So, you are looking to install Ubuntu? Ubuntu is a great foundation to run a server upon. This post will step you through the initial installation of Ubuntu Server 10.04. As of the writing of this, version 10.04 is the latest LTS release. Please keep in mind that these steps will get a functional operating system onto your computer but you may still need to perform additional steps (like installing services, setting up accounts, and securing the server). Also keep in mind that these instructions assume that you are only running the one operating system on your server.
Step 1: Burn (or acquire) a copy of the Ubuntu install media. It is freely downloadable from the Ubuntu website. For a production server, I would recommend using the current LTS version. Whether you should pick 64-bit or 32-bit depends on if you are running 64-bit or 32-bit hardware. When in doubt, you can always pick 32-bit.
Step 2: Boot the server to the install media (CD, DVD, USB thumb drive, etc). The first prompt you will see will ask what language you would like to proceed in, for the install process.
Step 3: Select “Install Ubuntu Server”
Step 4: Select your preferred language again.
Step 5: If you live within the US and speak English, you easiest to select no at this point.
Step6: Select “USA”
Step 7: Select “USA”
Step 8: Next, you need to pick a hostname for the machine. It should ideally be something memorable and short.
Step 9: Select your time zone. For me, the installer was able to determine it automatically.
Step 10: Select “Guided – Use entire disk and set up LVM”
Step 11: Select the hard drive that you would like to install Ubuntu on
Step 12: Select “yes”
Step 13: Specify how much of the hard drive you want Ubuntu to use. If it is the only thing on the hard drive, you will want it to use all of the hard drive.
Step 14: Select “yes”
Step 15: Supply your full name.
Step 16: Supply a username that you would like to use. This is the username you will be using to log into the computer.
Step 17: Pick a password to use with the username (from step 16).
Step 18: Retype the password you entered in step 17.
Step 19: Choose whether or not you want to encrypt your home directory. I never store anything within the home directory, so I said no. You can if you want to. It helps prevent theft of your data if the actual hard drive is stolen.
Step 20: Specify your http proxy, if you use one. My employer uses one but, chances are, you can leave this blank.
Step 21: Select “Install security updates automatically”. It’s just a good idea.
Step 22: Here, you are going to select which services you want the installer to install. You can install any of these later but you may want to elect to install them now. I chose to install the OpenSSH server at this point, because I will definitively need it in the future. Without it, I won’t be able to SSH into the computer.
Step 23: Assuming that Ubuntu is the only thing installed on this server (you aren’t dual-booting), select “yes”.
Step 24: Congratulations. Ubuntu Server is now installed on your server. Now you can log into it and start getting down to business.
I will be trying to do a few more “how-to” posts regarding setting up a linux server. This post is meant to be a foundation. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments.