The Living Thing / Notebooks :

Running a secure server

Or at least somewhat more secure servers.

So many parts to this, and I care so little about any of them.

Baseline: Making sure you are not instantly p3wned

Securing Ubuntu: My first 10 minutes on a server.


A baseline important detail to use modern web services is SSL, a notoriously tedious process. This recently got easier and cheaper with Let’s Encrypt and their client software letsencruptnosudo or simp_le, or the full-stack webserver caddy, which automates the process, or the EFF certbot.

Some pro tips for SSL certs by Reinout van Rees.

private development servers

For Mac users with a copy of Mac OS Server*
it is easy to setup up a local SSL site. This costs $25, but saves you a few hours, so probably worth it.
For other Mac users
it’s slightly complicated.
For Windows users with IIS
it’s medium complicated
For Linux users
the Mac users’ instructions will mostly work if you happen to be using Apache httpd, but if you are using one of the many other web servers, you will have to look it up. You can cheat, though

If you are developing a javascript server and happen to be using webpack, there is a built-in bootleg SSL server.

Proper Online Servers

I’m not the guy to tell you how to run real secure webservers that actually transfer significant information.

OTOH, I do occasionally need to fake SSL so that I can demo fancy javascript online.

Here is how to do that using Cloudflare.

Summary: Don’t use it for actual server-side applications, because it will behave as if it’s secure while leaking information, but it’s ok for developing browser apps that don’t meaningfully communicate with the server.

Oh wait, you actually want to do the SSL thing?

Here’s a basic emergency guide to doing it with commodity webhosting: Letsencrypt thing with webfaction by Nick Doty.

General services

You don’t want to be kind of nerd who deals with nitty gritty server securing. Use tor hidden services to not even expose your server’s existence?

Lan serving stuff

ClearOS maybe?

Privacy servers

search proxies

Run your own search server?

  • mysearch - Local search engine portal designed to anonymise your search requests and have a better display of search results A public instance is available at
  • searx is the same, I think

General anonymity

See VPNs.