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I don't know much about Linux but want to set up a web server and I have searched but can't find a Linux distribution which sets you up a fully functional web server with control panel.

I have seen other distributions like SME Server which makes it simple to set up an office server and hoped there would be something similar for a web server that would install and set up:

  • Linux
  • Apache
  • PHP
  • MySQL or MariaDB
  • Mail server
  • DNS
  • FTP
  • Control panel of some sort to manage it all

Is there anything available like this?

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    It sounds like you might be looking for the fastest possible way to get hacked, assuming this setup is facing the actual internet. General rule of thumb with web facing servers, if you don't know how to do it, you probably shouldn't be trying to do it, unless it's just to learn on your own network. Part of this is in I think xampp, which is likewise probably a very appealing target for hackers looking to take over a poorly configured webserver.
    – Lizardx
    Jun 14 at 4:26
  • @Lizardx, I was kind of hoping the distro would preconfigure a secure web server. I've set up and administered Windows servers but new to Linux so was hoping that I wasn't the first person who wanted a plug 'n play Linux web server. I was impressed with the SME Server distro and see the potential for something similar for a web server.
    – johna
    Jun 15 at 5:31
  • That expectation would not be realistic, when you have something facing the open internet, you basically have to know what you are doing if you expect to not get hacked over time, the less experience you have, the less time it would generally take. OpenBSD would be one of the only operating systems I'd expect to be quite secure and well configured out of the box, by design, and it's not what you are looking for. Basically, I'd say the rule is: if you think you need a plug and play web server that requires no knowledge to run, you should probably rethink your approach.
    – Lizardx
    Jun 15 at 6:03
  • It's worth having some respect for the people out there with far, far, far greater technical skills than you currently have. Those are commonly called 'hackers' in our culture, but they are basically just serious experts in their field. They love the stuff you're looking for, they love easy to configure routers, iot devices, web servers, because they are easy money, and sitting ducks. And they don't have to work very hard to gain control. It's wise to respect their talents and not think you can beat them without knowing anything at all. Failing to do this is not respecting their abilities.
    – Lizardx
    Jun 15 at 6:05
  • @Lizardx, I don't think that expectation is unrealistic. Take a look at SME Server/Koozali (koozali.org). This is a simple to install distro that sets you up an CentOS office server and includes web/mail/FTP amongst other services. It's been around a long time and used by many organisations so I would be confident that they have security well taken care of. I don't know Linux but can and have setup Windows based web servers that have proven to be secure over years of use - I'm confident that doing the same with Linux is not impossible.
    – johna
    Jun 16 at 8:28
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Debian is quite often used as web and mail servers. No matter which distro, this won't be 100% pre-packaged for your needs. SME is the closest there is to that.

There are a number of guides by using "Debian lamp stack install"; don't expect everything to be all squared away in an hour, as it's quite a process.

For DNS server, I'm going to forgo the typical "do you really need a DNS" lecture and just point you in the direction of bind9, a very common DNS server.

For the control panel, web search "(your distro) php control panel script" and you'll be presented with webmin, uermin, cloudpanel (which is virtually perfect for Debian) and a slew of others.

Once you get started, try your best to stick with the same tutorial. In Linux, there are many ways to do the same task, therefore one tutorial may not be compatible with the other and cause major headaches. When asking for help, give us the link to the tutorial you're using.

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Not 100% what I wanted but the closest I could find was the LAMP stack at TURNKEY Linux:

https://www.turnkeylinux.org/lamp

It features:

  • Debian GNU/Linux 10 (Buster).
  • Secure and easy to maintain: Auto-updated daily with latest Debian security patches. Optional monitoring and email notification of system alerts.
  • Dynamic DNS (HubDNS): Associates your IP with a custom domain or the free *.tklapp.com domain.
  • SSL support out of the box.
  • PHP, Python and Perl support for Apache2 and MySQL (MariaDB).
  • PHP development helpers
  • php-xdebug: debugging and profiling
  • php-pear: php extension and application repository
  • php5-cli: command-line interpreter
  • Adminer administration frontend for MySQL (MariaDB) (listening on port 12322 - uses SSL).
  • Postfix MTA (bound to localhost) to allow sending of email from web applications (e.g., password recovery).
  • Webmin modules for configuring Apache2, PHP, MySQL and Postfix.

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