Second VestaCP Installation

So had a second opportunity for a VestaCP installation with a new VPS that I received from freevps.us. Fantastic VPS called VPS27, courtesy of the admin and staff of freevps.us and GalaxyHostPlus. Specs of the VPS are:

Disk Size: 50 GB
Monthly Traffic: 1 TB
Memory: 1 GB
IP Addresses: 1x IPv4 & /80 IPv6
Virtualization: KVM
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Control Panel: SolusVM
Connection: 1 Gbit/s

I was obviously more experienced with the second installation of VestaCP, however phpmyadmin gave me another big hurdle. Think I got mixed up with the tutorial that I was following and the patch that is provided for the configuration of phpmyadmin. As with the first installation, it was easy to install the database. I then did things different, wondering whether just the patch provided by VestaCP would be OK on its own. Then after that set up the configuration file by using the one that was provided by the tutorial, and think that is where I blundered. At any rate, I then ended up with lots of errors. Tried to follow the tutorial by uploading a new phpmyadmin database, creating user, etc as well as tables. That also resulted in errors. Finally I went back to the VestaCP patch and tried both versions that were provided. Then copied the configuration file for dhsites.net to frihouse.net. And finally it worked.

The DNS worked flawlessly for the second installation as well. I found that I had to add permission for frihouse.net to own WordPress. So at least now know a few of the VestaCP quirks, and was able to negotiate all of them. Wish I could be a little more sure of the steps for phpmyadmin. At least I know it’s a challenge, and after a bit of struggles have been able to get past it.

Installation Commands for VestaCP

VestaCP provides an excellent “menu” for choosing what one wants to include in VestaCP in ONE installation command.  All one needs to do is navigate to its main page and you will find a menu with some default settings as well as options for the settings with which to  output ONE Installation Command.

Capture

The default Install Command will then look something like this:

bash vst-install.sh –nginx yes –apache yes –phpfpm no –vsftpd yes –proftpd no –exim yes –dovecot yes –spamassassin yes –clamav yes –named yes –iptables yes –fail2ban yes –mysql yes –postgresql no –remi yes –quota no

I wanted the lightest possible VestaCP for a beginner VPS.  I was planning to use the VPS as a single user, i.e. not allocate hosting accounts, so then elected not to install an FTP server.  VestaCP of course doesn’t come with a free File Manager, however I’m quite happy with FileZilla and decided to go with SFTP instead of FTP. I also decided not to install a mail server as it is easy if not used expertly for it to be vulnerable for exploits.  If mail is needed with my domain later on, I was planning to use a free e-mail host like Zoho or Yandex.  Yandex in particular is very generous with the number of e-mail accounts that are allowed for use with one’s domain.

Initially I thought to go for no DNS either, but soon found that to be a problem, so did a second install where I selected “named” for installation of a Bind Server.  I assumed that if I selected Remi for the Repository that that would make it easier to update VestaCP.  For the hostname I had to think what it should be, and then thought to go with vps.domain.tld, but in hindsight should only have gone with domain.tld.  It was easy to remedy though, as soon as my Panel was up, I created a new domain with domain.tld, and deleted the vps.domain.tld.  I don’t know much about fail2ban, but thought it could only be good to have, so still have to study how it works.

My choices for the Install Command were:

WEB:  nginx + apache
FTP:  No
MAIL: No
DNS: I first tried “NO”, but then reinstalled and selected “Named” – I needed the DNS
FIREWALL:  iptables + fail2ban
DB:  mySQL
REPOSITORY: Remi
FILE SYSTEM QUOTA: No
HOSTNAME:   vps.domain.tld – next time domain.tld

In summary these are the commands I used once I accessed my new VPS with PuTTY (note my VPS host installed a minimal CentOS-6-X86 on my VPS):

yum -y update
yum install wget ( didn’t really need it as it was already there)
yum -y install curl (didn’t really need it as it was already there)
curl -O http://vestacp.com/pub/vst-install.sh
bash vst-install.sh –nginx yes –apache yes –phpfpm no –vsftpd no –proftpd no –exim no –dovecot no –spamassassin no –clamav no –named yes –iptables yes –fail2ban yes –mysql yes –postgresql no –remi yes –quota no –hostname vps.domain.tld –email name@yahoo.com –password 123456

 

 

 

My PhpMyAdmin HURDLE!

After breezing through an easy VestaCP installation including almost instant DNS propagation I was more than ready to install a WordPress site.  I first tried to use my Duplicator Migration Installer, was delighted when the Installer.php worked, however everything else in VestaCP failed for the Duplicator Tool.  I soon realized that I’d have to copy the WordPress site the difficult way by first creating a database.

Adding a database in VestaCP is dead easy, however the fun started when after the addition the next step took me to PhpMyAdmin that was filled with error messages.  That was when I realized I needed some extra help with the configuration of PhpMyAdmin.  During my preparation before the install I had happened upon a YouTube tutorial and I used this in detail for setting up my PhpMyAdmin.

First step was to go into PhpMyAdmin as ROOT and I’d completely forgotten what my VestaPanel ROOT password was.  Initially I thought it was my VPS ROOT password, but not so.  Fortunately I was able to find it at this location:

etc/phpmyadmin/config.inc.php

Then of course bashed my head against the wall a few times as the password had been so obvious.

I was finally as Root in PhpMyAdmin and was able to follow the steps in the cheat sheet that was provided for Configuring PhpMyAdmin:

  • Add a new user
  • Keep drop boxes in window unticked – no privileges as yet
  • Create database with same name but with privileges
  • Check “global privileges” and tick all
  • Then hit “GO”
  • Import create_tables.sql.gz from a zipped folder provided by author
  • Log out of PhpMyAdmin
  • Edit config.inc.php (from zipped folder) changing name of user and password
  • Upload config.inc.php to /etc/phpmyadmin/config.inc.php
  • Log into PhpMyAdmin again as root

At this stage PhpMyAdmin was supposed to be error free.  Except there were still bugs in it.  The three last tables were disabled, and when I Googled it just couldn’t find an answer.  Was well and truly stuck until I found a solution by the VestaCP Team, which was the following patch:

wget –no-check-certificate https://raw.githubusercontent.com/skurudo/phpmyadmin-fixer/master/pma-centos.sh && chmod +x pma-centos.sh && ./pma-centos.sh

I was happy to read these words by Skurudo (VestaCP Guru):

adds in a mysql pma user / and the table phpmyadmin (if the user “pma” or the table “phpmyadmin” already exists, the script will delete those!);

It worked!  Next I was able to log in as the user of the Database I had created before I had started the PhpMyAdmin configuration (felt like ages before) and to import the WordPress site dbase.sql.

Mission accomplished!

SFTP WordPress Lesson

So last night spent hours trying to figure out why WordPress asks for FTP details when I want to load plugins or delete themes.  My searches first took me to WordPress.org where I worked through a large number of posts.  The suggestion that looked like a good one was to force the issue with the following addition to the wp-config.php:

define(‘FS_METHOD’,’direct’);

Initially that made me happy as on the face of it it looked as though it was working.  There was no request for FTP details, and when I attempted to delete a theme, it said it was “successfully” deleted, except the theme was still there.  When I tried to reinstall WordPress it attempted to install and looked as though it was doing something until it was obvious  it wasn’t.  WordPress Codex suggested by way of an alternative that “direct” could be replaced with “ssh2” or “ftpext” or “ftpsockets” in that order, however that didn’t work either.  WP reverted back to asking for FTP details again.

Next I navigated to the VestaPanel Community Forum and soon realized that the problem was unique to VestaPanel users – there were a good number of posts discussing the issue.  I was finally able to grasp that the owner of my WordPress installation was ROOT and not ADMIN and that was the reason WordPress was asking for FTP details.  When I had installed my VestaCP I had made a decision not to install an FTP server and to use SFTP .  Which in essence meant that ROOT and not ADMIN was the owner of my WordPress installation.  WordPress was looking for ROOT and since ADMIN didn’t have user privileges it asked for FTP details.  So found the following commands that I will be trying out tonight when I get home:

cd /home/admin/web/domain.tld/public_html/
chown admin -R *

Cross fingers it will work out.  If it does, then this is an important lesson for those with VestaPanel who elect to use SFTP instead of installing an FTP Server.

Note: It did work!  If one doesn’t install an FTP server and one uses SFTP one in effect installs scripts on public_html as ROOT.  One has to give ADMIN ownership of public_html otherwise it will have issues such as with WordPress.  The WordPress site I created is in perfect shape now.  Have to marvel at the speed of the site, especially when I’m working on it.  Probably a combo of VestaPanel as well as VPS speed.  Am very happy with the outcome!

VestaCP Up and Running!

I’m a VestaCP Admin now!  Really pleased with how things turned out. I had a domain and WordPress Website up and running within three hours of installation.  Granted I researched the steps almost to death in advance but I’m happy with my progress so far.  Sorting out phpmyadmin took most of the three hours, otherwise the WordPress site could have been up and running within 30 minutes.

The first hurdle I thought I may have difficulties with was the DNS, but that went like a breeze.  Probably because I’d already created name servers for my Domain at Namecheap and the DNS had already propagated.  Only tiny hurdle I had to sort out was finding where the packages were so I could add my domain name servers, and as usual it was staring me right in the face.  It was on top!

Next DNS issue that puzzled me a little was VestaCP created a domain with vps.domain.com.  Whereas it should have been domain.com.  So think I’m going to experiment with setting up VestaCP with domain.com instead of vps.domain.com from scratch to test it.  In this case I added a new domain called domain.com, and then deleted the vps.domain.com.  However think this could potentially create conflicts, so want to test that out.

The next challenge turned into quite a big one, i.e. the phpmyadmin configuration.  I had followed all the steps from a tutorial I’d found in YouTube, but it didn’t quite work out.  Then when I Googled for a solution I lucked out on a script from VestaCP for sorting out phpmyadmin, which I promptly installed, and that seemed to have sorted everything out.  I was impressed with the script as it deleted everything that needed to be deleted, so I didn’t need to figure out what needed to be deleted first. So now I am not quite sure which part was responsible for the success or whether it was a partial success on both sides.  Think I need to rerun everything tonight, to see for myself whether the script can stand on its own.

Once VestaCP phpmyadmin was set up and running, I was able to load a WordPress site.  First I tried my Duplicator Installer but that didn’t work at all.  Next I downloaded a fresh installation of WordPress and SFTP’d the new installation files to the domain public.html.  Then created a new database to which I imported the .sql file of the WordPress site.  Everything went well except for WordPress asking for ftp details every time I wanted to upload a plugin or theme.  That took hours to troubleshoot. Since I didn’t want to leave the site unprotected I uploaded all of the plugins by SFTP.  There is always more than one way to do anything.  Took me a long while, but in the end I had a perfect clone of a working WordPress site running on my VPS.

All in all I feel well satisfied with VestaCP and my spiffy new VPS from HostUS.  Speed is unbelievably fast compared with my two other VPSs.  I think I’ve found a great VPS home.

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!