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How to set up your own DTC test site on your own machine

This document is intended for someone who wants to set up DTC to do some testing and learn the system.

The assumption is made that you are running Microsoft Windows (tm) on your machine and don't have spare hardware to run up a Linux box of your own.

You could use a VPS how ever you can't take snapshots and roll back your testing with a VPS. A VPS is also live on the Internet which may pose other issues on your testing.

A virtual machine is a very easy way to build a DTC system that you can use to learn the DTC system.

Oracle VM Virtual Box (VB)

Virtual Box gives you the advantage that it's easy to run up under windows and can create a bridged network connection (which is very useful as you want to see the machine as a public machine from your Windows web browser.

Go to sites) and download the host for your system.

Then install it. (We won't bother to explain how to do that here, just follow the wizard and accept all the defaults.)

Setting Up Virtual Box (VB)

Once you've installed VB you need to create a new Virtual Machine.

The wizard will do most of the work for you.

Type 'Debian' as the VM name and the wizard will automatically figure out that you want to use Debian.

You can play round with other OS version as well, but for the purpose of this document we will work with Debian.

  • RAM - while the default is 384, you need to give the VM at least 768mb. The spam control systems in DTC need that much to function properly. Don't worry if your machine doesn't have gigs of RAM, the VM uses RAM dynamically and won't grab a 768mb chunk when it start.
  • Virtual Hard Disk - you can accept the default to create a new image.
  • Hard Disk Storage Type - Select dynamic, that way the VM will only use the space it needs even though it will report 8GB to Debian.

Get Debian

You can install Debian from an iso image on your local drive. Go to and download the net install iso image to your machine.

Start the VM

When you first start the VM a wizard will guide you through an OS install.

  • Select Install Media
You have to add the Debian iso to the media list. Select the browse button, then Add, then find the debian iso. It should show up in the CD/DVD Images list.
You could also use a real CD if you prefer.

Install Debian

The VM should restart after the last step and you should see the Debian installation screen.

  • Choose Install

Work your way through the installation wizard. (We'll assume that you can do a basic Debian installation, if you do need help then see the docs on the web site.)

  • Host Name

Set the host name to (note: The mx bit is important to DTC)

  • Partition Disks

You can accept the defaults to use the whole disk. Remember that VB will only expand the disk file dynamically so we won't be using up a big chunk of your disk.

  • Software selection

You don't need the desktop environment (unless you really want it and want to play). Choose: Web Server, DNS Server, File Server, Mail Server, SQL database, Standard system

Boot Order

You need to change the boot order of the VM so that it doesn't try to rerun the installer every time you start the VM.

Choose the VM in the list of VMs, click Settings, click System, then change the boot order to Hard disk and save your changes.

Configure VB for Bridged Networking

Set the VM for Bridged Networking and reboot your VM. This will then cause Debian to use DHCP to get an IP address from the DHCP server on your network (yes, we're assuming that, even on a simple system at home, you're running a router that will dish out private IPs)

   # ifconfig

Depending on how your router/DTCP server is set up, you should get the same IP each time you boot your VM.

You should see that your VM has a private IP in the same subnet as your computer.

You should be able to ping your VM from your computer and your computer from your VM.

Set Your VM IP

If your router/DHCP server keeps dishing up different IPs each time you reboot your VM then you'll need to manually set you IP addresses in Debian.

   mx:/etc/network# cat interfaces
   # This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
   # and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

   # The loopback network interface
   auto lo
   iface lo inet loopback

   # The primary network interface
   allow-hotplug eth0
   iface eth0 inet dhcp

Edit your /etc/network/interfaces file and set the IP addresses to manual.

   auto eth0
   iface eth0 inet static

Snap Shot Time

At this point you should take a snap shot of the Debian Install so that you can repeat your testing of the installation.

Configure your Windows Machine

Now that you have your VM running we want your web browser to think that exists on the VM. While we're setting up we'll also set up so that you can create a Virtual Admin called

  • Edit your hosts file (/windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts)

Add the following lines to the hosts file and save it:

Note: You set the same IP address that your DHCP server is dishing up to your VM or what ever you set manually (see above).

Now when you open a cmd window on your windows machine and tracert to you should see it in one hop.

Setting Up Debian

By default the Net Install version of Debian doesn't have SSH installed. SSH is very useful as you can use a tool like Putty to connect to the VM to do your testing. The VB console isn't very helpful for things like copy and paste.

Install openssh-server

   # apt-get install openssh-server

Follow the Debian Installation Wiki Page

You should now have enough bits in place to follow the Debian installation.

Note: The Net Install doesn't install all the things that DTC is dependent on so you will have to read the error messages to work out what extra bits you need to install as you go.

See: Debian Express Setup

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Page last modified on July 09, 2010, at 01:30 AM EST