When a site outgrows shared hosting, the owner has two anxiety-provoking issues: the price of upgrading to a VPS and the prospect of managing the whole server.
To what extent is the anxiety justified? Is managing a virtual private server as scary as it sounds?
Types of VPS Hosting
There are two types of VPS web hosting: managed and self-managed. The first type’s setup is preconfigured. The hosting service is responsible for installing the operating system and the other software needed to host your website.
Typically, you can manage the projects hosted on the server, terminate individual processes, and monitor the server’s health.
While managed hosting is the user-friendlier option, it’s not for everyone. Some admins want full control over the server. They want full access to the server to install and configure specific pieces of software. The best solution for them is a self-managed VPS.
With this hosting, you have the opportunity to tweak all the details. It would help if you had some technical experience with Linux.
What Does the VPS Hosting Service Do?
Your hosting service will deploy the server and install an operating system. In most cases, they install Linux; Windows VPS is rare. They might set up Nginx or Apache. They will provide the login instructions, and their intervention ends there.
If you have any questions, your host’s support staff might point you to some information to find the answer.
How to Set up Your Server
Your operating system determines the steps to set up your VPS. This guide will focus on Linux as the primary OS for web hosting. It’s popular because it’s versatile and open-source, making it more affordable.
Several communication protocols will let you connect to your VPS. You need Secure Shell Protocol (SSH) to configure your VPS properly. It will allow you to set up an encrypted connection to the server.
SSH can only function via a command-line interface. You can use the terminal to link if your computer uses macOS or another Unix-based OS.
You’ll need to use PuTTY or another SSH client if you’re using an older Windows version. Microsoft included SSH in Windows PowerShell five years ago.
You’re responsible for project security, and the server’s smooth performance and regular updates are an important part of this. They ensure that all new security features and patches are installed.
Commands vary with different Linux distributions. You need to use “apt update” for Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu, but “DNF check-update” or “yum check-update” for CentOS and RHEL.
The server will select the software that needs updating in the operating system.
Create a New User
You’ve been operating with the root user so far. That’s like the owner of the system. This user has unlimited privileges, and even the slightest slipup can have dire consequences. Thus, it’s a good idea to create a new user. It will still allow you to configure your server’s crucial settings, but you won’t have unlimited authority. The command “adduser” followed by the new username will achieve this. Then, just choose a password for the new account.
Get Firewall Protection
Most Linux systems use iptables, a firewall that filters incoming and outgoing traffic. It’s installed by default in most cases. You can use different configuration mechanisms with different distributions. For instance, CentOS’s default tool is Firewalld, and Ubuntu’s is called UFW. They don’t use the same syntax. Check your OS documentation to see how they work.
Managing a VPS on your own isn’t a one-time thing. You’re responsible for making sure your server performs optimally at all times. You can master its operation if you invest sufficient time and effort in lieu of a technical background.
If you don’t have this capacity, managing a virtual server is best left to a professional.