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I’ve been a fan of Webmin for years. Although there are newer, easier web-based administration tools available, Webmin happens to be one of the more mature and robust on the market. With a modular system that makes it easy to install new capabilities, there’s very little Webmin can do. And given much of its capability is already baked in, you can quickly install the software and get to work.

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One very important task you can undertake with Webmin is upgrading the software installed on the server. Even better, you can schedule those upgrades for such a time when users won’t be 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 upgrade

To make this work, you’ll need a running instance of Webmin (installed on your server of choice) and a user with sudo privileges. That’s it.

How to schedule an upgrade

The first thing 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’ve logged in, make sure to select the Webmin tab in the left navigation and then click System | Software Package Update (Figure A).

Figure A

The Webmin tab in the left navigation pane.

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

Figure B

The Software Package Updates page in Webmin 2.0.

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

Even so, this is still a very handy way of staying on top of updates. For those who prefer to handle the upgrades manually, you can opt to just be notified when they’re available so you can run the task at an appropriate time.

Either way, here’s what you do. First, from the Schedule Package Updates page (Figure C), click Yes, every and then select either hour, day, or week from the drop-down.

Figure C

The Webmin 2.0 Software Package Updates page.

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

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

Congratulations on making your daily admin tasks easier.

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