The Perfect Server - Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) with Apache, PHP, MySQL, PureFTPD, BIND, Postfix, Dovecot and ISPConfig 3.1

This tutorial shows the installation of an Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) web hosting server with Apache2, Postfix, Dovecot, Bind and PureFTPD to prepare it for the installation of ISPConfig 3.1. The resulting system will provide a Web, Mail, Mailinglist, DNS and FTP Server.

ISPConfig 3 is a web hosting control panel that allows you to configure the following services through a web browser: Apache or nginx web server, Postfix mail server, Courier or Dovecot IMAP/POP3 server, MySQL, BIND or MyDNS nameserver, PureFTPd, SpamAssassin, ClamAV, and many more. This setup covers the installation of Apache (instead of Nginx), BIND (instead of MyDNS), and Dovecot (instead of Courier).

This tutorial is about Ubuntu 17.04, a non-LTS (Long Term Support) version. Most users prefer an LTS version as server which gets updates and security patches for a much longer time. The latest LTS release is Ubuntu 16.04, this tutorial exists in a Ubuntu 16.04 version as well. Consider carefully if you need latest packages (and don't have a problem with a short support period), then continue with this tutorial. If you need longtime support, then please use the Ubuntu 16.04 Perfect Server Tutorial instead.

1. 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.  Before proceeding further you need to have a basic minimal installation of Ubuntu 17.04 as explained in the tutorial.

2. Edit /etc/apt/sources.list And Update Your Linux Installation

Edit /etc/apt/sources.list. Comment out or remove the installation CD from the file and make sure that the universe and multiverse repositories are enabled. It should look like this afterwards:

nano /etc/apt/sources.list


# deb cdrom:[Ubuntu-Server 17.04 _Zesty Zapus_ - Release amd64 (20170412)]/ zesty main restricted

#deb cdrom:[Ubuntu-Server 17.04 _Zesty Zapus_ - Release amd64 (20170412)]/ zesty main restricted

# See for how to upgrade to
# newer versions of the distribution.
deb zesty main restricted
# deb-src zesty main restricted

## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
## distribution.
deb zesty-updates main restricted
# deb-src zesty-updates main restricted

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team. Also, please note that software in universe WILL NOT receive any
## review or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb zesty universe
# deb-src zesty universe
deb zesty-updates universe
# deb-src zesty-updates universe

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in
## multiverse WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu
## security team.
deb zesty multiverse
# deb-src zesty multiverse
deb zesty-updates multiverse
# deb-src zesty-updates multiverse

## N.B. software from this repository may not have been tested as
## extensively as that contained in the main release, although it includes
## newer versions of some applications which may provide useful features.
## Also, please note that software in backports WILL NOT receive any review
## or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb zesty-backports main restricted universe multiverse
# deb-src zesty-backports main restricted universe multiverse

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
## 'partner' repository.
## This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is offered by Canonical and the
## respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu users.
# deb zesty partner
# deb-src zesty partner

deb zesty-security main restricted
# deb-src zesty-security main restricted
deb zesty-security universe
# deb-src zesty-security universe
deb zesty-security multiverse
# deb-src zesty-security multiverse

Then run

apt-get update

to update the apt package database and

apt-get upgrade

to install the latest updates (if there are any). If you see that a new kernel gets installed as part of the updates, you should reboot the system afterwards:



3. Change the Default Shell

/bin/sh is a symlink to /bin/dash, however we need /bin/bash, not /bin/dash. Therefore, we do this:

dpkg-reconfigure dash

Use dash as the default system shell (/bin/sh)? <-- No

If you don't do this, the ISPConfig installation will fail.


4. Disable AppArmor

AppArmor is a security extension (similar to SELinux) that should provide extended security. In my opinion, you don't need it to configure a secure system, and it usually causes more problems than advantages (think of it after you have done a week of trouble-shooting because some service wasn't working as expected, and then you find out that everything was ok, only AppArmor was causing the problem). Therefore, I disable it (this is a must if you want to install ISPConfig later on).

We can disable it like this:

service apparmor stop
update-rc.d -f apparmor remove
apt-get remove apparmor apparmor-utils


5. Synchronize the System Clock

It is a good idea to synchronize the system clock with an NTP (network time protocol) server over the Internet when you run a physical server. In case you run a virtual server then you should skip this step. Just run

apt-get -y install ntp

and your system time will always be in sync.


6. Install Postfix, Dovecot, MariaDB, rkhunter and binutils

For installing postfix, we need to ensure that sendmail is not installed and running. To stop and remove sendmail run this command:

service sendmail stop; update-rc.d -f sendmail remove

The error message:

Failed to stop sendmail.service: Unit sendmail.service not loaded.

Is ok, it just means that sendmail was not installed, so there was nothing to be removed.

Now we can install Postfix, Dovecot, MariaDB (as MySQL replacement), rkhunter, and binutils with a single command:

apt-get -y install postfix postfix-mysql postfix-doc mariadb-client mariadb-server openssl getmail4 rkhunter binutils dovecot-imapd dovecot-pop3d dovecot-mysql dovecot-sieve dovecot-lmtpd sudo

You will be asked the following questions:

General type of mail configuration: <-- Internet Site
System mail name: <--

It is important that you use a subdomain as "system mail name" like or and not a domain that you want to use as email domain (e.g. yourdomain.tld) later.

Next, open the TLS/SSL and submission ports in Postfix:

nano /etc/postfix/

Uncomment the submission and smtps sections as follows - add the line -o smtpd_client_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject to both sections and leave everything thereafter commented:

submission inet n       -       -       -       -       smtpd
  -o syslog_name=postfix/submission
  -o smtpd_tls_security_level=encrypt
  -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes
  -o smtpd_client_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
#  -o smtpd_reject_unlisted_recipient=no
#  -o smtpd_client_restrictions=$mua_client_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_helo_restrictions=$mua_helo_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_sender_restrictions=$mua_sender_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_recipient_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
#  -o milter_macro_daemon_name=ORIGINATING
smtps     inet  n       -       -       -       -       smtpd
  -o syslog_name=postfix/smtps
  -o smtpd_tls_wrappermode=yes
  -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes
  -o smtpd_client_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
#  -o smtpd_reject_unlisted_recipient=no
#  -o smtpd_client_restrictions=$mua_client_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_helo_restrictions=$mua_helo_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_sender_restrictions=$mua_sender_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_recipient_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
#  -o milter_macro_daemon_name=ORIGINATING

NOTE: The whitespaces in front of the "-o .... " lines are important!

Restart Postfix afterward:

service postfix restart

We want MySQL to listen on all interfaces, not just localhost. Therefore, we edit /etc/mysql/mariadb.conf.d/50-server.cnf and comment out the line bind-address = and add the line sql-mode="NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION":

nano /etc/mysql/mariadb.conf.d/50-server.cnf

# Instead of skip-networking the default is now to listen only on
# localhost which is more compatible and is not less secure.
#bind-address           =



Now we set a root password in MariaDB. Run:


You will be asked these questions:

Enter current password for root (enter for none): <-- press enter
Set root password? [Y/n] <-- y
New password: <-- Enter the new MariaDB root password here
Re-enter new password: <-- Repeat the password
Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] <-- y
Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] <-- y
Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] <-- y

Set the password authentication method in MariaDB to native so we can use PHPMyAdmin later to connect as root user:

echo "update mysql.user set plugin = 'mysql_native_password' where user='root';" | mysql -u root

Edit the file /etc/mysql/debian.cnf and set the MYSQL / MariaDB root password there twice in the rows that start with password.

nano /etc/mysql/debian.cnf

The MySQL root password that needs to be added is shown in read, in this example the password is "howtoforge".

# Automatically generated for Debian scripts. DO NOT TOUCH!
host = localhost
user = root
password = howtoforge
socket = /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock
host = localhost
user = root
password = howtoforge
socket = /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock
basedir = /usr

Then we restart MariaDB:

service mysql restart

Now check that networking is enabled. Run

netstat -tap | grep mysql

The output should look like this:

root@server1:~# netstat -tap | grep mysql
tcp6 0 0 [::]:mysql [::]:* LISTEN 28036/mysqld

7. Install Amavisd-new, SpamAssassin, and Clamav

To install amavisd-new, SpamAssassin, and ClamAV, we run

apt-get -y install amavisd-new spamassassin clamav clamav-daemon zoo unzip bzip2 arj nomarch lzop cabextract apt-listchanges libnet-ldap-perl libauthen-sasl-perl clamav-docs daemon libio-string-perl libio-socket-ssl-perl libnet-ident-perl zip libnet-dns-perl postgrey

The ISPConfig 3 setup uses amavisd which loads the SpamAssassin filter library internally, so we can stop SpamAssassin to free up some RAM:

service spamassassin stop
update-rc.d -f spamassassin remove

To start ClamAV use:

service clamav-daemon start

The following error can be ignored on the first run of freshclam.

ERROR: /var/log/clamav/freshclam.log is locked by another process
ERROR: Problem with internal logger (UpdateLogFile = /var/log/clamav/freshclam.log).

7.1 Install Metronome XMPP Server (optional)

The Metronome XMPP Server provides an XMPP chat server. This step is optional, if you do not need a chat server, then you can skip this step. No other ISPConfig functions depend on this software.

Install the following packages with apt.

apt-get -y install git lua5.1 liblua5.1-0-dev lua-filesystem libidn11-dev libssl-dev lua-zlib lua-expat lua-event lua-bitop lua-socket lua-sec luarocks luarocks

luarocks install lpc

Add a shell user for Metronome.

adduser --no-create-home --disabled-login --gecos 'Metronome' metronome

Download Metronome to the /opt directory and compile it.

cd /opt; git clone metronome
cd ./metronome; ./configure --ostype=debian --prefix=/usr
make install

Metronome has now be installed to /opt/metronome.

Share this page:

Suggested articles

7 Comment(s)

Add comment


From: thctlo at: 2017-05-13 19:43:17

Hai, small tip, in step 6. 

Its not needed to first remove exim, that can be done at the install of postfix, like this:

apt-get -y install --purge postfix postfix-mysql... ect. 

This installs postfix and remove and purges exim. 


and thanks for the hard work, great guide as everytime. 

From: Andy at: 2017-05-17 08:50:53


Thanks for the tut

I cant get phpmyadmin to accept uploads more than 2048kb even with changing all the php.ini files, and rebooting..


any ideas?

From: 2spiK at: 2017-06-14 16:54:29

The SSL stack doesn't work... 

From: till at: 2017-06-14 17:03:19

The SSL stack works fine as installed with this tutorial. If SSL does not work on your server, then you might haven entered something wrong during SSL cert creation or you missed to install a package. Please post in the forum when you need help to solve the problem on your server.

From: Danny at: 2017-06-15 06:42:39

HI There, i followed the instuctions of 16.10, but after a upgrade to 17.04 i have 2 problems:

1. I have to remove the ",usrjquota=quota.user,,jqfmt=vfsv0" line. Leaving it would result ain a maintanance massega in boot and unable to get into the login screen.

2. Even tough the Spamfiltersettings in ISPconfig where PERFECT. After the release upgrade it tags almost everything as SPAM. its rather annoying.

anybody else have these problems and how to solve it?


From: Radek Hemelik at: 2017-06-16 20:14:47

Please, where is download link to virtual image of this tutorial? Thnx.

From: till at: 2017-06-17 08:56:32

The right menu at the top, below the red download icon.