Using Webmin on a smartphone

Although I administer most servers via SSH, I also use Webmin. Webmin is convenient for almost any simple administrative task, and is often better for some jobs. For instance, it is the easiest way I have found to browse Postfix email queues. Perhaps most importantly, it can save you from having to learn yet another daemon’s unique configuration language and syntax.

It can also be very handy if you have to fix something from your smartphone, where the command line isn’t always the best choice of tool. Enter: the Virtualmin Mobile/iPhone Theme.

The name of this package is misleading, as you might think it only for Virtualmin, or that it requires Virtualmin. Not true! It works with both packages, and greatly simplifies using Webmin on any smartphone. My Nokia e71, for instance, works very well with it.

It is easy to install. Download the latest .deb files for webmin and webmin-virtual-server-mobile from the Webmin site.
Unfortunately the latter is not in the APT repository Webmin maintains, so you’ll have to download it directly. Or, just get both packages from my repository.

There is only one catch: first install webmin, then install the mobile theme. The mobile theme package doesn’t list webmin as a Pre-Depends, but it will fail to install if webmin isn’t already configured by dpkg.

apt-get update
apt-get install webmin
apt-get install webmin-virtual-server-mobile

Once installed, just access webmin from your smartphone using the address you usually do. It will automatically detect your phone and present the correct CSS theme.

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  1. Nicolas Ward’s avatar

    I might have to set this up, since I’m in the process of moving my personal web server to Debian. Any not-so-obvious configuration recommendations?

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  2. tyler’s avatar

    Greetings from LJ-land, Nick!

    If you’re still starting that Debian move, may I recommend Ubuntu Server? Seriously. We migrated 9 servers from various Debian builds to Ubuntu dapper back in 2006, and then to Ubuntu hardy in 2008. It’s been nothing but smooth sailing ever since, especially with pbuilder to make packaging easy.

    As for webmin, the only thing I’d recommend doing right away is to configure the mysql module (you have to give it your mysql root password, or an equivalent root user, which will be in a root-readable file in /etc/webmin). Then tell webmin to backup your mysql databases on a daily schedule. For example, we dump all databases to /var/backups every night at 20:00. Then the normal remote-storage backup process runs at 20:30, which ensures that it gets both a copy of the running mysql server files in /var/lib/mysql, but also a known-good dump of the databases in /var/backups in case that live copy isn’t usable later. Even if you don’t use remote backup, having a regular dump of your DBs can really save you down the line.

    Reply

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