Build a CentOS 7 Server

Configured with Apache, PHP, Perl, Ruby,
MariaDB, phpMyAdmin, NTP, and PureFTP

by Edward Kimmel

Use Bootable USB Drive or DVD to Install CentOS 7

Build a
CentOS 7 Server
Part 1 Page 3
  • Edward Kimmel
    January 26, 2020

Start The CentOS 7 Server Installation

  Insert the installation DVD into your drive or insert the USD drive into an unused USB port and turn on the computer. You may have to change the computer BIOS setting to boot from the DVD or USB device, refer to your computer's technical support if you need help as this is outside the scope of this tutorial. Some computers will let you select a boot device by pressing a function key as soon as it starts it's BIOS boot.

Starting The Installation Process

  You will see a bunch of scrolling lines of text on your screen once the computer starts to boot from the installation media. The default selection "Test this media & install CentOS 7" will automatically start in 60 seconds if you do nothing. I would recommend to choose this option if you are using your installation media for the first time to confirm it was created properly without flaws. You can press "I" or "M" to toggle selections or use the keyboard "Arrow Up" or "Arrow Down" keys.

   When the line of text is white, it is selected. After you have made your choice of the type of installation process you want, you then hit the "Enter" key to start the installation process.


Select Installation Language

  Before starting the installation process itself, select which language you would like to use during installation. The default option is English.

  Click "Continue" after you made your language selection. You will land on the CentOS 7 main "Installation Summary" screen that will have multiple settings for you to choose from.

  There are a couple of settings you would want to configure. All items marked with a warning icon must be configured before you begin the installation.

  You may not have to set each of the settings but I will go through most of them to give you an idea what they do.


Set Date and Time

  To set a date and time for the system, click the "Date & Time" icon under the Localization heading. Select a region/time zone on the map of the world as seen below.

  Once you have selected your time zone, hit "Done" to save your changes.


Keyboard Layout

  Select the "Keyboard" option under the Localization heading to set the keyboard layout.

  The system default is English (US) and the language you selected in the initial window. Click the "Plus" icon to add more layouts. Move a layout to the top of the list to make it the default option.

  Click the "Options" button to define a key combination for switching between keyboard layouts. When you are satisfied with the settings defined, select the "Done" button to confirm the changes.


System Language

  Select the "Language Support" option under the Localization heading. The language selected in the "Welcome to CentOS 7" window will be the default system language.

  If necessary, select additional languages and hit the "Done" button once you are finished.


Software Selection

  Select the "Software Selection" option under the Software heading. You will see a list of predefined Base Environment options and optional add-ons. This part entirely depends on your needs.

  • Minimal Install. This is the most flexible and least resource-demanding option. Excellent for production
  • Predefined Server Options. If you are 100% certain about the role of your server and don’t want to customize it for its role, select one of the predefined server environments.
  • GNOME Desktop and KDE Plasma Workspaces. These environments include a full graphical user interface.

  When you have selected the base environment and optional add-ons, click the "Done" button. Wait for the system to check for software dependencies before you move on to the next option.


Select Installation Destination

  Click the "Installation Destination" option under the System heading.

  Check your machine’s storage under the "Local Standard Disks" heading. CentOS 7 will be installed on the selected disk.

Hard Drive Partitioning

  Option 1: Automatic Partitioning

  Under the Other Storage Options heading, select the "Automatically configure partitioning" check box. This ensures the selected destination storage disk will automatically partition with the "/(root)", "/home" and "swap" partitions. It will automatically create an LVM logical volume in the "XFS file system".

  If you do not have enough free space, you can reclaim disk space and instruct the system to delete files.

  When finished, click the "Done" button.

  Option 2: Manual Partitioning

  Select the "I will configure partitioning" check box and choose "Done".

  If you want to use other file systems (such as "ext4" and "vfat") and a non-LVM partitioning scheme, such as "btrfs". This will initiate a configuration pop-up where you can set up your partitioning manually.

  This is an advanced setting option, very much based on your requirements.


Configuring KDUMP

  KDUMP is enabled by default.

  To disable the KDUMP kernel crash dumping mechanism, select the "KDUMP" option under the System heading and uncheck the "Enable kdump" check box. Click the "Done" button to confirm your changes.

Note: 
KDUMP captures system information at the time of a crash. It helps you diagnose the cause 
of the crash. When enabled, kdump reserves a portion of system memory.

Set Network IP and Server Hostname

  Click the "Network & Host Name" option under the System heading.

  For the hostname, type in the fully qualified domain name of your system. In my example, I will set the "Hostname" as mail.laurelhosting.com, where mail is the hostname while laurelhosting.com is the domain. Click "Apply" to save Hostname.

  Select "Configure" and then select to add "IPv4" settings or "IPv6" settings depending on what your network is using. Add static IP addresses to help identify your computer on the network. Bear in mind that your network environment’s settings define these values.

  To add a static IP address:

1. Select Manual from the Method drop-down.
2. Click the Add button to add a static IP address.
3. Enter the information for your network domain.

  • IP Address
  • Netmask Address
  • Gateway Address
  • DNS Servers Address

4. By default, all detected Ethernet connections are disabled. Select "General" tab.

5. Check the box "Automatically connect to this network when it is available" and then click "Save".

You should now see that your network connection is active and your Hostname is set. Click "Done".


Set Security Policy

  Select the "Security Policy" option under the System heading.

  Choose a profile from the list and click "Select profile".

  Click the "Done" button to confirm your selection.


Begin OS Installation

  Once everything is set up according to your liking, click "Begin Installation" to start the install. This will start the initial installation process.


Enter Root Superuser Password

  To define the root user, select the "Root Password" icon.

  Enter a strong "Root Password" and then re-enter it in "Confirm" field.

  Root user password should consist of at least 12 characters, including uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. I cannot stress enough the importance of a well-defined root password, the security of your server depends upon it.

  Click the "Done" button to proceed.


Create Server Administrator

  To begin, select the "User Creation" option.

  Add a new system account user by defining the "Full name", "User name", and "Password". I recommend you check the "Make this user administrator" and "Require a password to use this account" check boxes. This will grant the user root privileges.

  After you fill in all of the fields and define a secure password, click "Done" in the upper-left corner of the screen.


Reboot Your Server

  Wait for the installation process to complete.

  Before you start using your new CentOS installation, click "Reboot" to reboot the system and finalized the installation.

  If you selected a any type of Desktop GUI (Graphical User Interface) in your software selection, you will need to accept the "License Agreement" before you can log in for the first time. Select the "License Information" icon.

  Check the "I accept the license agreement" box and then click "Done".

  Now click the "Finish Configuration" to get to the main CentOS log in screen.

  To log in using your "root" credentials you will need to click on "Not listed?".

  Enter "root" for the Username.

  Enter the "Password" for root.

  Now you have logged into your server for the first time. Always log in as "root" to continue this tutorial. Once your server has been set up, you would log in using the "Administrator" account.

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