I recently setup a hosting business myself an thought I would share some of the sources I have found for Linux hosting support. I will go into good sources for hardening your server. Installing and troubleshooting control panels. Reviews of the different web server components. This will be a link filled article with a lot of sources for Linux hosting support.
The httpd server is an integral part of any hosting server, after all you do need a way to serve websites. The most popular httpd server still is Apache. Between August 1995 – July 2010 the market share of Apache was 54.90% (source of Image and info: Netcraft).
Therefore, choosing Apache is easy since almost everyone is using it. There are a lot of sources for Apache help. But I always start with the documentation. After installing Apache you should harden (read make secure) the Apache2 httpd server. This guide is a good point to start at. Also check out these Bright Hub articles:
Damien Richard: Overview of the Apache Web Server
Most hosting providers will choose PHP as an interactive language to put on the server. Even though we are using Linux, you could install ASP as well, however I like to keep everything Linux. The best source for support is definably PHP.net.
Also check out these great Bright Hub resources:
Matthew Casperson: Hubfolio Blog
Kristen Grubb: What Does PHP Stand For?"
Or do a search for PHP on Bright Hub. There are a great many articles in the PHP/MYSQL area.
Database servers are an important part of interactive PHP pages. I have to say ssince the take over by Oracle support has become a sales point. Which is a shame because now when you need Linux hosting support for MySQl you have to use Google to find the forums.
Bright Hub also features some great MySQL articles:
Kristen Grubb: Building a Linux Database
Multiple Authors: Research Guide To SQL
Of course you could set all of these up separately but it’s easier to follow a LAMP tutorial. No need to surf away from Bright Hub for this one. There are a couple of great LAMP tutorials right here on Bright Hub:
Josef Nankivell: Quickly Install a LAMP Server on Ubuntu
General Linux Hosting Support Resource
One of the best places to get help is the Webhostingtalk.com. There are a lot of helpful people online, so if you can’t find it anywhere else, try them. I am sure someone on that forum will be able to help.
After you set up your webserver you might want to use some tools to administer and support your users. Control panels are an easy way to add new users and accounts to your server. The most popular is probably cPanel. The other big name is Plesk. If you are looking for a free option, then ISPManager is the most complete option. However, when I was testing ISPManager I did notice that it doesn’t do any hardening out of the box whereas Plesk and cPanel do.
A CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) is also a must. I have checked out several but found that HostBill fits my needs the most. HostBill comes with a lot of handy modules out of the box. The most useful are the payment gateway and reseller/affiliate for selling domain names. There is also a module to create accounts in cPanel automatically.
I also want to make sure that you know about Lighttpd and NGiNX. Apache is great but can be heavy on system resources. If you have a VPS or dedicated server with not that many resources, try out Lighttpd and NGiNX. Granted, they can be a little harder to set up but it is worth it if you can’t afford a beefy server yet.
If you have any questions than feel free to leave a comment below.