How To Install Webmin with SSL on Ubuntu 14.04

Introduction

Webmin is a web-based system administration tool for Unix-like systems. It provides an easy alternative to command line system administration and can be used to manage various aspects of a system, such as users and services, through the use of the provided Webmin modules. If you want to manage your own server but you are uncomfortable with the command line, Webmin is a good tool to help you get started.

This tutorial covers the installation of Webmin with SSL using apt-get on Ubuntu 14.04.

Prerequisites

To install Webmin, you will need to have access to a user with root privileges. It is recommended that you set up a non-root user with sudo access by following steps 1-3 of this link: Initial Server Setup with Ubuntu 14.04. This user will also be used to login to the Webmin interface, and Webmin will use the credentials to administer your server.

Note that you are required to use password-based authentication enabled to log in to your server via Webmin.

Log in Via SSH

Log in to your server as the new user that you created (or root) via SSH (substitute your user name and server IP address here):

Answer the password prompt to complete the login process.

Let’s get started with the Webmin installation!

Install Webmin

To install Webmin via apt-get, you must first add the Webmin repository to your sources.list file.

On your server, open the sources.list file in your favorite text editor. We will use nano in this tutorial:

If you are prompted for a “[sudo] password”, enter your user’s password.

Now press Ctrl-W then Ctrl-V to navigate to the end of the file, then add the following lines to the file:

When you are finished editing, save the file by pressing Ctrl-X, then y, RETURN.

Now add the Webmin GPG key to apt, so the source repository you added will be trusted. This command will do that:

Before installing Webmin, you must update apt-get’s package lists:

Now run this apt-get command to install Webmin:

Enter y to confirm the installation.

After the installation is complete, the Webmin service will start automatically.

Log in to Webmin

In a web browser, access your server’s Webmin login page via its public IP address (the same IP address you used to login via SSH) on port 10000. By default, Webmin will start with SSL/TLS enabled, so you will need to use HTTPS to connect to it.

Open this URL in your web browser (substitute the IP address):

You will be prompted with a warning that says your server’s SSL certificate is not trusted. This is because Webmin automatically generates and installs an SSL certificate upon installation, and this SSL certificate was not issued by a certificate authority that is trusted by your computer. Although your computer cannot verify the validity of the certificate, you know that you are, in fact, accessing your own server. It is fine to proceed.

Instruct your web browser to trust the certificate. If you are using Chrome, for example, click the Advancedlink, then click the Proceed to server_IP_address (unsafe) link. If you are using Firefox, click I Understand the Risks, then the Add Exception… button, then the Confirm Security Exception button.

Enter the same login credentials that you used to log in to your server via SSH. This user must have root privileges via sudo.

Congratulations! You have successfully installed Webmin, and it is ready to be used. Remember that, because you are using a privileged user to access Webmin, the Webmin application has full access to your server—keep your login credentials secure!

 Take some time to explore the modules that are available, to familiarize yourself with Webmin.