After having spent a lot of time exploring different web server computers, nothing quite served as a great low-cost, low-energy option in the past. I created a tutorial on how to “hack” a Pogoplug, but it really didn’t work all that great for me and I eventually abandoned my own Pogoplug web server.
Since that time, an awesome device called the Raspberry Pi came along and this was a game changer.
I didn’t know what they were at first and I bought a Raspberry Pi 2 to see exactly what the heck they where. To my surprise, these things are amazing little computers that are perfect for a personal server! I continue to expand what roles mine serves and I figured it was time to produce some fresh content for this website and teach you how to use a Raspberry Pi for your own personal server.
In the first part of this new series, I introduce the new series and why the Raspberry Pi makes a great choice for your personal server. Next, I go into how to choose and download the OS (Operating System) and then how to install it on your Raspberry Pi. Finally, I walk you through booting your Raspberry Pi for the first time and how to log in with the default username (pi) and password (raspberry) for Raspbian.
What You’ll Need
Here’s the list of things you’ll need. You can use a Raspberry Pi 2 if you like, however I recommend using the Raspberry Pi 3 due to the built-in wifi adapter and more powerful processor.
- A Raspberry Pi – You can get a Raspberry Pi 2 or Raspberry Pi 3.
- A 5V Power Adapter – You will need a 2 Amp 5VDC power adapter for the Raspberry Pi 3. I recommend buying a kit such as this one: http://amzn.to/2iJj0S3 because it includes the power adapter AND a case.
- A micro SD Card – I recommend a SanDisk 32GB, but you can choose whichever one you like. I wouldn’t use anything smaller than 16GB and no larger than 64GB. You can always expand your storage space using USB thumb drives or other external USB drives.
- An enclosure – This isn’t absolutely required, but it leaves your electronics exposed and that can be a recipe for disaster. You can find an inexpensive case for your Raspberry Pi here. I recommend staying away from the acrylic ones because they tend to be brittle and fragile from my experience.
- An HDMI Cable – To initially setup your Raspberry Pi, you need to connect it to a TV or computer monitor via a HDMI cable. Once everything is installed, you can detach it and run it without a monitor.
I recommend considering getting a Raspberry Pi 3 Kit since some of them include everything you need to get started.
How to Change Default Username and Password on Raspberry Pi
After successfully logging into your Raspberry Pi, you should promptly change the default username and password. Instructions on how to change the default username and password can be found at https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/linux/usage/users.md as well as how to add new users.
Once you have finished this, I recommend running the following commands to update your system and make sure your running the latest versions of the installed software.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade-dist
This will update the sources and install the latest versions of everything installed.
That’s it! You’ve got your Raspberry Pi ready for the next steps.