Build A Complete Linux Media Server – Debian Server Install

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Complete Linux Media Server

Debian Server Install

This article details how to create a standard, headless debian server install. For our linux media server project we will be using the latest version distribution available at the time of writing: Debian 8.3.

You can also use the process below to build a standard debian server. It will be headless, i.e. no desktop environment e.g. Gnome as we don’t want to waste resources on running a desktop environment we won’t be using after setup is complete.


  1. Download either the netinstall image iso or the first complete image iso in the series
    • The net installer is about 315MB, the complete CD is around 650MB. If you are going to ever install more than one machine then the complete CD is far better value!
  2. Create a new virtual machine (or prepare your physical server if that’s what you will use)
  3. Go through a default install as shown below:
    1. Choose “Install” from the boot up screendebian server install - 1
    2. Configure your language, keyboard and country fro the options given – here we are using UK Englishdebian server install - 2
    3. Give your server a hostname, in this case we are using “merlin”debian server install - 3
    4. When asked to input a root password, we advise leaving this blank – this disables root login which is more securedebian server install - 4
    5. Enter a username – we are using “merlin” again here. This user will be able to carry out root permission commands using “sudo”, i.e. it will be a member of the “wheel” groupdebian server install - 5
    6. Accept all the default disk partitioning prompts (guided, use entire disk) then click to finish and write the partitions to diskdebian server install - 6
    7. When prompted to scan another disk, answer “no” – CD1 is enough to create what we need for our debian server
    8. Choose “yes” to use a network mirror in the next step. Don’t worry! We will not be downloading large amounts in the initial configuration but we will need it for the installation of individual packages later on. Pick your country and the relevant local network mirror site for quicker access to packages.debian server install - 7
    9. For the “Select and install software” use the arrow and spacebar  keys to deselect “Debian Desktop Environment” and “print server”, select “SSH server” and leave “standard system utilities” selected as shown below:debian server install - 8
    10. Choose the default to install grub to the master boot record, in our case /dev/sda and then “continue to finish the installation. debian server install - 9
  4. Set a static IP address
    • This is important so that you can always find your server! The article > here < details how to do this via the /etc/network/interfaces file.
  5. Make sure you can connect via SSH
    • Use a terminal client like putty to make sure you can connect – this install will all be done via console or SSH as we do not have a desktop environment.
  6. Run
    sudo apt-get update

    and then

    sudo apt-get upgrade

    to make sure you have all the latest updates, including security patches.

Give “nobody” a Home!

If you are following this guide as part of the Linux Media Server project then you must create a home directory for the nobody user – this is so that our media applications have somewhere central to store their configuration data.

For this, we need to edit the /etc/passwd file, create some directories and assign permissions:

  1. In /etc/passwd change the following line:
    • nobody:x:65534:65534:nobody:/nonexistent:/usr/sbin/nologin


  2. Create the necessary directory, including one for NzbDrone to save configuration into:
    • mkdir -p /home/nobody/.config/NzbDrone/
  3. Assign permissions:
    • chown -R nobody:nogroup /home/nobody/


You should now have completed your debian server install – why not carry on to the next srticle in the Complete Linux Media Server!

Series Navigation<< Build A Complete Linux Media Server – IntroductionBuild A Complete Linux Media Server – Install transmission-daemon running as nobody >>

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