Ultimate Home server Part 2 – Operating System + Remote Access

Updating and Secure Shell (SSH)

The first thing you should do with any new system is install any updates issued by the developer. This is because most developers won’t produce a new bootable media each time they issue an update, so even freshly installed systems will usually need updates applying.

Luckily it’s pretty easy to install updates to Ubuntu from the command line:

Entering the following text into the command line, followed by Enter and then your password, will search any available online respositories for updates:

sudo apt-get update

This command on its own doesn’t install updates, all it does is check online to see if there are any updates.

To install the updates you’ll need another command:

sudo apt-get upgrade

This will look at the list of updates compiled by the first command and then ask you to confirm you want to install them:

Pressing Y on the keyboard will confirm and the updates will then install. At this point, where we don’t need to worry about people actually USING the server, I would suggest a reboot once the installation has finished.

To do this type the following command and press Enter:

sudo reboot

Once your server has rebooted you have a fully installed and fully updated instance of Ubuntu Server 18.04.

Of course it wouldn’t make much sense if you had to keep a keyboard, mouse and monitor connected to the server at all times. It would be much easier if we could access it and issue commands from another device on our network, so in the final section of this part I’ll demonstrate how to connect to your server via SSH.

The first thing you’ll need to do is install some sort of terminal software on another device on your network. For Windows PCs I recommend PuTTY.

Download the software from the link above, install it and open it. You’ll see a screen like below:

In order to connect to your Server from another Windows PC, all you need to do is type your Servers IP address into the Host Name field above and then click Open.

You’ll see an error message advising that the Servers security key is unknown to PuTTY:

This is to be expected, so click Yes.

You’ll then be presented with a virtual window which looks very similar to your Servers command line interface:

Enter your username and password when prompted and you’ll see a readout similar to the above. It’ll show you some useful management information as well as whether there are any software packages with available updates.

From here you can enter any commands to your server as if you had a keyboard connected directly to it, but with the added bonus that you can copy text from your host computer and paste it into the command line, which will come in very useful in subsequent parts of this guide.

And that’s it! We’re done for this part. Ubuntu Server is installed and we can connect to it from another device.

In the addendum to this part on the next page I’ll describe how you can install a graphical interface to your server (for if you really think you won’t be able to get by with the command line only).

In the next part to this guide I’ll show you how to create the RAID array for your remaining hard disks, which will give us a solid foundation to then install other applications and services in later parts!

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