This part of our course covers the basic tools you’ll need to tame (control, master, dominate…) Linux and its cousins Apache, MySQL and PHP. We’ll address desktop software you’ll need on your laptop as well as basic services you’ll want to purchase from third party vendors. Specifically, we’ll cover your options for SSL certs, domain names, remote hosting, and webmail. If you’re a college student ask your school’s IT department to give you space on their servers for FREE!

Free Stuff & Discounts

Head over to our students perks page for discounts and free stuff from our tech partners:

The acronym LAMP refers to first letters of the four components of a solution stack, composed entirely of free and open-source software, suitable for building high-availability heavy-duty dynamic web sites, and capable of serving tens of thousands of requests simultaneously.
– Wikipedia

Overview of LAMP architecture by Kesavan Muthuvel.

Detailed view of LAMP architecture showing relationships between the OS, software, hardware, and the “good and bad guys” on the Internet. Click the image to visit the LAMP Stack Wikipedia entry.

Ubuntu is an open source Linux-based Operating System (OS). It’s maintained by a South African company called Canonical. Ubuntu updates are released every 6 months. Be sure to peruse the Ubuntu wiki entry for more general information.

The chart below provides an easy to understand visual of the Ubuntu versioning and release cycle. Refer to their official release page for exact dates of updates and new releases.

ubuntu release cycle

Ubuntu Release Cycle

Keith Larson of Oracle (which owns MySQL) has put together some excellent presentations that not only serve as good MySQL primers, but also provide deep-dives into MySQL administration topics. Click the images to download the presentations.

MySQL Overview by Keith Larson:

MySQL Deep-Dive by Keith Larson:

Domain Name System (DNS): is a distributed “directory” that maps domain names to IP addresses. The Internet’s phone book. From your laptop’s command line type nslookup Also, check out this How To Geek post for some great illustrative examples.

Canonical Name (CNAME): Are used for URL forwarding. They are aliases that map either a sub-domain or a domain name to another fully qualified domain name.

A Record: Maps hostnames to IP addresses

If you’re new to coding you’ll definitely need a code oriented text editor or a full-fledged Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Trust me on this. If you’re attending this class, you really don’t want to be writing code in either nano, emacs, or vi. Ok, maybe nano. But, popular and lightweight text editors with code hinting include:

You can get away without using these until our database specific courses. However for the sake of continuity below are some options. PC versions come in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors.

  • MySQL Workbench: Workbench is a full-featured and powerful DBA client maintained by Oracle. It’s free and is available for Mac, PC as well as various flavors of Linux


  1. SSH FTP client
  2. SSH client
  3. SSH Key Generator: won’t need until the advanced class on security and server lockdown


  1. SSH FTP client
  2. SSH client: Use the Mac’s native iOS Terminal. Go to Finder -> Applications -> Utilities -> Once opened, type
    ssh -p 22 username@
  3. SSH Key Generator: See command line instructions in next section.

You can refer to this article for more info on using SSH on a Mac

If you want to get the most out of your LAMP server you’ll want ot consider purchasing a a domain name. You won’t need one for today’s class, but you should definitely purchase one if you want to be able to integrate email functionality (class 3) into your server.

Namecheap consistently offers the lowest priced renewal rates for domains in the industry.

There are as many hosts as there are flavours of ice-cream. We reached out to about 15 or so providers in January 2014. Here are the ones with which we have ad hoc marketing relationships with:

  • Digital Ocean ($100, 60-day free credit for Code Sport students. Email support only)
  • Ram Node (Email support only)
  • And, here are those with which we do not have relationships:

  • OVH ($3.35 VPS plan with 1 GB of ram. Email and phone support)

For purposes of this course we will be working with Zoho. They are great for start-ups. Through their referral program, they offer up 20 free email accounts at no charge. Here are specific instructions once you receive your email invite.

Sequence of steps for setting up a hosted email account.

You’ll only need this for our Advanced Security and E-Commerce learning tracks. And we have a free tutorial on how to install these. However, for the sake of completeness we’re including it now, so here you go:


Namecheap is a reseller of different brands of SSL certs. They also have he lowest priced branded SSL certs on the market. We suppose they make their money on volume:

If you’re attending our class most likely you already have a locally installed development environment. If not, here’s your chance:

If neither of the above works, try XAAMP

So you’re covered. You now have all the tools needed to be dangerous. Bookmark this post and refer to it as we traverse new sections and learning tracks. Reach out to your class instructor or TA for our exclusive coupon codes and student discounts.