ISP Server Setup - OpenSUSE 10

This is a "copy & paste" HowTo! The easiest way to follow this tutorial is to use a command line client/SSH client (like PuTTY for Windows) and simply copy and paste the commands (except where you have to provide own information like IP addresses, hostnames, passwords,...). This helps to avoid typos.

ISP Server Setup - OpenSUSE 10

Version 1.2
Author: Till Brehm <t.brehm [at] projektfarm [dot] de>, Falko Timme
Last edited: 03/09/2006

This is a detailed description about the steps to be taken to setup a OpenSUSE 10.0 based server that offers all services needed by ISPs and hosters (web server (SSL-capable), mail server (with SMTP-AUTH and TLS!), DNS server, FTP server, MySQL server, POP3/IMAP, Quota, Firewall, etc.) and the ISPConfig control panel.

I will use the following software:

  • Web Server: Apache 2.0.x
  • Mail Server: Postfix (easier to configure than sendmail; has a shorter history of security holes than sendmail)
  • DNS Server: BIND9
  • FTP Server: proftpd (ISPConfig will not work with vsftpd on OpenSUSE 10.0)
  • POP3/IMAP: I will use Maildir format and therefore install Courier-POP3/Courier-IMAP.
  • Webalizer for web site statistics

In the end you should have a system that works reliably and is ready for the free webhosting control panel ISPConfig (i.e., ISPConfig runs on it out of the box).

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


To install such a system you will need the following:

1 The Base System

Boot from your first OpenSUSE 10-CD and select Installation from the boot screen:

SuSe Linux is booting, to see a more detailed booting progress press Escape:

Select your language:

Skip the media check by clicking on Next:

Accept the licence agreement:

The installer analyzes your system. Select your time zone next:

Select Other and click on Select...:

For a server setup, I select Text Mode and go with Next to the next installation step which lists the installation settings on the following screen (Installation Settings). You can change each of its choices by navigating to the appropriate headline. First, I change the partitioning scheme:

Click on Partitioning and then on Create Custom Partition Setup and click Next:

Select Custom Partitioning (for experts):

Now we create the partitions. I will use the following partition scheme:

/boot 50 MB
/swap 1GB
/ 10 GB
/var the rest of the hard disk

Creating a partition: Click on create, select primary partition, select the format. I will use EXT3 for all partitions except the swap partition, that is of type swap. Then select the mountpoint corresponding to the above partitioning scheme.

Your partition table should look now similar to this one here, depending on your hard disk size. Click on Finish to proceed to the next step.

Share this page:

Suggested articles

10 Comment(s)

Add comment


By: Anonymous

why do you reccomend using a text based OS? couldn't i just use KDE or GNOME?

By: Anonymous

You -could-, but the author is presenting this as a server installation, not a desktop installation. Typically, your server is supposed to 'server', more than be a desktop. If you want to build a desktop system, use KDE, Gnome, whatever.

By: Anonymous

Hi Falco - Thanks for what you do. I'm a "newbie". I have a 9.3 install, but want to upgrade to 10.0 any changes now that 10.0 has been released?


By: Anonymous

Thank you very much for providing such an excellent material. Regards, Martin.

By: Anonymous

Excellent writeup. I'd just like to add that I had to remove the startup/kill links and readd them to get the ispconfig_server and freshclam to start after reboot. For whatever reason, 3 different systems would not restart those things correctly after a reboot. Here is the easiest way to do it:

cd /etc/init.d ; find . -name ???ispconfig_server -exec rm {} \; ; chkconfig --add ispconfig_server

Works like a champ after that. Thanks for the great howto!

By: Anonymous

I believe the procmail setup no longer works now that SUSE 10 Pro came out. From my experience all the tests mentioned here pass fine, but email sent to/from the server get lost with no error messages whatsover (I have not inspected the logs yet though).

Also, the courier-* IMAP package(s) no longer exist in the distribution. There is a package named imap, but that is it.

I used several of the other (non-email) configuration instructions and they all worked great. I look forward to an update to this HowTo for the formal SUSE 10 release.

By: Anonymous

procmail works OK with suse 10.0 courier-imap is present on the dvd iso but not on the CD iso's, don't ask me why.

By: Anonymous

I run a small web / email / dns server for a few of my clients. The current server was fast approaching 6 years old and needed to be upgraded. Along with a hardware upgrade, a peer of mine advised to switch from FreeBSD ( version 4.x ) to Suse 10. After many attempts to set the box up correctly ( I kept crossing stumbling blocks due to my lack of knowledge to any UNIX based O/S ), I found this manual...


The only issue occured during the whole setup was installing ISPConfig and it not accepting my mysql root passwrd. After 2+ hours I finally figured out that ISPConfig did not like special characters in mysql root password ( might want to add this tip to your manual :) ). Once that was figured out, smooth as silk !!!!

I rely greatly on the internet to help me manage my server and your manaul for setting up Suse as an ISP was greatly appreciated and kudos for writting it !!! Job well done !!

Keep up the great work !!

By: Anonymous

I would like to thank you for this great manual.
I needed to replace a dead Sun Cobalt Webserver a.s.a.p. The only thing I had left standing was a normal server suitable for Suse 10. With this manual I setup the server with all the services with no problem at all. Hope to see a lot more manuals from you.

By: powderskier


Hi Falko/Till,

 First off, you have both done an awesome job on the tutorial. You should really consider doing this professionally for Novell/Red Hat, since their documentation is fairly atrocious when it comes to missing steps or information.

 I want to ask how secure this setup is? Are people using this exact setup for production web servers? Is this meant only for testing environments? Could this be used for a company as an internal corporate web/intranet server provided its secure?

Has anyone audited this setup against snort, nessus, etc. 

Thanks for your time in helping others,