I have come across two moderately elderly desktop computers which I intend to configure as servers, likely using Debian stable, primarily for http (web) purposes. However, I would also like to be able to remotely connect to the servers to manipulate files, create directories, and perform other such management- and administration-related tasks, and also to be able to run multiple email addresses associated with the domain name(s) I will point to these servers.

Is it possible to do all of this on one machine, or must I set up separate systems for each component (http, ftp and mail)?

Also, in regards to running a GUI for server management: While I understand most servers are administered via a console interface, I am not very proficient with bash/shell as of yet. There's no way I will get anywhere close to GNOME for this, and as I am running XFCE on my primary system anyway it seems to be a logical choice for candidacy. If I were to use XFCE 4.10 for graphical administration purposes, would the performance of the server be significantly impacted? I remember having heard somewhere that a GUI of any sort will prove to be somewhat of a drain on system resources in a server context, but I thought I would check if this applies to the very lightweight XFCE environment as well as to more bulky options such as GNOME.

migrated from serverfault.com Aug 12 '12 at 2:41

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

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    Hi, welcome to ServerFault. This question is off-topic for a couple of reasons. First, please check out the FAQ before posting. Typically any questions regarding home servers are off-topic as this site is geared to Professional SysAdmins who work with this stuff daily. You may be better off reviewing SuperUser.com in the future, just make sure to read their FAQ first as well. Last, With the Q&A format if you have multiple questions ask them as multiple questions, don't post them as one giant question. Makes it really hard to help you. – Brent Pabst Aug 12 '12 at 1:53

To answer your first question, yes it is possible to use all of those services on one machine.

Secondly, it sounds like a situation I was in not long ago. Using a shell can be intimidating at first, and there is definitely a learning curve for getting these technologies to play nicely.

It is more prudent to invest the time and learn some bash than it is to find a GUI solution. http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/ is an excellent guide.

These are just my opinions, I doubt a GUI will be much of a resource drain on modern systems. The efficient use of your time is more of an issue from my perspective.

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