Optimizing, securing, and tuning your network

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Network Ninja

In an age of perpetually interconnected devices, keeping your network and its services safe and running smoothly is a high priority whether you're an admin or an end-user.

In the bad old days, a computer was a standalone thing. If you needed to get something onto the hard disk, you typed it in yourself, or you copied it from a floppy disk. Today the frontier between your computer and your internal network – and between your network and the Internet – has blurred so much that some computers can't even work without a connection to the outside world.

Behind many of the services you access online or on your local network is the venerable Apache web server. Apache has been around for two decades now, and for most of that time, it has been (and still is) the backbone of the Internet. Despite many cool alternatives, Apache is still the most used server out on the web, by a large margin.

Apache is also used as the backend for many intranet services. The web-based ERP you use in your office, the Linux-based multimedia server you enjoy at home, and the web interface you manage your database with probably all use Apache. It makes sense, then, to learn how to configure Apache to make it as efficient as possible.

We'll show you how to make Apache as lean, mean, and secure as its competitors by disabling unnecessary modules, tweaking DNS lookups, and monitoring performance. However, ensuring good website performance requires more than just tweaking your web server. A good web design can also help. We'll describe some simple tips for keeping your pages light. You'll learn how to optimize your templates for a faster generation of dynamic pages, how to pass validation tests for your markup and CSS, and how to clean up your code to ensure your pages render as fast as possible.

Bottlenecks and vulnerabilities don't all happen at the website level. Many occur elsewhere on your network. We will show you how to give individual systems and complete networks the once over and check for weak points using Kali, a live distribution designed for testing and securing networks. Kali Linux makes it easy to check your network, even for the inexperienced user, by providing a set of straightforward tools that are simple to configure and deploy.

But what happens when you're on the other side – browsing, rather than posting your own content? If you want to surf the Internet anonymously and preserve your privacy, you need to consider the Tor network. The Tor browser package offers a simple solution that is ready to go and easy to configure right after the download. We'll show you how to start surfing anonymously with Tor.

Always remember that keeping your network secure and running smoothly is not something you can do by yourself – everyone on your network has to play a part. One weak link can make the whole network suffer and put everybody at risk. Read on to learn how you can keep the dangers of the interconnected world at bay.

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