Does Virtualmin Play Nicely with Manually Edited Config Files?


A quick Virtualmin question from a longtime user of Webmin. I’m considering migrating my Plesk Web server to Webmin, mostly because Plesk forces you to comply with their way of doing things. One of my favorite “features” of Webmin is its ability to handle configuration files that have been edited outside of the Webmin interface–in “pico”, say, as if Webmin isn’t present.

So: does Virtualmin work similarly? Can I edit, say, Apache config files without damaging Virtualmin’s functionality?

Thanks in advance.


Hey Cory,

Yes. Anywhere it doesn’t, it’s probably a bug and will be fixed.

However, a few caveats:

The install script is not yet as smart as Webmin in a few places. It expects a fresh OS install, or life will get more complicated after installation. You can, of course, install additional stuff and reconfigure things in Webmin and Virtualmin to suit the changes, but I strongly recommend making said changes after installation of Virtualmin Professional. This is because the installer does a lot of stuff for you, like configuring the mail server for virtual hosting, setting up quotas, adding a bunch of procmail recipes and other good stuff…and if you’ve already done some of that in different ways, breakage is likely. The install script just can’t anticipate every choice every person has ever made–it gets smarter with every release, and some day it will be smarter than me at this particular task (figuring out where everything goes and how everything is currently configured), but right now installing onto a fresh system insures that everything works. This is pretty much par for the course for full-featured virtual host administration systems, so I’m probably not telling you something you didn’t already learn before doing your Plesk installation…but it’s worth repeating.

Virtualmin has its own way of doing things in a few places that might be a bit sensitive to prodding…in most areas, you’ll never notice any problems. Apache configuration fileas can be edited extensively and Virtualmin will never complain. Procmail recipes, on the other hand, are ticky and in some places get regenerated when changed, and Virtualmin just replaces it. You can, of course, edit the templates that Virtualmin is working from to make your desired changes.

But, to answer this question specifically and emphatically:

So: does Virtualmin work similarly? Can I edit, say, Apache config files without damaging Virtualmin’s functionality?

Yes. Virtualmin does nearly all of its Apache related work through the Webmin Apache module. If you find Virtualmin chokes on syntactically valid changes or gets confused by such changes to the Apache configuration files done by hand, file a bug and we’ll fix it.

Hi Joe,

Thanks for your prompt and comprehensive reply. I’m even more impressed with Virtualmin in light of what you’re sayingâ