Monthly Archives: July 2016

HostUS VPS for my VestaCP installation!

Yesterday finally managed to get a VPS from Hostus.us.  Hostus.us is of course also a sponsor at my favourite community forum freevps.us.  I did plenty of research on it and was finally sold when I discovered someone who was using it for VestaCP installations – Steven Sullivan – who raved about HostUS.  Couldn’t get better than that!

Before I registered with HostUS I first checked out all their locations from an ISP speed point of view.  I checked out Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and London, and I was totally blown away when the fastest location turned out to be Dallas, followed by Los Angeles, then Atlanta and London was the slowest by a very huge margin.  Learned once again that the geographic location counts much less than how the ISP is set up.  My ISP seems to like the US better than Europe, however specifically Texas and California.

I initially had some difficulties with my IP.  Hostus marked it as “fraud”.  I don’t really blame them as the IPs in the UAE are dynamic IPs.  There is only one ISP here and static IPs are enormously expensive and well out of the reach of private users.  The dynamic IPs are shared with a good number of spammers.  All one has to do is to check my IP in Stopforumspam.com, and one can see this.  When I first discovered it as staff I was horrified.  For a number of years I tried a really good VPN to bypass this, but nowadays web hosts don’t allow one to subscribe with proxies, so damned if one does and damned if one doesn’t!

This experience turned into a great test for HostUS customer dealings and they came up tops.  I was first asked for proof which I presented in the form of invoices from other commercial free hosting providers.  I also mentioned I was a member of freevps.  I then was given an invoice, which I promptly paid with PayPal.  Regrettably HostUS is using a partner to verify Paypal payments, and I got into difficulties with verification as well.  After a day of waiting I sent a query with a copy of my PayPal payment and then someone at HostUS took charge and I immediately received my new VPS information.  The ticket system at HostUS has a very fast turn around.  Staff  at HostUS are very courteous and helpful making for a great user experience.

Tried the VPS out last night just to see whether I could get in and everything is ready.  I checked the OS I was set up with and it’s a minimal installation of CentOS – just the way I wanted it without having asked for it.  The VPS was also set up for my chosen location which is Dallas – the fastest location in the tests I’d done previously.  I now just need some time so hopefully there will be this weekend – fingers crossed.  I may try out new ways to secure the VPS first before I start my VestaCP installation.  Like I haven’t tried the key security yet.  I did manage to find a PuTTY link and have created a key, so will see over the weekend if I can use that key with HostUS.  HostUS has an option in its VPS Panel for setting up the key.  So may try that out.

OK now for the details and price of this spiffy new VPS of mine. I went for the most basic one as I was after a cheap VPS.  I was hoping for 1 core and 1GB RAM, but 768 MB RAM and 768 MB vSwap should be OK.  Price is 7.98 US $ per quarter (2.66 US $/month). I thought that was a really great deal:

OpenVZ (unmanaged)
1 CPU Core
768 MB RAM & 768 MB vSwap
20 GB Disk Space
500GB Bandwidth
1 IPv 4
1 IPv6 plus 3 additional ones that can be claimed (I’ll probably stick with the IPv4 for now)
Great User Panel with plenty of Admin options including ability to reset OS

More info about the VPS is available from https://hostus.us/openvz-vps.html.

In the meanwhile I’ve also set up the domain I’m going to use with NameCheap for two new name servers.  NameCheap allows one to create two name servers with one IP.  Thought I may just as well do that so by the time I load VestaCP the DNS will have propagated.  We’re getting there!

 

 

 

Plans for a VPS with VestaCP as Admin

Am planning to get a VPS so I can install VestaCP as an Admin.  I first checked out all of the links at afreecloud.com for a VPS as they have to be good, but the prices are a bit steep for what I have in mind.

Done lots of research and am presently checking out hostus.us.  What particularly impressed me is when I arrived at a Blog of someone who is not only enthusiastic about recommending hostus.us but a VestaCP enthusiast – couldn’t get better than that.  Here is a link to his blog:

Review: Reliable VestaCP VPS hosting with HostUS

Only hickup so far is that HostUS didn’t like my IP.  So am keeping fingers crossed that it still may happen as I’ve asked them to please be nice to my IP. Think it’s high time I return to Canada so I don’t run into these IP difficulties all of the time.

GREAT beginnings – Afreecloud.com

I’m a member of freevps.us, an awesome post for VPS host.  Not only in terms of VPS hosting, but providing a community of experts who are generous in sharing their resources with others.  There is a section in the Forum for posting free related services, and someone recommended Afreecloud.com for free hosting.  It immediately grabbed my attention when I learned that AFreeCloud was a project of Joe Dougherty, co-founder of Secure Dragon LLC. and previous administrator of FreeWebHostingTalk.com. It had to be good. Then when I checked the hosting plans on offer, the clincher for me was that the free hosting comes with VestaPanel. This would be a great opportunity for me to finally get to grips with VestaPanel on the user end of things.

Roll back almost two years ago when I had tried to install VestaCP on a VPS of mine, I had so much difficulty with setting up the DNS that I finally threw in the towel and went with WEBUZO instead.  I knew that VestaCP was the better of the two, but there was very little documentation and lack of support at that time.  I still would like another chance to install VestaCP, however am sure that working with VestaCP as a user in my Blog will provide an important stepping stone to get there.

Signing up with Afreecloud.com was a breeze.  I first read the FAQs and learned one was not allowed to use a proxy.  Thankfully my IP must have been OK as I was immediately able to access an account and apply for a hosting account.  The Website is unbelievably fast and the application process seamless and almost instant. The FAQs said to expect the hosting account to be opened from 1-3 days.  Mine was up and running within hours of opening the account.  Good beginnings indeed.  While I was waiting I signed up for the Forum as well.  It’s a bare bones Forum consisting mostly of Server Announcements by the staff and reports of problems by members.  Forum is well maintained as everything else on the Website with no spam whatsoever.

Vesta Hide and Seek CP

My new hosting account with VestaCP comes with compliments of Afreecloud.com.  I was sent an e-mail with a login and password, and that was all.  No documentation, no step by step guide. This ties in with the Terms and Conditions of Service which stipulates the user  to find his/her own way in working with VestaPanel.  The challenge begins!

A first look at VestaCP was quite confusing.  It looked like an index of a kind and was not sure where all of the functions were.

Userpanel

Took a while and lots of fumbling for me to finally figure out that the top part was a NAVIGATION PANEL.  If one clicks on any of the links it opens with its corresponding Window directly below the navigation bar.  I then also found if I hovered my mouse near the top right hand corner of the bottom corresponding Window that it shows some action links.  Took a while to figure out that both add on and sub-domains are created in the USER panel.  For the free hosting account only one domain/sub-domain is included of course.

Searching for the FTP Account Function

VestaPanel of course doesn’t come with its own File Manager, which to me as a cPanel user was a big challenge.  So more than ever I’d need essential FTP info to upload files with FileZilla.  The e-mail with my login and password didn’t include FTP info.  So I reckoned that it had to be somewhere in the NAVIGATION BAR, but I couldn’t find a link whatsoever.  Nothing in the Navigation Bar.  Next I thought it had to be in the USER Panel.  Also no FTP link or info in the User Panel.

Finally after plenty of searching and nearly giving up I found the FTP Account function hidden right at the bottom of the Domain Editing Window.  One has to click on WEB in the NAVIGATION BAR first, then on the domain, then hover the mouse over the right top corner of the bottom section, and click on the EDIT link for the domain.  If one then scrolls to the bottom of the EDIT Window, VOILA there is an option to create an FTP account.  Felt an enormous relief when I finally found the option!  And was totally impressed that I could send the info to my e-mail account.  Great stuff!

VestaCP FileZilla Struggles and Lessons

Once I had finally found the VestaCP function to create an FTP account, I thought I was set, just to find that the FileZilla Host Name didn’t want to resolve.  The Host Name was the sub-domain that was given to me.  This was fairly easy to sort out though as all I needed was to Google the problem and then found a suggestion to use the IP address instead of the Sub-Domain.  That worked!  I was finally able to upload my files.

Plan was to create this WordPress blog, which usually is effortless with cPanel and WEBUZO Softaculous.  Not a big deal though as I’m quite experienced with WordPress so downloaded an up to date version of WordPress, extracted the files and was able to upload these without any problem to my hosting account.  This was the first time when I discovered how very fast and efficient my hosting account was.  Speed of transfer was unbelievably fast.  Was totally blown away.

Effortless DBase with VestaCP

Have to commend VestaCP for at least making the creating of a DBase almost effortless.  Much easier than in cPanel.  By the time of course when I got to creating a database for my WordPress site, I’d already grasped the VestaCP hide and seek navigation, so was able to find the link for creating the database much easier.  Database

What was great is that I didn’t need to create a separate user, and I was able to get the DBase details to be sent to my e-mail.

Well done Vesta!

Subdomain DNS delay to propagate!

My next struggle with VestaCP happened after I had uploaded my WordPress script files and was ready to install WordPress.  When I typed my sub-domain in the address line hoping to get the WordPress Installation Window, nothing happened.  Page couldn’t be found. Darn!

Then followed almost an hour or more of swotting up how the DNS records work. I Googled it and found some documentation at Servermom.org. That provided a learning curve but didn’t solve my problem. I was reminded of the reason I had ditched VestaPanel in 2014 when I had installed it on my first VPS and was wondering whether that was going to happen again.  I just couldn’t get the DNS to work. And then it worked!  Turned out that it had been a simple matter of needing the sub-domain to propagate first.

Usually with cPanel the subdomain propagates immediately, but with VestaCP one has to give the newly created subdomain some time to propagate first.  Whilst still working on the DNS and wondering what I could do to fix it, I discovered that the Domain had finally resolved to the WordPress Installation page.  I was in the process of installing my first WordPress site with VestaCP.  What a great relief that was!

GREAT WordPress hosting experience!

Once I had overcome the initial struggles with getting to grips with VestaCP, setting WordPress up with my hosting account from Afreecloud.com was an absolute pleasure.  The hosting account is unbelievably fast, like probably double or even triple the speed of my average free hosting experiences to date.  Plugins were installed almost instantly.  Just a couple of clicks and I had installed my Twenty Thirteen and Child themes, WordFence and Limit Login Attempts and Duplicator Backup and Migrate Plugins.  I also turned off the comments as I usually do, deleted all of the posts and pages as well as plugins and themes that had been pre-installed. Created a few pages and a menu on the fly. All of that in a matter of minutes.

I’m almost certain this is going to turn into a favourite free hosting account of mine.  I love how fast it works!  Thanks Afreecloud and thanks to Xinen at freeVPS.us who introduced our Forum to Afreecloud!

Afreecloud passes the Duplicator test!

I’m a great lover of the WordPress Duplicator Plugin that allows one to back up and move WordPress sites effortlessly.  However, probably because it is as good as it is, it can be quite finicky with how PHP needs to be set up.  With cPanel one does get a good idea which version PHP is being used and what options have been selected by the Admin.  With some cPanel setups one can even enable those options oneself.  With VestaCP there is no separate section for PHP and no visible info about its configuration.  Closest one gets  is when one checks the Domain in the edit window and one can see the basic options that have been enabled for PHP.  So of course since this is a very basic free hosting account and VestaCP a very basic panel, I fully expected the Duplicator plugin NOT to work.  And then couldn’t believe when it actually worked!

First the Backup Process passed the initial test by the Duplicator Plugin dialog Window, then indicated a few problems including the processing time that the PHP had been set up with.  I then overrode those, and I’m almost certain the processing time issue was sorted out because of the great speed of the hosting account.  I was blown away by the speed with which the backup package was created.  Was effortless to download it to my computer as well.

I still have to experiment whether I can use the Duplicator Plugin to migrate an existing WordPress site to the hosting account with VestaCP – probably could have done it, although it would have been tricky and I’d have missed out in all of the other learning experiences.  Still, it passed the duplicator backup package test, whereas quite a few cPanel free hosting accounts were unable to do so.  Mostly because of the way the Admin had set up PHP. Another thumbs up for Afreecloud.com!