Webmin is a convenient way to administer a computer across the Internet. I use it in several projects.
You can download Webmin (13.7 MB) from http://www.webmin.com. Webmin is free, open source, and there is only one limitation, should you want to extend Webmin, Webmin is written in ancient hieroglyphics named Perl. A modern version written in PHP would be so easy to extend and integrate within other Web applications and Web sites.
One use of Webmin is to control a NAS (Network Attached Storage) computer. Webmin is the most successful of the NAS related applications in all my tests and is the one I am keeping in use. If the Qnap TS-210 software gained the reliability of Webmin, Qnap would be on a winner.
Overkill but flexible
Webmin is overkill for NAS but most of the excess remains switched off and out of your way. The advantage of Webmin is that you can use Webmin to manage your NAS boxes, print servers, Web servers, and a whole lot of other machines and you only have to learn the one interface.
Some things require user interaction and you will need a remote desktop tool for that. Your initial recovery from a hard ware crash will require hands on control. For almost everything else there is Webmin.
Webmin has a sibling application named Usermin for managing users.
Managing virtual machines
Webmin has a sibling application named Virtualmin for managing virtual machines.
Managing Ubuntu Linux
I tested Webmin on top of Ubuntu Linux. Most things worked easily. I started with the NAS box next to my desk, installed Ubuntu, then installed Webmin, then accessed and managed the NAS across the network through Webmin. Occasionally I went back to the Ubuntu login to install extra applications for Webmin. Now I have a small list of extra programs to install in Ubuntu when I am installing Webmin.
You can configure RAID from Webmin and it uses MDADM which is not included in the default Ubuntu desktop install. Webmin will report S.M.A.R.T. information from disks after you install a program in Ubuntu. Webmin will tell you what to install. You look in the Ubuntu program installer or the Synaptic Package Manager under administration and install the required program or an application that includes the required program.
Ubuntu is based on Debian and uses the Debian installation file. Ubuntu has more administration user interface programs than Debian and some of the programs required for Webmin are installed when you install the related administration application, giving you the choice of remote management via Webmin and local administration through the Ubuntu application.
You know the IP addresses of your servers, NAS, and regular computers because they get their IP addresses from your router via DHCP. If your NAS is 192.168.0.190, you access Webmin on the NAS using the following URL. You then login using your user name and password. Your Web browser will complain about an invalid security certificate and you will accept the certificate.
Do you want to access Webmin across the public Internet? After you finish customising Webmin, you can install a proper security certificate then make the IP address:port combination available to the public Internet through your router. The SSL security combined with a hard to guess user name and a harder to guess password will protect you.
You can add FTP and other forms of access. Each form will use one or a few ports that you can make public. You have to use the secure version of each including SFTP instead of FTP.
Webmin is a great way to remote manage your NAS boxes, servers, and most other computers for things that do not require user interaction.
Webmin is a convenient way to administer a computer across the Internet. You add Usermin and Virtualmin to administer Web sites. This page is an outline of an installation of Webmin, Usermin, and Virtualmin under CentOS for use on a Web development machine.
Update Dec 2010: I dropped CentOS and use Ubuntu.
Webmin is a convenient way to administer a computer across the Internet. You add Usermin and Virtualmin to administer Web sites. This page is an outline of an installation of Webmin, Usermin, and Virtualmin on Ubuntu 10.10 for use as a Web development machine and as network attached storage. The Webmin part is in progress and usermin is next.
I installed the Ubuntu 10.10 alternate AMD 64 download. The Ubuntu alternate version is the desktop version with the RAID installation option and is ideal for this project.
The standard installation of Webmin fails in Ubuntu 10.10 and 11.04. You have to install manually as described here.
Webmin installs as an application under Ubuntu 10.04 the same way you add any other program. The one extra step is adding of the Webmin repository to the Ubuntu Software Centre.