I've always used shared hosting in the past but now I'm thinking about moving to a Linode for my new web sites. However my knowledge of Linux and Apache is quite limited. I wonder how long it takes to set up a web server + MySQL db server?


Entirely depends...it's subjective. How fast a learner are you? How much is there to configure? How much custom work do you need done? You have limited Linux knowledge, but how much do you know? How much help do you have available?

Could take an hour. Could take a couple days. There is no way to answer this...

  • I see. The fact that it "could" take an hour is somewhat encouraging :). I love to learn but I don't want to read 30 books and become a Linux guru before being able to go live with my sites. That's why I'm still hesitant. Anyway, thanks for the answer. – Max Oct 20 '10 at 12:32
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    You wouldn't need to read and read to become a linux guru first; you end up reading and googling to solve problems as they arise, generally. You can start by looking for a howto on installing apache and mysql on a particular Linux distro you're aiming to use. – Bart Silverstrim Oct 20 '10 at 12:39
  • This should be the accepted answer. People don't understand that this isn't formatting and reinstalling your windows machine. If you want to build a secure and robust server with even a moderate amount of clients, you're not going to be counting your hours on your fingers and toes. – user245374 Feb 9 '16 at 3:04

If you don't know the answer in advance it might be best to leave a week part-time free. The first thing you'll want to do is secure the server (you need a set of iptables rules that will only permit those services you want, and probably re-assign the SSH port to something other than 22).

To be honest why use Linode if your knowledge of Linux and Apache is limited? I use Linode because my knowledge is deep and thus I can fully flex the capabilities of both on an always-on server when I cannot do that at home.

Otherwise a hosting provider will offer you scripting and MySQL database services (such as iPowerWeb which I've used in the past).

  • I know it seems a bit silly. My decision to go for a Linode is based on some technical requirements: MySQL InnoDB storage engine, cron jobs, host multiple domains, use PHP memcache, PHP Data Objects (PDO) extensions. It seems to be hard to get all that at a decent price with regular hosting providers. – Max Oct 20 '10 at 13:00
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    Ah. I would suggest trying to set all that up at home (or at work) first on a cheap (maybe second-hand) PC using debian or ubuntu linux. When you are comfortable with that then setting it up online should be a lot easier. The biggest issue with self-hosting is security. Your server will come under attack every hour of the day. Port 25 (smtp) will be busy, as will port 80 (http) with false requests. Port 445 (microsoft-smb) will be probed continually. It is essential that you install an iptables firewall ruleset as the very first thing you do with an online Linux host. And use chkrootkit too. – PP. Oct 20 '10 at 14:03
  • Good suggestion, I think I'll do that. As for the Linux distribution do you have any recommendation? – Max Oct 20 '10 at 15:02
  • Debian is good if you want long-term stability. If you're playing around and want to use the latest-and-greatest then Ubuntu is popular. – PP. Oct 21 '10 at 8:02

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