Turn an old Computer into a web server!

Step 1: Prepare the Computer

i know, i know, but i know that there might be those who view this instructable who don't have an old computer....

anyway on to prepping the computer. your computer should have:
-at least 64MB of RAM (not too hard to get passed that these days)
-an intel or AMD processor (still not too hard)
-a cd-rom drive (still not hard)
-at least 600MB of space (you're going to want more than that since this is a server!)
-and the ability to boot from a CD
-an ethernet port

all in all, most of these requirements are easy to accomplish. since we will be using server edition for this install, this computer won't necessarily need 4GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive, though it would be nice...

Step 2: Get the Operating System

the operating system that we will be using is Ubuntu Server Edition 8.04. There are ways to achieve similar results with the desktop edition, but the GUI will take up a lot of memory and processing power.
you can download a cd image from this link:

make sure you choose "Server Edition" and select a mirror near you.
to burn the image, download an image burning software like MagicISO, or DVD Decrypter

or you could request free cds, but that takes time... 3-4 weeks to be exact...

Hi guys,

I blessed just for being part of the forum today. What lead me to it is that I am looking for help. I want to operate my own IPTV, I have a PC with Ubuntu 13.0 somthing on it. I want to follow some steps like installing the webmin, but the installation cannot be completed.

Hi guys,

I blessed just for being part of the forum today. What lead me to it is that I am looking for help. I want to operate my own IPTV, I have a PC with Ubuntu 13.0 somthing on it. I want to follow some steps like installing the webmin, but the installation cannot be completed.

xmozox2 years ago
after i add hostname for compter my computer dont do anything goes to a purple screen can any1 help
jgeorge132 years ago
I installed Ubuntu 11.10 Server Edition. The install went pretty well with only a few speed bumps, but I'm having an issue with the command line "sudo apt-get install perl libnet-ssleay-perl openssl libauthen-pam-perl libpam-runtime libio-pty-perl libmd5-perl"; Ubuntu gives me an error finding the package to install. I'm also getting an error locating the webmin package. I cannot install webmin because apparently it no longer exists at the URL according to my Ubuntu server. I checked both of these command lines as well as the webmin download URL and re-entered all said command lines in the above instructions with zero success. Any idea as to why I'm having these issues?
z2daj (author)  jgeorge132 years ago
The URLs are most assuredly outdated. My recommendation would be to google the packages in order to get the up-to-date package information.

If you need help, I can look into as well, though with two majors and the end of semester approaching... it may be couple weeks or so before I am able to.
how do i remove this???

I would really like to be able to have windows back on there
If you kept the disc that came with your Windows PC, all you have to do is put it in and re-install.
jbeatty12 years ago
cool im a do this now :D
I am having a little trouble with webmin and accessing my server. i installed webmin using the terminal commands you provided and it did not display any errors. The pc I want to use is connected via ethernet that is connected to a router. We have three pcs in the house, one running from an 802.11g wireless signal and the other are wired (ethernet). How do I get the ip for my server pc? I visited from my regular computer but it didn't work when accesing webmin. Also, from netopia (my router brand) I saw this note: From the LAN (Local Area Network), you will also be able to access these servers, but only using the internal private IP address. Access via the public IP address is not supported from a local ethernet connection. Does this mean I cannot set up a webserver? I would really appreciate your assistance. Thanks for the great tutorial...I just hope I can get it working right!
z2daj (author)  jeremycollins3 years ago
*Nearly two years later...*

If you know the router's IP address, say for example, and you have a DNS network, the router will automatically assign IP addresses to connected devices using this scheme 192.168.1.xx where 'xx' is the IP of the computer connected to the router. In most cases by default, the the IP addresses of connected devices begins at 101 and go on, as the router's address in this case would be 100.

Sorry for the late response! I never get e-mails when comments are posted, and I forgot all about this account!

With humble apologies,
x-treme3 years ago
You can also use, I prefer it over Top-level domains > Sub-domains
harry5993 years ago
When we have to enter these: HTTP 80 80 TCP serverIP FTP 21 21 TCP/UDP serverIP SSH 22 22 TCP serverIP Do we have to copy it exactly or do we put the ip in the bit that says serverIP? Thanks Harry
Ian01 harry5993 years ago
You put your server's local IP address there.
 I seem to be unable to do the first command of step 4 it gives me the same error every time. "E: Couldn't find package libnet-ssleay-per" If you could help me it would be much appreciated.
z2daj (author)  Lord_Drogoth4 years ago
 i know this sounds silly, but just make sure you typed everything right :D

i couldn't get anything to install at one point because of typos myself
 I checked it several times for errors before I entered  it and type it all over again and check that errors and I still didn't catch anything wrong with it
z2daj (author)  Lord_Drogoth4 years ago
 hmm, just do sudo apt-get install perl and then continue on. If the dependency of the webmin package isn't fulfilled, it should automatically search and install it from the repository. Good Luck!
 I'll try that thank you for your help and for the exceedingly speedy reply
digitrunner4 years ago
Great instructible and great intro LOL, I know, I know, I know, I know I know, ... Aint No Sunshine When She's Gone by Bill Withers, brb have to go put the song on now to get it out of my head...:P
abadfart4 years ago
dose anyone know prompt i don't
Google 'unix tutorials'
UNIX is what all linux distributions use. It is included as part of Ubuntu, openSUSE and any other linux distribution.
octavian2344 years ago
your website doesnt work
 lol nope. I'm also wondering if i can just keep it as a ip address?
iNORTON4 years ago
I don't have ssh in the list of application names.... I have ftp...http...https...dns..smpt...pop3....telnet...ipsec...pptp...netmeeting...dcs-1000...dcs-2000/dcs-5300...i2eye..
I was wondering what I might substitute to be able to have the same config as you do.. I am using a d-link 2300 router...

jpr34 years ago
THANKS for a great instructable. I've been wanting to do this for a long time - and I got it working in no time. You are great and Instructables is great! John
when i try and get webmin it says "E: Commad line option 'i' (from -i is not) know." plez hellp p.s. replace () with []
z2daj (author)  airsoftguy13104 years ago
did you do
sudo wget

and then do

sudo dpkg -i webmin_1.470_all.deb
Stephen3045 years ago
What extras should one install for a basic server that will host php scripts and html pages with the possibility of a sql database? Do i need to check install lamp? Near the end of the install it has an extras thing, i don't know if i need any.
yeah LAMP will do the trick perfectly
z2daj (author)  Stephen3044 years ago
yea you would want the LAMP server and Open SSH, sorry for the long comment wait, i've been very busy for the past month :P
Oh thanks, yeah, ive had a hardware deficiency lately and i have to use a tv for a monitor, and my dad doesn't like that. So i have to wait till hes gone somewhere. Next time i get a chance i will get back to that menu and see if i can get past it. Thanks.
Okay, I have a computer running windows 98. I dont know how old this computer is... You think I ca still do this?
as long as it meets the requirements then yeah
ccrh20084 years ago
could it be possible to have a type of program on the server to allow it to broadcast video from a webcam instantaneously
asherzgfx4 years ago
I can't get any of the apps to install, it says that they may be missing or obsoleted? Any ideas?
z2daj (author)  asherzgfx4 years ago
try running sudo apt-get upgrade also, what version of ubutnu are you using? they released 9.04 a month ago
asherzgfx z2daj4 years ago
that worked great, thanks.
asherzgfx4 years ago
When I went to select the extra's to install on the last screenshot, I pressed enter by accident and it didn't install any of them... Is there any way I can install them without having to re install the whole of Ubuntu?
z2daj (author)  asherzgfx4 years ago
yea you can, although you need to know the exact package names. the command would be sudo apt-get install where is the name of the package without the "<>".

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