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I have never tried to use server installs, but thought I would set up a headless unit plugged into the router to use like a local web host. I would will be making a basic website but want to add PHP to it as I learn more about it. I would prefer it was Linux or BSD, although I can barely get around in FreeBSD right now (just DL'ed it yesterday).
the box is a pentium 4 with like half a gig of RAM, so a thin server would probably be better, but I am not really sure.
so what is an easy server install for this situation?

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closed as off-topic by Tog, Breakthrough, Mokubai, mpy, Dave M Sep 12 '13 at 12:50

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve. Here are a few suggestions on how to properly ask this type of question." – Tog, Breakthrough, Mokubai, mpy, Dave M
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This is hard to answer objectively as the answers are primarily opinion-based. Also falls a bit on "product recommendation". – That Brazilian Guy Sep 9 '13 at 15:43
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would definitely recommend Ubuntu Server if you are beginning or even have administered and set up Linux/*nix based systems before. Though this is a headless solution you are asking to set up, I would try and use a monitor for the initial setup, install ssh, set up a static IP, then remove the monitor.

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i will try it out, i wasnt sure if some installs are setup to be headless from the first boot, thanks – fightermagethief Mar 20 '11 at 23:32
Well It really depends because most "headless installs" are usually an image that is pushed from a PXE server somewhere on the network to the headless machine that is booting from the network. The image is then applied to the HDD and on the next boot, you have a headless server available without ever having to touch a monitor – brandon927 Mar 20 '11 at 23:37

I really like NetBSD. I find that the OS is very simple (not filled with a huge assortment of pre-installed applications and tools that most people probably won't use anyway; you have to install them yourself, and NetBSD uses the wonderful pkgsrc system that makes this extremely easy), and the communities in IRC ( and are very helpful and friendly.


It's also nice because you can install it on just about any hardware (including one particular kitchen blender), and its resource requirement is a very small. No GUI by default, but it's easy to install your favourite GUI and get things working.

I also like to use it as a Dom0 host in Xen. I mention this to provide some perspective on how powerful NetBSD is:

  Step-by-step instructions: Install Xen on NetBSD

I actually have a few clients running PHP on NetBSD, and it works very nicely. The system is fast, and your hardware configuration should yield excellent performance with NetBSD 5.

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@randolf:do people typically use just x-term when they want GUI on BSD or does anyone install gnome or kde or would that just be stupid – fightermagethief Mar 21 '11 at 22:31
@bboyreason: I'm not sure how many people use X-Term. Installing Gnome or KDE (or any other GUI) is not stupid in my opinion because everyone has different needs and preferences. The beauty of having so many different Open Source projects to choose from is that it's possible to make things work just right for just about every requirement. If you like X-Term, or Xfce, or one of the others, there usually are packages available to make it work. I say "just pick what works best for you and your requirements, and get it working well." – Randolf Richardson Mar 22 '11 at 14:01

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