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How to set up your own FreeBSD server and what are the advantages of the OS

An operating system is one of the basic components to choose whenever you are going to start something on a server. The operating system is the environment for all solutions you install afterward, so it fundamentally determines your entire further interaction with your server. With most options offered being either Windows server or one of the common Linux distros, there is also a third option, namely VPS FreeBSD. FreeBSD is also a free open-source UNIX-like operating system. However, UNIX-like doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a Linux distro. The system has its own kernel and has thus a bunch of features that make it particularly special. Today we want to have a look at setting up FreeBSD on your server as well as get acquainted with some of the features of the system that are worth your attention.

FreeBSD Advantages

Stability: FreeBSD is one of the oldest operating systems that has a long history of development and an extensive background of implementation on servers, which is why it’s often praised for its stability and reliability.

Security: Security is one of the best-developed aspects of the OS. For instance, you can benefit from such features as Jails, that will allow you to isolate apps and services, so as to diminish the risks of security breaches.

Performance: FreeBSD is well optimized for such areas as networking and file system operations where it gives you the most optimal performance indicators.

Licensing: FreeBSD is based on the BSD License which will open you a great perspective on using and distributing the software.

Community: Being a mature OS that has always been broadly used on servers, the system enjoys a vast community of professionals who can provide you with the necessary support at any time.

Compatibility: Another feature of FreeBSD is POSIX compliance. This means that many apps and software created for Unix-like systems are easy to port onto FreeBSD.

Setting Up Your Freebsd Server

Download FreeBSD: Go to the official FreeBSD website (https://www.freebsd.org/), find the version you wish to install, and download it. 

Create installation media: Record the downloaded image onto a CD/DVD or a bootable USB flash drive.

Install FreeBSD: Boot your server from the installation media. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation process. You’ll have to partition the hard drive, perform the networking configuration, select which basic software to install, and similar. You can find more information on the installation of FreeBSD in the corresponding Handbook at https://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/.

Note: Your hosting provider may offer an option of pre-installing the system or installing in through the VNC panel. In this case, the first steps will be simplified to choosing the system you want to install on in the VNC. If the provider allows you to install an OS of your choice, but there is no FreeBSD or a particular version you want to install, you’ll have to contact your provider and request the OS installation from your own ISO.

Basic configuration: Once the OS installation if completed in this or that way, you’ll have to configure some basic parameters. These include hostname, networking, time zone, and others.  You can either use the sysinstall tool or edit the config files by hand.

Package management: Install the packages that you need. You’ll have to use the FreeBSD packages manager “pkg”. For instance, to install the Apache web server, you’ll have to type:

pkg install apache24.

Security: Apply some basic security measures. They include firewall rules, regularly updating the system (through freebsd-update), and further best practices. Pay attention to some built-in security features of FreeBSD, such as Jails and mandatory access controls (MAC).

Service configuration: Now it’s time to install some basic services you may need. This can be web servers (Apache or Nginx), databases (MySQL or PostgreSQL), email servers (Postfix or Sendmail), and others.

Regular maintenance: Update the system regularly to keep track of new features, bugs, and vulnerability fixes.

Backup and monitoring: Backup is a necessary strategy you should implement if you want to guarantee the integrity of your data regardless of circumstances. System monitoring is necessary to keep track of what is going on, whether there are any suspicious events, or a need for a server upgrade. Follow these practices and install the corresponding solutions you prefer to ensure the stability, reliability, and security of your server.

Documentation: Documenting the configuration and the events on your server makes the solution of occasional technical issues easier either for you or for your hoster’s support team.

Conclusion

FreeBSD may sound to your ear not as familiar as Windows or Linux, but it is one of the major operating systems that are broadly implemented on networking devices in particular, having its unique set of features and benefits. We hope that this article has made it clear for you, what FreeBSD and its features are, and now you know what to do if you want to install the OS on your server. 

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