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My Server Project

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#1
Ok. So I got bored in school, so I decided to do something fun. So I found and old P4 box nobody was using and I installed Ubuntu Server 9.10 on it.

Now that I have it up and running, I have some ideas for projects and some questions. My ultimate goal is just to learn about servers, administration, and networks. So here are some ideas and questions I have. I'm not sure if some of these are even possible.

Important notes: I don't have control over this network. AFAIK, no outgoing ports are blocked but all incoming ports are blocked. This machine has 2 ethernet ports. Nothing with torrents. They've already told me not to do that. :)mad: I didn't do anything illegal, just got the Fedora CD)

  1. First a question. Apparently all wired computers are on a different subnet than wireless computers. Is there any way I can access the server if my laptop is on another subnet?
  2. Some kind of proxy. We have a web filter here at school. (Barracuda) I have no particular need to get around it, but it would be cool to do so. Is there some way for this machine to connect to another machine at my house and access the internet from there?
  3. Webserver. I know that I won't be able to access the server from outside of school, but what about a local webserver? Can I also get a domain name instead of just an IP? I've read that I need to use the school's DNS server or something like that. But could I run my own DNS server? (My understanding of how this would work is very poor)

I'm open to any other ideas. Just looking for something to do.
 

DanTheBanjoman

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#2
First a question. Apparently all wired computers are on a different subnet than wireless computers. Is there any way I can access the server if my laptop is on another subnet?
It's called routing. I would imagine that already being in place.

Some kind of proxy. We have a web filter here at school. (Barracuda) I have no particular need to get around it, but it would be cool to do so. Is there some way for this machine to connect to another machine at my house and access the internet from there?
This is unrelated to that ubuntu machine, your machine at home has to be the proxy. Simple solutions like phproxy usually do the trick (surfing only). Personally I use a VPN.

Webserver. I know that I won't be able to access the server from outside of school, but what about a local webserver? Can I also get a domain name instead of just an IP? I've read that I need to use the school's DNS server or something like that. But could I run my own DNS server? (My understanding of how this would work is very poor)
I'm open to any other ideas. Just looking for something to do.
Running your own DNS server is pointless unless you;'re willing to manually set your clients network configuraiton. Just edit your hosts file instead. As for a webserver, install apache or any other webserver you like.



Seeing your limited knowledge of what you're doing I would recommend sticking to Windows servers, far less of a hassle.
 

newtekie1

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#3
1.) Yes, you should be able to type in the IP address of the server directly and access it, even accross subnets. Though this is not always possible.

2.) Don't know.

3.) You can setup a local web server, and access it directly from the internal network via IP. However, setting up a domain name would likely not work easily. If you register the domain like a normal domain, then the server would have to be accessable via an external IP, which yours is not. You can just put an entry in the DNS that your school uses that would point to your server, but you would have to be able to change the DNS, which is sounds like you can't. You can put an entry into the hosts file that points to your server, but you will have to do that on every computer you want to use the domain with.
 
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#4
Thanks for the replies.
It's called routing. I would imagine that already being in place.
Are you saying that this is how the computers are on different subnets? If so, I get that. Or are you saying that routing is something I need to do to access the other machine on a different subnet? If this is the case, please elaborate. Google returned results that were too broad.

This is unrelated to that ubuntu machine, your machine at home has to be the proxy. Simple solutions like phproxy usually do the trick (surfing only). Personally I use a VPN.
Good point, I didn't think of this. Is there a specific way to go about doing this? I've heard of SSH tunnels, something called a SOCKS proxy, which I don't understand, and I've had the idea of running a VPN server before. (as you suggested. I'll also have a look at phproxy) Is one of those solutions better than the others? I'm looking for unrestricted access that isn't terribly slow. Oh, and I would prefer for this connection to be encrypted or at least not readable. Again, not because I'm trying to hide anything, just a proof of concept.

Another thing I've considered is my connection speed at home. I assume if I'm sending info from home to school, I'll be limited by my home upload speed. (~300 Kbps) I know my dad's office has a 1 Mbps upload speed, but it only has 1 Mbps down speed. (my house has 7Mbps down) I think it would be better to have a server at my dad's office.

Running your own DNS server is pointless unless you;'re willing to manually set your clients network configuraiton. Just edit your hosts file instead. As for a webserver, install apache or any other webserver you like.
I think I got the webserver part figured out for most part. (Apache is up and running) Editing my hosts file will only allow me to use www.domain.com, correct? I take it that there's no easy way for everyone to use www.domain.com?

Seeing your limited knowledge of what you're doing I would recommend sticking to Windows servers, far less of a hassle.
I have no money for Windows Server. :( I've used Ubuntu on my laptop for over a year, and I really enjoy working with Linux, so I thought I would start learning more advanced and useful things. Working in Windows is nowhere near as fun as working in Linux imho. You do everything from a nice gui in Windows, while in Linux you seem to be more in touch with the major parts that make the OS work. There may be a steep learning curve, but I'm game. :cool:

1.) Yes, you should be able to type in the IP address of the server directly and access it, even accross subnets. Though this is not always possible.
I don't think I was clear enough. I know that I should be able to access the webserver on a different subnet. However, I attempted to SSH into the box from a different subnet and couldn't connect. When I joined the same subnet as the box was on, the SSH connection worked. Did the 1st SSH connection fail because I was on a different subnet, or for some other reason? (maybe I got the address wrong, maybe something to do with the network)

3.) You can setup a local web server, and access it directly from the internal network via IP. However, setting up a domain name would likely not work easily. If you register the domain like a normal domain, then the server would have to be accessable via an external IP, which yours is not. You can just put an entry in the DNS that your school uses that would point to your server, but you would have to be able to change the DNS, which is sounds like you can't. You can put an entry into the hosts file that points to your server, but you will have to do that on every computer you want to use the domain with.
So I'm going to rule out having a local-only domain for this computer.


Thanks again for the replies, they were very helpful. Bear with me! :)
 

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#5
Probably something blocking the SSH, likely a firewall of some kind between the two subnets.
 

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#6
Seeing your limited knowledge of what you're doing I would recommend sticking to Windows servers, far less of a hassle.
he said the point of doing this was to learn...
 

Easy Rhino

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#7
  1. First a question. Apparently all wired computers are on a different subnet than wireless computers. Is there any way I can access the server if my laptop is on another subnet?
  2. Some kind of proxy. We have a web filter here at school. (Barracuda) I have no particular need to get around it, but it would be cool to do so. Is there some way for this machine to connect to another machine at my house and access the internet from there?
  3. Webserver. I know that I won't be able to access the server from outside of school, but what about a local webserver? Can I also get a domain name instead of just an IP? I've read that I need to use the school's DNS server or something like that. But could I run my own DNS server? (My understanding of how this would work is very poor)

I'm open to any other ideas. Just looking for something to do.
good luck! the best way to learn on your own is to just dive into it. you may find it helpful to take some notes as you go along. honestly if you have a decently stable home internet connection you should try setting up the server there. you really need access to ports and what not if you really want to learn.
 
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#8
Depending on how their DNS is set up, the server's hostname may be automatically registered when DHCP hands out your IP or possibly their DNS server accepts open registrations. That way you can simply access the page by http://hostname

Otherwise get in good with the school's tech (alcohol helps) and have him create a DNS zone for you - domain.whatever along with a static IP for the box or a DHCP reservation.
 
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#9
good luck! the best way to learn on your own is to just dive into it. you may find it helpful to take some notes as you go along. honestly if you have a decently stable home internet connection you should try setting up the server there. you really need access to ports and what not if you really want to learn.
Oh. Didn't think to set the server up at home. I could always SSH into it from school. The box I was planning to use was already at school, so I just went with it.
Depending on how their DNS is set up, the server's hostname may be automatically registered when DHCP hands out your IP or possibly their DNS server accepts open registrations. That way you can simply access the page by http://hostname

Otherwise get in good with the school's tech (alcohol helps) and have him create a DNS zone for you - domain.whatever along with a static IP for the box or a DHCP reservation.
I'll try http://hostname. Good idea. As for asking the school to help me out, I would rather not. If they agree to what I ask, I automatically submit to "if we don't like it we pull the plug". The tech people arn't very kind here. I guess a smaller goal of mine was to be able to do these things without consent. And I know this sounds sketchy, but I really have no malicious purpose at all. I just want to be able to. (And I need a few more years for the alcohol ;))
Probably something blocking the SSH, likely a firewall of some kind between the two subnets.
Could be. Are you usually able to SSH into machines on different subnets?
 
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#10
I'm alright with sketchy. My next suggestion was to get some wireless cams up, saving the streams to your server.

newtekie is most likely right, interaction between wireless and wired clients is probably heavily restricted. Heck they could have several zones set up like "student accessible computers" and the "ones your grades are stored on" as well. Don't know about them because you can't see them, makes it a little harder to hack :)