How to Schedule Linux Updates with Webmin

Jack Wallen shows you how easy it is to schedule updates for your Linux servers with Webmin.

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I have been a fan of Webmin for years. Although there are newer and easier-to-use web-based management tools out there, Webmin turns out to be one of the most mature and robust on the market. With a modular system that makes it easy to install new capabilities, Webmin can do very little. And since much of its power is already built in, you can quickly install the software and get to work.

SEE: 40+ open source and Linux terms you need to know (TechRepublic Premium)

One very important task that you can perform with Webmin is to update the software installed on the server. Even better, you can schedule those updates for a time when users are not logged in and crucial services are needed.

That’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do.

What you’ll need to schedule an update

For this to work, you will need a running instance of Webmin (installed on the server of your choice) and a user with sudo privileges. That is all.

How to schedule an update

The first thing you need to do is log in to Webmin via https://SERVER:10000, where SERVER is the IP address of the hosting server, as a user with sudo privileges.

Once you’re logged in, make sure you select the Webmin tab in the left navigation bar, and then click System | Software package update (Figure A).

Figure A

The Webmin tab in the left navigation panel.

On the resulting page (Figure B), click the Scheduled Updates tab.

Figure B

The Software Package Updates page in Webmin 2.0.

The Scheduled Updates page isn’t as flexible as I’d like, because you can’t be very granular with your schedule. In fact, all you can do is decide when to check for updates, and then select whether you only want to be notified of updates, install only security updates, or install all updates. You cannot select the day of the week or the time for updates.

Even so, this is still a very useful way to stay on top of updates. For those who prefer to handle updates manually, they can choose to be notified when they are available so they can run the task at the appropriate time.

Either way, this is what you do. First, from the Schedule Package Updates page (Figure C), click Yes, Every, and then select the hour, day, or week from the drop-down menu.

Figure C

The Webmin 2.0 Software Package Updates page.

Next, add your email address to the Report Email Updates To section, and then select what action Webmin should take when updates are available. Once you have configured the schedule, click Save. After saving your settings, Webmin will report that the scheduled check for updates is now active.

And that’s all there is to it. If you ever decide you want to disable scheduled updates, all you have to do is go back to the Scheduled Updates tab and click No for the Check for scheduled updates option.

Congratulations on facilitating your daily administrative tasks.

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