There is a new version of this tutorial available for Debian 10 (Buster).

The Perfect Server - Debian Squeeze (Debian 6.0) With BIND, Dovecot & Nginx [ISPConfig 3]

Edited and compiled by Daniel Harbottle

This tutorial shows how to prepare a Debian Squeeze (Debian 6.0) server for the installation of ISPConfig 3, and how to install ISPConfig 3. ISPConfig 3 is a webhosting control panel that allows you to configure the following services through a web browser: nginx or Apache web server, Postfix mail server, MySQL, BIND nameserver, PureFTPd, SpamAssassin, ClamAV, and many more.

This tutorial is based on the excellent tutorials "The Perfect Server - Debian Squeeze (Debian 6.0) With BIND & Dovecot [ISPConfig 3]" and "The Perfect Server - Ubuntu 11.10 With Nginx [ISPConfig 3]" with a few tweaks. The idea is to use the fast and memory efficient nginx web server and Dovecot which is also said to be more memory efficient. I offer no guarantees that it will work for you even though it has tested on local VM and a VPS. You will need to use the Dotdeb repository for nginx.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Requirements

You will need a bare metal or virtual machine or VPS with at least 8GB disk space 1GB of RAM and a reasonably fast internet connection to pull all the packages from the Debian repositories.

At the time of writing the latest version of Debian is 6.0.4. You can download and burn an ISO or have it mounted with your chosen virtual machine management GUI or commandline utility.

The AMD64 ISO CD1 image can be found on:

Most computers these days are 64-bit capable but you can always use the i386 image found here:

You may also use the netinstall CD it should not make a huge difference except all of the packages you install are downloaded from the internet during setup.


2 Preliminary Note

In this tutorial I use the hostname with the IP address and the gateway These settings might differ for you, so you have to replace them where appropriate.


3 The Base System

Insert your Debian Squeeze network installation CD into your system and boot from it. Select Install (this will start the text installer - if you prefer a graphical installer, select Graphical install):

Choose your language:

Then select your location:

If you've selected an uncommon combination of language and location (like English as the language and Germany as the location, as in my case), the installer might tell you that there is no locale defined for this combination; in this case you have to select the locale manually. I select en_US.UTF-8 here:

Choose a keyboard layout:

The installer checks the installation CD, your hardware, and configures the network with DHCP if there is a DHCP server in the network:

Enter the hostname you would like to set. This should be a combination of an arbitary hostname and domain name e.g. This is also touched upon later in the tutorial. In this example, the system is called, so enter

Enter your domain name. In this example, this is

Afterwards, give the root user a password:

Confirm that password to avoid typos:

Create a normal user account, for example the user Administrator with the user name administrator (don't use the user name admin as it is a reserved name on Debian Squeeze):

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