How to install ntopng on a Debian minimal server
How to install ntopng on a Debian minimal server
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Getting a real-time network monitor up and running is just a few commands away with ntopng.

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Image: iStockphoto/lapandr

If you’ve installed a Debian minimal server, you might want to add a network monitoring tool into the mix. One such tool is ntopng, an open source, cross-platform network monitor that features:

  • IP address geolocation

  • IPv4/IPv6 hosts

  • Sorting of traffic according to both source and destination

  • Storing data in RRD format

  • Sorting IP protocol usage by type

  • A user-friendly, web-based dashboard

  • Role-based user management

  • And much more

Ntopgn focuses on performance with low resource usage, and can be installed on any variation of Linux, as well as macOS and Windows. I’m going to show you how to install ntopng on a Debian minimal server. 

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What you’ll need

The only things you’ll need to install ntopng are:

Two things to know: 

  1. If you’re using a Linux distribution that is not based on Debian, you’ll have to modify the installation instructions.
  2. If you want to avoid using the root account, you’ll have to add your user to the sudoers file.

If you opt to add your user to the sudoers file, you must first su to the root user and then issue the command:

nano /etc/sudoers

In that file (Figure A), add a line like:

USER    ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

Where USER is the username to be added.

Figure A

Adding a user to sudoers.

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Adding a user to sudoers.

How to install ntopng

In order to install ntopng, you must download the necessary repository .deb file. Go back to the terminal window and issue the command:

wget http://apt.ntop.org/buster/all/apt-ntop.deb

Once that file downloads, su to the root user (or use sudo if you opt to add your user to the sudoers file) and install the repository with the command:

dpkg -i apt-ntop.deb

Update apt with the command:

apt-get update

Finally, install ntopng and its dependencies with the command:

apt-get install pfring-dkms nprobe ntopng n2disk cento -y

Start and enable ntopng with the commands:

systemctl start ntopng
systemctl enable ntopng

How to configure ntopng

We have to take care of some minimal configurations. Before you do that, you must know which ethernet device will be used for listening. Issue the command:

ip a

In the output of that command you’ll see your device listed. In my case, it’s enp0s3.

Open the configuration file with the command:

nano /etc/ntopng/ntopng.conf

In the file, uncomment (remove the # character) the line:

-i=eth1

Change eth1 to the name of your device (discovered with the ip a command). Next, scroll down and uncomment the line:

-w=3000

Finally, scroll to the bottom and add the following:

--local-networks "10.34.1.0/24" 
--interface 1

Make sure to change the IP address to match your network address scheme.

Save and close the file. Restart ntopng with the command:

systemctl restart ntopng

How to access the web dashboard

Open a web browser and point it to http://SERVER_IP:3000 (where SERVER_IP is the IP address of the Debian minimal server). You will be prompted to log in using the default credentials admin/admin. As soon as you successfully login, you’ll be required to change the admin user password. Do that and the ntopng dashboard will appear, displaying the real-time traffic monitor (Figure B).

Figure B

The ntopng dashboard.

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The ntopng dashboard.

And that’s all there is to installing the ntopng traffic monitor on a Debian server. You now have a powerful and flexible tool to keep tabs on the traffic going into and out of your network.

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