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Oct 03, 2019

21 min read

12 Best Free Linux Management Software Tools for Managing Multiple Servers

Written by

Abdelhadi Dyouri
If you've got more than one VPS running then Linux server management can give you nightmares. SSHing into different servers to perform tasks like upgrading your packages or restarting services can be extremely tedious. However, managing multiple Linux servers doesn’t have to be complicated at all. There are many free open source linux server management tools you can install and use right away. In this article, I will showcase the best Linux management software to make your life easier.   Note: This article has been reviewed by our team of experienced Linux administrators and DevOps engineers. These Linux server management tools provide a wide range of management solutions, such as networking, monitoring, automation, and configuration management. These tools will streamline your operations, enhance efficiency, and ensure your servers are running smoothly.

Linux Management Software Tools

Here is the full list of the best Linux server administration tools:
  1. Cockpit
  2. Webmin
  3. Nagios
  4. Ansible
  5. Zabbix
  6. Puppet
  7. Chef
  8. SaltStack
  9. Kubernetes
  10. Grafana
  11. Prometheus
  12. phpMyAdmin

1) Cockpit

linux management software: Cockpit Developed by RedHat, the Cockpit for Linux project is an incredible Linux management software solution. It lets you manage services, add/remove users, set up networks, and much more via a web UI, or for the seasoned sysadmin, via the terminal. Cockpit is self-contained, reuses existing privileges, and works with minimal addons. You can start, stop, and restart services (irrespective of whether they were started through Cockpit or not). Cockpit even supports container management giving you a list of available containers and their status (CPU/memory usage). To manage multiple Linux servers, you can install the software on multiple machines and mark one as the master. From within the Machines option of your Cockpit dashboard, you can view details of the other VMs through neat graphs.

Cockpit is a Linux management software best used for:

  • System Monitoring: Keeping an eye on system resources and performance in real-time.
  • Service Management: Starting, stopping, and monitoring services and applications.
  • Storage Management: Managing disks, RAID arrays, and network file systems.
  • Network Configuration: Setting up and managing network interfaces, bridges, and bonds.

2) Webmin

Webmin for linux server management Webmin is another open-source tool for Linux server management. It allows you to manage multiple servers using a web interface instead of relying on the terminal. Webmin provide an incredible range of features:
  1. Apache Web Server Support: Manages virtual hosts for domains, installs Apache modules, and minimizes HTTP headers for improved security.
  2. PHP Configuration: Allows configuration of PHP versions and variables from the dashboard.
  3. Graphical File Management: Enables easy editing, uploading, and downloading of files, as well as changing file permissions.
  4. MySQL and PostgreSQL Management: Allows management of databases after installing respective modules from the Webmin dashboard.
To manage multiple Linux servers, use the Cluster Webmin Servers module and install webmin on all your servers. Identify one server as the main and connect to the others using username and a password. As a cluster, you can synchronize software updates, clone users and manage cron jobs. In addition to allowing you to manage multiple servers for free, you can add on an additional product called VirtualMin (from the same company as WebMin) that helps with setting up virtual hosts, manage DNS zones. Note: Setting up Webmin on your server can be overwhelming, that's why we offer a ready to use Webmin One-Click Application for our customers. Just visit our website, choose the server’s specifications that fit your needs, then select Webmin from the Choose OS dropdown menu. Webmin will then be installed in no time!

3) Nagios

manage multiple linux servers with Nagios Nagios is one of the most popular open-source tools for monitoring networked systems. It can monitor server performance, network traffic, and even alert you to potential issues before they become critical. Nagios has an extensive plugin library that ensures it can be customized to fit your specific needs.

Nagios is a Linux management software best used for:

  • Monitoring Server Performance: Keep an eye on CPU, memory, and disk usage.
  • Tracking Network Traffic: Monitor bandwidth and detect potential issues.
  • Alerting on System Issues: Receive notifications for outages and critical events.
  • Ensuring Service Uptime: Monitor essential services to ensure they are running.
  • Customizing Checks with Plugins: Extend functionality with a vast library of plugins.
  • Visualizing Network Health: Use dashboards to get an overview of your network's status.

Nagios Cons

  • Complex Initial Setup: Requires significant configuration to get started.
  • Steep Learning Curve: Takes time to master due to its extensive features.
  • Limited Scalability Without Plugins: May need additional plugins for large environments.
  • Resource-Intensive on Large Networks: Can consume considerable resources as the network grows.

4) Ansible

Ansible Linux Management Example Ansible is a powerful automation tool that allows you to manage multiple servers from a single control point. Its simple, human-readable YAML syntax makes it easy to define your automation scripts, known as playbooks. Ansible is agentless, meaning you don’t need to install any software on your servers to manage them.

Ansible Benefits

  • Agentless Architecture: No need to install additional software on your managed nodes, reducing overhead and simplifying management.
  • Ease of Use: Simple YAML syntax allows you to write automation scripts quickly and read them easily.
  • Scalability: Capable of managing large numbers of servers efficiently, making it suitable for small to enterprise-level environments.

Ansible is a Linux management software best used for:

  • Configuration Management: Automating the setup and maintenance of systems, ensuring consistency across your
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