Unlike Webmin, Web Console is a fast, light-weight AJAX-based interface that allows you to execute whatever commands you want. It resembles a cross between an X terminal running Ncurses embedded in a Web browser, and a text-based Web browser like ELinks. Functionally, it behaves like SSH plus a file manager, so previewing, moving and copying files is as easy as with a graphical file manager, minus the overhead.
Web Console is still a young project the current release is 0.2.5. It's a single Perl file that requires both Perl and an HTTP server to be installed on the servers you want to control. Any lightweight HTTP server will do, such as Lighttpd or thttpd, or any of the old standbys, such as Apache and IIS. By default it runs as your HTTP server user. This can present some security problems; you really don't want your HTTP user to have any powers other than the absolute minimum needed to do its jobs and no more. Apache users can use suexec to run Web Console under a different user, and you should always use your HTTP server's usual access controls to lock it down further. On Unix and Linux systems, you'll need to set up /etc/sudoers to allow the Web Console user to use sudo when you need root permissions. You should also set up SSL for a secure connection. Even with SSL the security risk of running Web Console over untrusted networks could be considered unacceptable, so limiting it to LAN use is probably the wisest course.
Once it's installed and you have your access controls refined and working to your satisfaction, you'll be able to log in with any Web browser and run your servers almost as easily as if you were sitting at a physically-attached console. Visit Web-console.org for downloads and howtos.
This article was first published on ServerWatch.com.
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