Operating system and remote access
Finally, my server also needed some software. It is based on Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS and I use SSH with public key to access the server from remote. Using public key authentication spares you from entering passwords for every connection and makes access even safer. Especially if you connect the server to the web.
To access your computer over the web, you need to know how your ISP connects you to the internet. Consumer internet connections nowadays usually use IPv6 with Carrier-Grade NAT. This makes it more complicated to reach the server from the web, because you have no public IPv4 adress. Of course there are business contracts, that contain a fixed IP, respectively they cost much more.
Luckily I still have a “legacy” IPv4 broadband connection, but no fixed IP, so from time to time, my cable modem obtains a new IP address. This means, I need a dynamic DNS service, that maps my domain name to the actual IP of my connection. I use http://freedns.afraid.org/ in conjunction with the ddclient tool running on the server. As my router does not work with ddclient, I simply use a web service to obtain my IP address. My ddclient config file looks like this:
pid=/var/run/ddclient.pid ssl=yes use=web, web=checkip.dyndns.org/, web-skip='Current IP Address: ' protocol=freedns server=freedns.afraid.org login=my_username password='my_password' my_domain1,my_domain2
Last not least, it is recommended to change the default SSH port.
I use ext4 as filesystem for all my disks, and I decided to not use LVM. The attached hard disks do only contain backups and data, the system itself is placed on a 16GB* USB3 Stick. This works fine and saves a SATA port (due to the servers budget hardware I only have 4 of them).
*) Update from June 2016: To fit the small stick, the servers system needed too much maintenance like deleting old kernels and obsolete files, so I switched to a 128GB version. It’s really no more a matter of money, given the prices of memory nowadays.
Look forward to part 2 – Networking and Plex Media Server