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Beginner’s Guide to Linux System Administration
  • Last Updated : 08 Jun, 2020

A Linux System Administrator manages the operations such as maintaining proper software, observing them, and even taking care of backup and hardware systems. It is recommended that before reading this article please go through the article What is Linux System Administration. Here we have some basics of Linux System Administration.

Some Basic Configurations

Set the Hostname: Open terminal and enter the following command in order to change the hostname.

sudo hostname your_hostname

Replace “your_hostname” with the hostname that you want to keep.

Setting up the time zone: Move to /usr/share/zoneinfo/your_zone and then link the zone file with /etc/localtime to set the time zone.

sudo ln -sf Kolkata /etc/localtime

File System and Management

Managing files is the most important task in Linux as all devices, directories, and packages are just a type of file in Linux.

1. To know about File system read the article File System in Linux.

2. To learn more about Linux file hierarchy structure you can read the article Linux File System Hierarchy

3. To get the difference between Linux and Windows File System read the article Windows vs Linux

Below is the list of some file management comamnds in Linux:

cdUsed to change the current directory
lsUsed to list the directories and files in a directory
viA good text editor to edit files
touchUsed to create new files
nanoA good text editor to edit files
cpUsed to copy files and directories.
mvUsed to move files and directories.
rmUsed to remove files and directories.
fdiskUsed to partition disks and to work with file systems
mountUsed to mount a file system or a device

You can also read the file management in Linux from the article

Networking Commands

Networking commands play an important role in system Administration and a good system Administrator must have good hands-on networking commands. Here is a list of such commands that are mostly used for networking in Linux.

routeused to view and manipulate ip routing tables.
pingUsed to send some packets to a server and receive them back in case of a good network connection.
tracerouteUsed to trace the path taken by the traffic.
nslookupUsed for querying the Domain Name System to obtain domain name or IP address mapping, or other DNS records.
ifconfigUsed to view and change the configuration of the network interfaces on your system
tracepathUsed to traces path to destination discovering MTU along this path
sshProvides a secure encrypted connection between two hosts over an insecure network
telnetUsed to test if a port is open and even to work with telnet protocol.
curlUsed to transfer data to or from a server, using any of the supported protocols.
scpUsed to securely copy files and directories between two locations over a network.
wProvides a quick summary of every user logged into a computer
netcatused for performing any operation in Linux related to TCP, UDP, or UNIX-domain sockets
nmapUsed for network exploration and security auditing
netstatUsed for for monitoring network connections both incoming and outgoing as well as viewing routing tables, interface statistics etc
ipUsed to assign an address to a network interface and/or configure network interface parameters on Linux operating systems

To learn more about Linux networking commands then read the article Linux Networking Tools

Managing Users and Group in Linux

A system administrator has to manage the users working on the system. Users are the accounts which are logged in to your system or may log in to the system. Each user in Linux has a unique UID to identify the user. All information of the users is stored in /etc/passwd file and all hashed passwords are stored in /etc/shadow file. There are basically 2 types of user in Linux on the basis of their rights to access.

  • Superuser or Administrator
  • General users

Each user may or may not be a part of a group which is a collection of users. To learn more about users in Linux go through the article Users in Linux System Administration. Here is a list of commands that are used to manage users.

usermodUsed to modify users and their respective settings
useraddUsed to add a new user
su and sudoUsed to change the user and work with root
chageUsed to change the user’s aging/expiry information
groupdelUsed to delete a group
gpasswdUsed to change password of group
groupmodUsed to modify group and its settings
groupaddUsed to add a new group

To learn more about how to manage users read the article User Management in Linux

To learn more about how to manage groups read the article Group Management in Linux

System Diagnostics/Monitor Performance

A System Administrator should be able to diagnose problems in a system and even to monitor the performance of the system so that it may be improved. Here is the list of some useful commands for the same.

topUsed to display the running processes.
vmstatUsed to get information about processes, memory, paging, block IO, disk and CPU scheduling
lsofUsed to check list of open files.
htopUsed to determine the cause of load of each process
iostatUsed to monitor IO devices loading

Reading and Analysing Logs

A good system Administrator must have an idea of how to read and manage logs as they give a lot of crucial and required information.

dmesgUsed to print the message buffer of the kernel
tailUsed to print details from the log files located in the folder /var/log
journalctlUsed to read systemd logs

Attention reader! Don’t stop learning now. Get hold of all the important DSA concepts with the DSA Self Paced Course at a student-friendly price and become industry ready.

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