Server Additions

Following is recommended for a long-running system with no interactive users.

Suspend & Hibernate

If you run your server on a laptop, it should not power-down, hibernate or suspend, when idle or the lid is closed. In Ubuntu this is handled by systemd and its login-manager. There is a configuration file called /etc/systemd/logind.conf and a man page called logind.conf.

 1 #  This file is part of systemd.
 2 #
 3 #  systemd is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
 4 #  under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by
 5 #  the Free Software Foundation; either version 2.1 of the License, or
 6 #  (at your option) any later version.
 7 #
 8 # See logind.conf(5) for details
10 [Login]
11 #NAutoVTs=6
12 #ReserveVT=6
13 #KillUserProcesses=no
14 #KillOnlyUsers=
15 #KillExcludeUsers=root
16 Controllers=blkio cpu cpuacct cpuset devices freezer hugetlb memory perf_event net_cls net_prio
17 ResetControllers=
18 #InhibitDelayMaxSec=5
19 #HandlePowerKey=poweroff
20 HandleSuspendKey=ignore
21 HandleHibernateKey=ignore
22 HandleLidSwitch=ignore
23 #PowerKeyIgnoreInhibited=no
24 #SuspendKeyIgnoreInhibited=no
25 #HibernateKeyIgnoreInhibited=no
26 #LidSwitchIgnoreInhibited=yes
27 IdleAction=ignore
28 #IdleActionSec=30min

Restart of the systemd-logind service is required to activate the changes:

$ sudo restart systemd-logind

Automatic Updates


The system must be able to send out mails, for this to work. See Mail Servers

There are to things here:

  1. Security updates should be installed automatically.

  2. Other updates should be just downloaded but not automatically installed.

In either case we will be notified by mail.

Unattended Upgrades

The unattended-upgrades package is used to automatically install updated packages. It is installed if selected during OS installation.

If it is not already, install it as follows:

$ sudo apt install unattended-upgrades

To configure unattended-upgrades, edit the file /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades and adjust the following to fit your needs:

Unattended-Upgrade::Allowed-Origins {
//      "${distro_id}:${distro_codename}-updates";
//      "${distro_id}:${distro_codename}-proposed";
//      "${distro_id}:${distro_codename}-backports";

Unattended-Upgrade::MinimalSteps "true";
Unattended-Upgrade::Mail "root";

To activate unattended-upgrades, edit /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades and set the appropriate apt configuration options:

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";
APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages "1";
APT::Periodic::AutocleanInterval "7";
APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "1";


apticron will configure a cron job to email an administrator information about any packages on the system that have updates available, as well as a summary of changes in each package.

To install the apticron package, in a terminal enter:

$ sudo apt install apticron

Once the package is installed edit /etc/apticron/apticron.conf, to set the email address and other options:


Users and Groups

Web servers run as the user www-data, with the security benefit, that they can’t access anything in the system, unless the user or group www-data has been specifically given access-rights. The downside is, server operators can’t see whats going on in the /var/www directory or publish anything.

To promote your own user-profile on the server to a real webmaster, add it to the www-data group:

$ sudo adduser $USER www-data

You have to logout and back in for the change to take effect.

Useful Tools

Some useful tools are not installed by default.

To install these run:

$ sudo apt-get install htop multitail pwgen molly-guard git mercurial

Login Screen

Display some system information on login:

$ sudo apt install landscape-common

Create and edit the file /etc/landscape/client.conf:

$ sudo nano /etc/landscape/client.conf
exclude_sysinfo_plugins = LandscapeLink

Create and edit the file /etc/update-motd.d/60-system-uptime:

$ sudo nano /etc/update-motd.d/60-system-uptime
# 60-system-uptime - print system uptime information
printf "  Last reboot:  $(uptime --since)  \n"
printf "  Uptime:       $(uptime --pretty) \n"

Make it executable and also disable the standard Ubuntu help text:

$ sudo chmod +x /etc/update-motd.d/60-system-uptime
$ sudo chmod -x /etc/update-motd.d/10-help-text