13 Feb 2003 mascot   » (Journeyer)

I'm now responsible for a RedHat-based dedicated server hosted in Germany, which I'm managing on behalf of a friend. I've got to be very careful to avoid killing networking (nothing worse than the realisation that you've just broken SSHD and you can't now log in and fix it!). So far it's survived, although there were a couple of hairy moments with iptables. (It's also survived a deluge of traffic when another friend (aes)'s screenshot, also hosted on that server, got posted on the front page of GnomeDesktop.org... I never realised that site was so popular!)

Discovered many stupidities in Ensim Webppliance - shame it's not open source, otherwise I'd fix the problems :-( A project idea for someone: a GPL'ed Ensim clone. Specifically:

  • Lets you create domains on the server, each with their own website and chroot environment
  • Manages the config for apache (with vhosts), sendmail (or preferably something nicer like Postfix - not an option with Ensim!), proftpd, ssh, etc. so each user can connect as though they had their own server
  • When you connect through SSH, FTP, etc. it should work out which chroot you need to be in - Ensim does this with a PAM module that looks for horrible usernames like "me@mysite.co.uk" (which most programs refuse to count as a username!) - this means "log user 'me' into the chroot environment for 'mysite.co.uk'"
  • Tracks bandwidth used for each site separately
  • Allows for different access levels for the control panel - i.e. designated Site Owners can log in to change a few things about their domain (e.g. add mailboxes); designated Resellers can log in and create a limited number of domains with limited total bandwidth, etc.

It's the sort of project I'd really like to write (or contribute to) myself. But unfortunately I don't have the time at the moment. If anyone knows of a good, free product which does some or all of the above, please tell me. I'm never happy being tied to a product which I can't fix when it breaks. (Now there's an argument for open source software which you don't hear enough in businesses...)

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