How to Install a CentOS 7.3 Minimal Server

This document describes the installation of a CentOS 7.3 server. The purpose of this guide is to provide a minimal setup that can be used as basis for our other tutorials here at howtoforge like the perfect server guides or the SAMBA, LAMP and LEMP server tutorials.



To get started with the CentOS 7.3 installation, we will need the installer ISO file. This can either be the CentOS minimal ISO or the DVD ISO file. If you plan to install just this one server then choose the minimal ISO as it is a smaller, the installer will download the required packages during installation later. I will install several servers with CentOS 7.3, therefore I choose the DVD installer ISO so I dont have to download the same packages again for each server.

I will do the installation on a VMware virtual machine. The installation steps on a physical server are the same. If your server is not able to boot from an ISO file, burn the ISO on a DVD and insert that into the DVD drive of the server.

Preliminary Note

This tutorial is based on CentOS 7.3 server, I use as my IP address in this tutorial and as the hostname. These settings might differ for you, so you have to replace them where appropriate.

Install the CentOS Base System

Boot from your CentOS 7 DVD. Select Install CentOS 7.

Boot from CentOS DVD or ISO.

Next press ENTER.

System boots from install DVD.

Choose the installation language. I am using English with English United States here, so I just press Continue:

Choose the language.

Next, we get the following screen:

The CentOS installer.

I will start to customize the settings starting with LOCALIZATION in DATE & TIME Click on DATE & TIME. Select your time zone, in my case, I am selecting Europe as Region and Berlin as City. Press Done when finished.

Set date and time zone.

It will set the server DATE & TIME to the Europe/Berlin timezone. Next, I will customize the KEYBOARD layout, Click on KEYBOARD to start the setup dialog.

Go to keyboard layout settings.

Press the + icon to add another keyboard layout:

Add another keyboard layout.

It will show the following window with the list of available keyboard layouts. In my case, I select German and click on the Add. button to add the keyboard layout.

Select the German keyboard layout.

Next, we customize the LAYOUT SWITCHING OPTIONS by pressing Options:

Customize layout switching option.

You can use any key combination for switching between keyboards, in my case I am using Alt+Ctrl. After selection of your desired key combination, press Done.

Use Alt + Ctrl to switch the layout.

Next press Done.

Additional keyboard layout has been added.

Now we can add LANGUAGE SUPPORT if you don’t want to use English. Click on “LANGUAGE SUPPORT” to open the dialog.

Add language support.

By default, CentOS comes with English language preinstalled, but we can add more languages easily. In my case, I am adding Deutsch German with Deutsch (Deutschland) as the additional language. Press Done after selection

Add additional language in CentOS.

Next, we go to SOFTWARE > INSTALLATION SOURCE and select the installation media.

Go to software installation menu.

Next, you will see that the installation source is “Auto-detected installation media”, if you have any other source of installation like a network install then you can set the path in the “On the network”  field with and without proxy from Proxy Setup. Additionally, we can add Additional repositories if needed. Then press Done.

Configure installation source.

Next, we will proceed to SOFTWARE SELECTION, by default it comes with Minimal Install.

Software selection menu.

We can add more software packages if required (when you use the install DVD and not minimal installer). In my case, I need only a Minimal Install(Basic Functionality) setup to install software later with yum, so I will save the settings by pressing Done.

Add additional software packages here.


Installation Destination.

When you need a manual partitioning scheme then you can select I will configure partitioning, in my case I will prefer Automatically configure partitioning after that press Done.

Select the installation destination for CentOS.

Next, we will customize our NETWORK & HOSTNAME by selecting that.

Configure the network in CentOS.

I will use the hostname and customize the ethernet setup by pressing Configure.

Set the hostname.

The next screen will look like this, now we add the IPv4 Settings by selecting the same. If you have IPv6 then you add it in IPv6 Settings.

Network card details.

Next, you can setup the network to match your local network setup. In my case, I use a static IP so I will select Manual

Set IPv4 mode to manual.

Add the entries for Address, Netmask and Gateway as per your static IP environment. In my case I am using Address as, Netmask as, Gateway as and DNS servers as These values may vary according to your network environment. After that press Save.

IPv4 details

IMPORTANT: If youdo not have an IPv6 internet connection, then set IPv6 from auto to ignore on the IPv6 tab, otherwise you won’t be able to reach the internet from this server on IPv4 as CentOS seems to ignore the correct IPv4 setup then and uses IPv6 instead which fails.

Set IPv6 to ignore

Next, we have to turn the connection ON as shown in the screenshot below. Further press Done.

Turn the network on.

Now we are ready to start the installation process, you might want to crosscheck all the settings and then press Begin Installation.

Start the installation.

The installation process will start now and you get a small blue progress bar in the next windows. Now we have to set the ROOT PASSWORD and add a new non-root user in the USER CREATION option. I will first go for the root password.

Installation progress.

Enter a secure password of your choice and press Done

Installation progress.

Next, we will go for USER CREATION.

Add a user

Next, I will create a non-root user, as in my case I used the Full name  “Howtoforge” and Username “howtoforge, check the option Require the password to use this account and then press Done. Off-course you should use a username and password of your choice.

Setup user name and password.

Press Done.Have patience and wait for the completion of the setup.

After completion of the installation, it will ask to reboot the server, just press Finish configuration.


The server reboots and will request your username and password afterwards.

The system is booting.

Now we are ready to login with the user that we just created above or we can use the root credentials.

First Login on CentOS

Login as root user to the server so we can do some final installation steps.

CentOS First Login

The first one is to install all available updates with yum.

yum update

confirm with “y” to proceed with the installation of the updates.

I will install two command line editors to be able to edit configuration files on the shell:

yum install nano vim

Network Configuration

CentOS 7.3 minimal don’t come pre-installed with the ifconfig command we will install it as follows:

yum install net-tools

If you want to change or see the network configuration file, just edit the file

nano /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-ens33

It will be like this when you configured a static IP address:


Or like this when you use DHCP:


Change the values if required.

Note: The above DEVICE name may vary so please check the equivalent file in the directory /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts.

Adjust /etc/hosts

Adjust the file /etc/hosts as follows:

nano /etc/hosts

Make the values like this:   localhost localhost.localdomain localhost4 localhost4.localdomain4     server1

::1         localhost localhost.localdomain localhost6 localhost6.localdomain6

Congratulations! Now we have basic minimal CentOS 7.3 server setup which provides a solid basis for our other tutorials.


Author: lamichhane kamal

System administrator Unix. Experinced Author Always with new idea. Contact me If you need help about Linux or windows server.

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