New Books Added to the Sysadmin Reading List!

I’ve just added some more amazing books to the sysadmin reading list page. These are books that I’ve read over the last year which are so spectacular that I think every sysadmin (or aspiring sysadmin) needs to read and digest them.

Some standouts from the list above:

The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction

I watched a project manager with no hands-on technical experience go through this book. After about a week, he was comfortable moving around on the command line, (git) pulling down the latest version of the code that his team was working on, running shell scripts, and doing other basic Linux/Unix tasks. I think it’s fair to say that this book put him on track for becoming a savage beast (for a PM).


The Practice of Cloud System Administration: DevOps and SRE Practices for Web Services, Volume 2

This is one of the greatest system administration / infrastructure / DevOps / System Reliability Engineering (SRE) / Platform Engineering books I’ve ever read.

Do you remember how the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, 4th Edition taught you how Unix and Linux work in a deep and practical way, and how it showed you what it takes to administrate a single server or a small group of servers?

That’s what this book does, except for modern large-scale infrastructure (hundreds/thousands of servers). It will show you how to design infrastructure properly. It will teach you how to think about reliability. It will show you how to take (most of) the pain out of monitoring and alerting.

I can’t say enough good things about it. Seriously, if you want to be a Google/Amazon/<insert-enormous-tech-company-here>-level Admin, this book will introduce you to the skills you need.

Buy it, now!



Okay, I’m ending this post here because I need to get to work — a place where I will undoubtedly use the skills you can learn from these books.

So read these books, and then get out there and start doing this stuff!

The System Administration Course on Udemy is now $12 (from $45)!

It’s been several months since I released my project-based system administration course on Udemy (

To celebrate a big move back to the U.S. (and a new job), I just lowered the price from $45 to $25. As always, the tutorialinux sysadmin horde gets a better deal: $12 for all 8 hours of the video course.

For those that don’t know about the course, it’s titled “Hands-on Linux: Self-Hosted WordPress for Linux Beginners” and will teach you the basics of Linux system administration using a real-life project. You’ll set up a WordPress website, and the infrastructure to run further websites (as many as you want).

More info can be found in my original post about the course.

I also show you the sysadmin skills that you generally don’t see in tutorials or YouTube videos: automation, security hardening, backups and restores, next steps and add-on project ideas.

There’s a 30-day money back guarantee on Udemy, so there’s no risk if you find that the course isn’t for you.

Have fun!

Where to Get a ‘Cloud’ Server For $5/month

So you’re playing with setting up a cool project or web application (like the one I show you how to set up in my new Udemy course), and you want it to be accessible for your friends, your family, and yourself (while traveling away from your home network). How do you set that up?

Buckle up; I’m about to explain all the things.

Read more

Course Launch: Hands-on Linux: Self-Hosted WordPress for Linux Beginners

It’s taken me several months but I’ve finally done it: this weekend, I’m launching the first tutorialinux course on the Udemy learning platform. The course is called “Hands-on Linux: Self-Hosted WordPress for Linux Beginners.”
It’s a project-based course which teaches the basics of Linux system administration using a practical, real-life project to lead you through the material. In the course, I walk beginning Linux sysadmins through setting up a fully-featured, production-grade WordPress hosting platform on their own server.

Of course, you can run other PHP applications on this platform, too. I chose WordPress because it’s so insanely popular right now, and because I know the platform relatively well after spending a year working as a security consultant doing malware cleanups and security overhauls on compromised WordPress sites.

The course itself follows the project-based learning approach I’ve been talking about recently. Although I think theory is important (and occasionally even fun), people just seem to learn much faster when they work on a practical project that ties together 10 or 20 individual skills and gives them a usable artifact at the end (in this case, a hosting platform).

I supply a slow drip of theory in this course — just enough to keep students making progress on the project while still understanding what’s going on.


More than a “Basics” Tutorial

The course is much more than just basic application setup and configuration, though. I’ve made sure to cover “real sysadmin” stuff; the things that sysadmins actually spend their time doing in real life (not just “apt-get install -y somesoftware && nano /etc/configfile”). Topics like:

  • system monitoring
  • performance optimization and caching
  • security hardening
  • creating and restoring website backups (filesystem backups and MySQL backups)
  • HTTP protocol basics

The course features 71 videos right now; about 8 hours of video content. There’s more coming, too: I’ll be continuing to improve and add material to the course as it grows and I get feedback from students.

Plus, you’ll have something to ‘take home with you’ when you finish the course: it’s always cool to have a robust, performant hosting platform at your fingertips, ready to do your bidding, host your friends’ websites, make you millions of dollars, etc.

I’ve marked a bunch of the videos as being ‘free previews,’ so there’s about an hour of viewing to be had for free on the “course curriculum” page.
All the links in this post include a coupon for $7 off the retail price (just over 15%). Have a look at the course curriculum, and check out some of the free preview videos from the course!

Get over there and check it out!

Want to Succeed? You Need Project-Based Learning

If you’re trying to learn System Administration, Software Development, or any other complex technical skill, you’re probably going about it in the wrong way: lots of theory study, and very little practical work. In this article, I’ll show you the right way: a faster and more effective way to learn, backed by the latest scientific research on learning.

This is just how most Linux and programming courses are structured. After all, there’s a huge theoretical foundation that you need before you can become an effective professional in those highly technical fields. Why not start with lots of theory right away, to get it out of the way and enable students to understand the concepts which are built on top of those theoretical foundations? Wrong.

Read more

New tutorialinux guide: Getting Started with Linux Containers (LXC)

A while back, I did a YouTube series on Linux Containers (LXC). If you are (or want to be) a sysadmin or software developer, you need to know about Linux Containers, and understand how to use them. I’ve just written a ~45-page guide to getting started with this useful skill — check it out here! For those of you that want more details (or a link to the original playlist), read on:

Read more