, found in sh and the former is an extension ...
189
votes
9answers
29k views

Heartbleed: What is it and what are options to mitigate it?

This is a Canonical Question about understanding and remediating the Heartbleed security issue. What exactly is CVE-2014-0160 AKA "Heartbleed"? What is the cause, what OSs and versions of OpenSSL ...
187
votes
73answers
188k views

What tool do you use to monitor your servers?

For a more comprehensive list of monitoring tools and their features, check out this Wikipedia page. As the question states, what are the most commonly used tools used for this task and what are ...
186
votes
5answers
175k views

What permissions should my website files/folders have on a Linux webserver?

This is a Canonical Question about File Permissions on a Linux web server. I have a Linux web server running Apache2 that hosts several websites. Each website has its own folder in /var/www/. /var/...
185
votes
61answers
11k views

Good tools that fit on a thumb drive [closed]

I have been on the lookout lately for some good tools to fill up my flash drive and I thought I would ask the Server Fault community for recommendations on good tools that will fit onto a thumb drive. ...
185
votes
3answers
132k views

What's the best way of handling permissions for apache2's user www-data in /var/www?

Has anyone got a nice solution for handling files in /var/www? We're running Name Based Virtual Hosts and the apache2 user is www-data. We've got two regular users & root. So when messing with ...
184
votes
20answers
146k views

How can I run a server on Linux on port 80 as a normal user?

I have googled about it for quite some time, but couldn't find it. I am on Ubuntu Linux and want to run a server on port 80, but due to security mechanism of Ubuntu, I get the following error: ...
171
votes
7answers
23k views

What’s the point in having “www” in a URL?

Other than for historical reasons, is there is reason to have “www” in a URL. Should I do a permanent redirect from www.xyz.com to xyz.com or xyz.com to www.xyz.com? Which one would you suggest and ...
170
votes
13answers
30k views

Why couldn't MAC addresses be used instead of IPv4|6 for networking? [closed]

I am reading up on TCP/IP and other related protocols and technologies. MAC addresses are described as being (reasonably :) unique, and as having a large possibility space (several hundred trillions), ...
167
votes
15answers
450k views

Why do I get “Permission denied (publickey)” when trying to SSH from local Ubuntu to a Amazon EC2 server?

I have an instance of an application running in the cloud on Amazon EC2 instance, and I need to connect it from my local Ubuntu. It works fine on one of local ubuntu and also laptop. I got message "...
164
votes
5answers
259k views

MySQL: Bind to more than one IP address?

Is there a secret way to bind MySQL to more than one IP address? As far as I can see the bind-address parameter in the my.cnf does not support more than one IP and you can't have it more than once.
160
votes
7answers
360k views

How to automate SSH login with password?

How to automate SSH login with password? I'm configuring my test VM, so heavy security is not considered. SSH chosen for acceptable security with minimal configuration. ex) echo password | ssh id@...
154
votes
2answers
70k views

How do I select which Apache MPM to use?

I'm a little confused between the different MPMs offered by Apache - 'worker', 'event', 'prefork', etc. What are the major differences between them, and how can I decide which one will be best for a ...
152
votes
26answers
298k views

Using DD for disk cloning

There's been a number of questions regarding disk cloning tools and dd has been suggested at least once. I've already considered using dd myself, mainly because ease of use, and that it's readily ...
150
votes
4answers
49k views

LVM dangers and caveats

I have recently started using LVM on some servers for hard drives larger than 1 TB. They're useful, expandable and quite easy to install. However, I could not find any data about the dangers and ...
149
votes
10answers
412k views

What's the command-line utility in Windows to do a reverse DNS look-up?

Is there a built-in command line tool that will do reverse DNS look-ups in Windows? I.e., something like <toolname> w.x.y.z => mycomputername I've tried: nslookup: seems to be forward ...
145
votes
6answers
23k views

Are SSD drives as reliable as mechanical drives (2013)?

SSD drives have been around for several years now. But the issue of reliability still comes up. I guess this is a follow up from this question posted 4 years ago, and last updated in 2011. It's now ...
144
votes
2answers
28k views

What are the different widely used RAID levels and when should I consider them?

This is a Canonical Question about RAID levels. What are: the RAID levels typically used (including the RAID-Z family)? deployments are they commonly found in? benefits and pitfalls of each?
142
votes
69answers
24k views

The Joel Test for system administrator jobs

Based on “Organizational issues” — sore spots of IT? I think it would be fair to say that system administrators need to determine if a place is worth working at. There is a similar well known test ...
142
votes
39answers
77k views

What useful things can one add to one's .bashrc? [closed]

Is there anything that you can't live without and will make my life SO much easier? Here are some that I use ('diskspace' & 'folders' are particularly handy). # some more ls aliases alias ll='ls -...
142
votes
2answers
45k views

Create a public SSH key from the private key?

Let's suppose I have a SSH key, but I've deleted the public key part. I have the private key part. Is there some way I can regenerate the public key part?

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