Install CentOS the secure way with HTTPS

CentOS is the little brother of the big RHEL(Red Hat Enterprise Linux). RHEL is a commercial Linux distribution designed exclusively for businesses. You will need to purchase a license in order to use it. With CentOS, you get a fork that is based on RHEL free to use. We are going to install CentOS in a secure fashion.

Where to get CentOS

As of this posting, CentOS is no longer available for direct download. You will need to download the ISO from one of many mirrors listed below. My suggestion is that you go here and search for a mirror using HTTPS. A trusted source to download from is also just as important. A malicious actor can implement malware into the default /os/ directory of a mirror.

For this guide, I will be doing a simple network installation. Download the following ISO from here on Leaseweb. This will be enough to do our CentOS netinstall. If you want to do a full install, this ISO(7GB) should do the trick. You can either use Rufus on Windows, or dd on Linux to write to a flash drive.

We are now ready to install. Insert the flash drive into the computer and boot.

Install CentOS

Install CentOS

Navigate using the up and down keys on your keyboard. Select Install CentOS Linux 8 and hit enter. Wait for the installer to start, it only took me a minute or 2 on a quad core CPU.

Pick your desired language. I will be going with English (United States).

The installer will now ask that you complete the following marked with a yellow warning sign. Let’s configure the network first.

Make sure your Ethernet cable is plugged in and ready to connect. Where it says OFF, click on it and let DHCP do its thing. You can also configure the Host Name if you’d like. I will be leaving it as is. Let’s go back by clicking Done at the top-left corner.

Next, we are going to click on Installation Destination under System.

Local Standard Disks needs to have the hard drive with a check mark. For me it was checked by default. Also leave Storage Configuration set to Automatic. I highly recommend it if this is your first time. We will now go back once more by clicking Done.

Under Software, click on Installation Source.

By default the installer will pick the closest server to download additional files. Chances are those servers will not be encrypted. By changing Closest server to https:// and URL type to repository URL, I will be using the following mirror.dal10.us.leaseweb.net/centos/8.1.1911/BaseOS/x86_64/os/ as my new source.

Click on Done to go back. Last but not least we will configure Software Selection right below it.

Under Base Environment, select your preferred installation type. I will be going with the Minimal Install. If you need additional software for CentOS, feel free to make your selection under Additional software for Selected Environment.

Click Done to finish. You are now ready to Begin Installation.

Installation

Setup will now begin downloading and installing CentOS. This may take awhile depending on your internet connection and computer speed.

It is highly recommended that you create a Root Password and User Creation for security reasons. I will be creating a user to prevent myself from running as root and instead use sudo where needed.

When the installation is complete, remove the flash drive and reboot.

CentOS has now been installed securely.