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Linux System administration is no walk in the park. With all the commands and configuration files you need to know about, managing a Linux system is everything but an easy task. Making things a little easier is “Webmin”. While you would still need some knowledge about a Linux system and what you want to achieve, Webmin provides an easier interface and a centralised place from where you can configure and monitor your system.

Installation

Use your distribution’s package manager to install Webmin. Or else you can visit the Webmin downloads page and get the binaries or source-code according to your requirements.

Usage

One installed, you access Webmin via a web-based interface. Just point your browser to Webmin on your machine (https://127.0.0.1:10000), you will be asked for authentication where in you must provide user name and password. If successful, you will see something like:

Webmin is made up of modules, with each module performing a select task. There are modules for viewing system stats, configuring grub, managing firewalls and protocols, configuring servers and a whole lot more (complete list). In addition you can add other modules depending upon your requirements. You can also create your own modules for a particular service or application using the Webmin API and some programming knowledge of course

Sample task

Let’s say you want to manage cron-jobs on your system via webmin. Just log in and click on “Scheduled Cron Jobs” under “System” from the sidebar. You will see a list of all the cron-jobs on your system. You can choose to enable/disable selected jobs, or delete/add jobs or perform other listed functions.

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To create a new job click on “Create a new scheduled cron job.” and you will be taken to Create Schediled job screen, where you can specify the commands and options to use as well as specify the time when you want the job to run without have to edit crontab files manually!

Similarly you can perform a whole variety of such tasks, just choose what you want to do from the sidebar and get going. You can configure firewall rules, monitor bandwidth, configure Apache, DNS, mail servers and countless other things.

Mastering Webmin

While it is easy to use Webmin, you might want to check out some resources to help you get a better understanding of how webmin works and how to use it to perform various tasks. Check out the following resources for the same:

Webmin really makes it easy to perform system administration from the cozy confines of your Web Browser. Webmin edits the configuration files as it is and doesn’t store the changes in a centralised database. What does this mean? That making a change with Webmin is as good and as crude (if I may say so) as doing it with vi editor.

Do you know of some other tools you use for configuring your system? Let hear about them in comments!

  1. sourm.sambo
    October 25, 2016 at 9:16 am

    I would like to know history of Webmin ! When Webmin created ?

  2. avvid
    September 16, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    I also use and like webmin for my 'headless' servers.
    I've wondered though - is Webmin it? Are there any other management packages out there simular?

    Another question: Is there a good server/performance monitoring tool out there? (open/free source). Love to find a good package that can monitor MySql, Apache, etc.

  3. Svein
    May 13, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Hi James. What do you need?

  4. James
    May 13, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Ojay ,Svein ,please chat to me ,i need your help please

    James
    44581904@mylife.unisa.ac.za

  5. OJay
    April 7, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Svein,
    yes, you can! :-)

    There are detailed install instructions on their website (look here: http://www.webmin.com/docs.html). Chances are, that you can even install it from your package manager. To me, this is the prefered way, although you are not always getting the newest version. But you get the advantage of security updates from your normal update procedure. If that is not available for you, your installed Webmin will tell you about when it's time to upgrade all alone, as long as your server can send mails. :-)

  6. Svein
    April 6, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    I wish I knew if it is ok to install Webmin after you have set up your server? I ahve a server running and would like to add a GUI to it.

  7. OJay
    April 5, 2009 at 6:54 am

    I like and use Webmin on all my Linux Servers. It tourned out to be the swiss army knife for configuring almost any aspect of my servers. I love it for editing users and groups. guves me a good overview and saves alot of typing time.

    Putting all enthusiasm aside, there are drawbacks, too:
    First of all it tends to destroy formattings in config files. I still edit most of the stuff in my /etc directories by hand. Also, it clutters up configuration of, let's say apache, up into several different sub-menues. Not my type of overview, honestly cause you might easily oversee things you configured last month.

    Besides of that, Webmin's little brother usermin is perfect for letting people change their own passwords and work on their files without granting them shell access at all. But you really really really really really really have to check twice what you grant. It is possible to open up HUGE security holes in your systems with web- and usermin. So please use it with caution.

    OJay.

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