Build a Linux Home Server

Build a linux home server: Assembing the components:

A linux home server is just a computer that stores data and “serves” it to any other computer on a network, and it can be useful to  host  your own websites, store your backups, store your media for streaming to all your devices, or even act as a low-powered computer for torrents and transfering other files.

You can install many different versions of Ubuntu using many different methods, but we’re going to go the easiest route possible. All you need is:

A PC to act as your linux home server

An old PC will work fine for this, though you can also build a dedicated system if you don’t have an old PC lying around. Note that an old PC will use up more power, and maybe more expensive in the long run—but it’s a good way to test everything out and see if a home server is right for you.


Enough storage space to hold whatever files and data you want to store on your server. You might be able to get by with whatever old hard drives you have lying around, though if you’re storing a lot of movies or video you may need to go buy some new hard drives with  lots of space. For example, have a large drive dedicated to movies and TV shows, a smaller drive dedicated to backups, and a smaller drive still dedicated to MP3s.


A router with DHCP reservations or static IP addresses. This isn’t required, but it’s definitely preferred. If you don’t have this, managing your server can be a trying experience as its IP address will change when you reboot it.


A spare monitor to set up your linux home server. You’ll only need this in the initial building stages to set up your drives and apps. When you’re done, you can just stick your computer in a closet without a monitor, but for the setup, just use one of your existing monitors or  hook it up to your TV with a spare video cable.

Use the regular Desktop version of Ubuntu for this as opposed to the Server version. It’s much easier to set up, and should still run fine on an older  computer. Also installing Ubuntu to one of your storage drives, so you’ll need to set aside at least 3GB or so of space for it.

If you want to, you could install it on a  flash drive, but that’s only really useful if you’re going to swap out drives often, so most people shouldn’t have to worry about it.

Once you’ve gathered up all your resources and installed your hard drives begin installing Ubuntu .

Install Ubuntu

Install Ubuntu on one of the hard drives storing your data. It should only take up about 3GB, so it doesn’t  matter which one — but you will probably need the drive to be formatted before you install Ubuntu. You can copy all your data back afterwards. Grab the Ubuntu live CD  and either burn it to disc or, if your server doesn’t have a disc drive or copy it to a flash drive instead.

When it’s done, insert the CD or flash drive into your server and boot it up. If it isn’t set to boot from CD or USB automatically, you may have to go into your BIOS and change yout boot disk priority to include USB drives at the top of the list. You may need to refer to your computer’s instructions for how to do this, but you can usually get to the BIOS by holding the Delete key as it starts up, or whatever key is listed on your computer’s startup screen.

Once you’re booted into Ubuntu, just choose “Install Ubuntu” from the menu, and choose your desired hard drive from the list when prompted. Remember, you want the drive to be empty before you install Ubuntu, so it doesn’t overwrite your data. Also, when you create your user, make sure you set Ubuntu to automatically log you in. You don’t want to have to type your password every time you reboot your server.

Once Ubuntu is done installed you can put your server in a storage area and manage it from your main PC instead.

Next: Configuring your linux home server!

Author: Todd McDonald

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