Install Webmin and configure your system without any command


In my job, I often train new staff with Linux commands, so I know how difficult it could be when you have never used them.
Even if it’s mandatory as a Linux administrator, you may prefer to do this another way at home for your projects.
Today, I’ll show you how to install Webmin to configure everything on the Raspberry Pi from a web interface.

The easiest way to install Webmin on Raspberry Pi OS, is to download the binary package from the official website, and installing it with a double click on it.
Webmin is a great configuration tool for a Raspberry Pi, but is not available in the default repository.

In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to do this (and a better solution to install it and keep it up-to-date automatically).
Then I’ll help you to discover how the interface works and give concrete examples of what you can do with it.

Webmin installation

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As said in introduction, there are two ways to install Webmin.
But first you need to have Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi.

Install Raspbian

I didn’t try with other distributions, but the available package on the official website is a Debian package.
So Raspbian is perfect, and it’s probably the one you use the most.

Any version of Raspbian is OK.
I write this post to the intent of beginners on Raspbian Desktop who prefer not to learn Linux commands.
But any experienced guy on Raspbian Lite as the right to try it to make his life easier 🙂

If you need some help to install Raspbian, you can check my complete guide about this.
Then I recommend updating the system and enable SSH, so you can just copy and past the commands I give you from your computer.

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Option 1 : Add a new apt repository

The first way to install Webmin is to add a new repository.
It could be a bit more complicated, but I think it’s probably the best option.
This way you can manage update like with any other software (graphically or with apt upgrade).

So, here is how to do this:

  • Open the apt sources.list file:
    sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
  • Add this line at the end:
    deb https://download.webmin.com/download/repository sarge contrib
    Yes, Sarge is an old Debian version, but this repository is updated regularly.
    It should look like this after the edition:
    apt sources.list raspbian
  • Then you need to install the GPG key corresponding to this repository:
    wget http://www.webmin.com/jcameron-key.asc
    sudo apt-key add jcameron-key.asc
  • Finally, install Webmin:
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install webmin

That’s it, it’s not so difficult, and each time you’ll update your system, you’ll get updates for Webmin simultaneously.

But it can also be an issue on production system.
In my job, I prefer to do the updates myself for critical apps, this way I’m already on the server and can check directly if nothing is broken.

As some of you may not like this option, I give you the second option.

Option 2 : Directly install the Webmin package

The second option is to download the latest version on the Official website and install it “manually”.

  • Go on the official Webmin site here: http://webmin.com/
  • In the left menu, click on Debian package
  • The link lead to Sourceforge, and it will download it directly.
    If you are on your computer, you can use SFTP to transfer it to the Pi, or copy the link (in your browser downloads) and use wget.
  • For example, for the 1.930 version:
    wget http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/webadmin/webmin_1.930_all.deb
    You can also take that link and change the version number, depending on the version displayed on the website.
  • Then install the downloaded package:
    sudo dpkg -i webmin_1.930_all.deb
  • It may warn you because of missing prerequisites, it’s normal, we’ll fix this now.
  • Finish the installation with:
    sudo apt -f install
    It will install Webmin and the missing dependencies.

Your Webmin installation is done, you can move to the next part

Webmin interface

Webmin works with a web interface.
It’s pretty intuitive, but I will give you a few details here.

First access

Once installed, you can access it with the following URL:
https://IP_ADDRESS:10000.
For example: https://192.168.1.20:10000.
Check this quick tutorial if you don’t know your IP address.

You’ll get an SSL error in your browser as there is no certificate

Just ignore it, by clicking on Advanced > Proceed to IP_ADDRESS (unsafe).
You can also disable the SSL encryption if you prefer. You can do this on Webmin directly (Webmin > Webmin configuration > SSL Encryption). The corresponding file on the Pi is /etc/webmin/miniserv.conf (change ssl=1 to ss=0).

You’ll get a login form with the Webmin logo.
The default credentials are those from the pi user.
If you kept the default password: pi / raspberry.

Interface overview

Once logged, you’ll get the Dashboard page:

This first page allows you to have a quick overview of your server or Raspberry Pi.

Then, you have a menu on the left, with all the default submenus:

Click on one item to display the corresponding submenu below.

For example, you can click on Others > File Manager:

We now access to a graphical file browser, even on Raspbian Lite.

I let you browse the different menus and submenus to have an idea of everything you can do with this powerful tool.

A small warning however: as soon as you are connected to Webmin, you have administrator privileges (as with sudo).
So be careful if you change some values 🙂

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Examples

As you can see, there are many tools available by default.
Here are a few ones I like.

Users management

Creating and managing users and groups may be difficult for a beginner with the command line only.
Webmin offers a tool to do this intuitively:

  • Go to System > Users and Groups in the left menu
  • Here you can see all the existing users, and also the groups by clicking on the other tab
  • From here you can add new user and groups, and manage everything easily
  • For example, when you click on a group, you can switch users in or out like this:

SSH Server

Another example is the tool to configure your SSH options.
The tool is in Servers > SSH Server.

From here you can manage the SSH server directly in the interface:

If you never remember the options you need to change or the corresponding values, it’s the perfect tool for you.
For each available option, there is a checkbox or a dropdown list, so that you can’t make a mistake.

There are dozens more like these, so take your time to browse the menu, and you’ll probably find tools for you 🙂

Install new modules

That’s not all. You can also install new modules to Webmin.

You probably have seen the “Un-used modules” list in the left menu.
From here, you can see the default modules provided by Webmin, that are not enabled because you don’t use these programs:

If you install one of them later on your system, Webmin will enable it.

You can also find other modules here on the Webmin website.
By default, you only get the one developed by Webmin, but there are many modules created by other developers.

Click on the previous link, and a search engine allow you to find a specific module.
For example, there is a module to manage the OpenVPN configuration:

  • Click on the Download it to get it on your computer, or just copy the link
  • Then go to Webmin, Webmin > Webmin Configuration
  • Click on the Webmin Modules icon
  • From here you can install a new module, from a local file or an URL
  • Your new module will appear directly in the menu after the installation

Video

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Conclusion

That’s it, you know how to install Webmin on a Raspberry Pi and what you can do with it (almost everything).

I hope you liked this post, I think it’s really a great tool for beginner, even if it’s a bit old school.

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Patrick Fromaget

I'm the lead author and owner of RaspberryTips.com. My goal is to help you with your Raspberry Pi problems using detailed guides and tutorials. In real life, I'm a Linux system administrator with a web developer experience.

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