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Old
  Post #1 (permalink)   02-22-2010, 12:40 PM
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Dear forum members!

I'm a simple computer programmer, and I create web based software.

I would like to be able to manage my own server.

I know you say "Go get a managed one", But I have to figure out my own now!

What do I need to learn to manage my own server? can you list the topics i.e. "security" please?

And how hard is it doing "all" this? I don't want to sell anything, just my own server for my own web based app.

Can you please list what I need to learn "very well" in order to have my own server runing?

What are the most important things I need to learn?

How hard can it be to mess up something as stale as Debian anyway if it so "stable"?

So, I'm open for all your ideas, suggestions and recommandation.

Just please do not say "just mess up with it" or "get a managed server."

As I said, I'm ready to mess up with it, but WHAT do I need to mess up in order to know enough to manage a server?

Also sources to learn from are highly appreciated.

Thank you!
 
 
 


Old
  Post #2 (permalink)   02-22-2010, 02:01 PM
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How hard can it be to mess up? a couple little characters on the keyboard - "rm -rf /"... you may as well have signed your own death warrant

Just because software is stable, that doesn't mean that it's fool proof. Stable only means that they've done their best to strip out bugs from conflicting programs etc. It has no bearing on how the system actually operates.

As far as learning things on your own, be ready for a lot of learning, reading, testing and failures. Please Please Please use a testing server and not a production server for your learning. You don't want to be providing services to a customer if you're only testing things out.

Security is a huge concern. Have you ever used the shell console in Unix before? If not, do a search in google for "common unix commands". The CLI (Command Line Interface) is your friend. Once you know the basics of moving, copying, grepping, finding, deleteing and linking, then you'll want to get into shell scripting. Do you have any experience with Perl, CGI, PHP or any scripting lanugage? If not, you'll want to get your hands on an introduction to PERL. There's even some "books for dummies" series on BASH SCRIPTING (which is from the command line in Unix).

Get into forums involved in Unix and Shell. Google search will be a big help to you. You'll need to find books or papers on how to read logs on a server. How to close and open ports, permissions, file creating, more logging, and then you're a little closer to operating a server.

You hear people say "get a server a play with it" and while it's not what you want to hear, it *IS* the best way to learn things. You can read as many books and papers as you want, but until you physically are doing the process and seeing the results first hand, you'll not actually LEARN how to do it. Pick up a low end VPS server as it provides root access to you. You can use a separate boot on your personal computer too if you wanted.

Learning unix is like telling someone you want to learn Japanese! It's not easy, and if you're not using it on a regular basis, you'll forget it. Also, if you don't have someone around that you can practice it with, your learning curve is a lot higher.

Much like you probably didn't go to school to learn how to use Windows (much of it was click and trial & error), the same is said for a lot of Unix.

I can give you unix commands for various tasks, but until you understand the root of them, the commands aren't much help;

netstat -plan|grep :80|awk {'print $5'}|cut -d: -f 1|sort|uniq -c|sort -nk 1

That's not going to do you much good unless you first know what "netstat" is, and then how to use grep, what :80 is and what the final thing is for the output (in this case, how many people are looking at port 80, from what IP, and how many instances from that IP)

Grep, Find, SED, PS, Generic Unix Comands and netstat I use on a DAILY (if not hourly) basis when managing a server. Start with these.

"security" for the most part is just a singular word for good server management. Knowing how to upgrade programs and scripts will be half the battle. Keeping things updated is a big part, and then finding and eliminating trouble areas is the final part. This is all done in REACTIVE MANAGEMENT. If you want to be PROACTIVE, then you'll need monitoring scripts to help you out. Thankfully thousands of them already exist on the web that you can use freely.
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Old
  Post #3 (permalink)   02-22-2010, 02:33 PM
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Conor, great post. The OP would be better off started with a managed and then when finally comfortable, go for an unmanaged.
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Old
  Post #4 (permalink)   02-22-2010, 04:19 PM
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Wow! handsonhosting, thank you very very much!
This is one of the best answeres I've ever received in my life for any of my questions! Really appreciate it!

I understand all you mean, and I'll do as you say, by "trying". Tomorrow I'm installing the Debian on a seperate PC and I'll start with a home web server.

Please allow me to tell you a little about myself and my needs, and I hope you'll be kind enough to give me some ideas as a professional.

Yes, I'm familiar with Shell and some commands, how Linux works, C, C#, Php, Perl and some other programming languages, yes..

What I want is.. As I live in Europe and most of my clients will be from there too, I want to get a server from Germany.

I'm thinking of Netdirekt and... IF I want to get a Managed Server from some other company, I have to pay 4x the price to get the same thing!

All I want to do is to run a webserver and mysql for a web-based application.. And maybe host a few sites of the company.

So I want to get an unmanaged server and run it.. But I can't monitor it 24/7. I can perform daily things, even a few times a day.. But not all the time.

So does this mean I should not try to manage my own server?

Do I need to hire a guy or a company, like yours, and pay extra to do that?

I respect your job tremendously.. It is very hard and I am this hesitant because I am not sure if I can handle it.. But then I think it is just one server and I don't need to much on it..

So, do I need to spend hours everyday and monitor it 24/7 or can I perform daily tasks, or a few times a day, and be cool with it and do whatever I want?

I hope you understand what I mean and care to give me some recommendations.

Thank you, once again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by handsonhosting View Post
How hard can it be to mess up? a couple little characters on the keyboard - "rm -rf /"... you may as well have signed your own death warrant

Just because software is stable, that doesn't mean that it's fool proof. Stable only means that they've done their best to strip out bugs from conflicting programs etc. It has no bearing on how the system actually operates.

As far as learning things on your own, be ready for a lot of learning, reading, testing and failures. Please Please Please use a testing server and not a production server for your learning. You don't want to be providing services to a customer if you're only testing things out.

Security is a huge concern. Have you ever used the shell console in Unix before? If not, do a search in google for "common unix commands". The CLI (Command Line Interface) is your friend. Once you know the basics of moving, copying, grepping, finding, deleteing and linking, then you'll want to get into shell scripting. Do you have any experience with Perl, CGI, PHP or any scripting lanugage? If not, you'll want to get your hands on an introduction to PERL. There's even some "books for dummies" series on BASH SCRIPTING (which is from the command line in Unix).

Get into forums involved in Unix and Shell. Google search will be a big help to you. You'll need to find books or papers on how to read logs on a server. How to close and open ports, permissions, file creating, more logging, and then you're a little closer to operating a server.

You hear people say "get a server a play with it" and while it's not what you want to hear, it *IS* the best way to learn things. You can read as many books and papers as you want, but until you physically are doing the process and seeing the results first hand, you'll not actually LEARN how to do it. Pick up a low end VPS server as it provides root access to you. You can use a separate boot on your personal computer too if you wanted.

Learning unix is like telling someone you want to learn Japanese! It's not easy, and if you're not using it on a regular basis, you'll forget it. Also, if you don't have someone around that you can practice it with, your learning curve is a lot higher.

Much like you probably didn't go to school to learn how to use Windows (much of it was click and trial & error), the same is said for a lot of Unix.

I can give you unix commands for various tasks, but until you understand the root of them, the commands aren't much help;

netstat -plan|grep :80|awk {'print $5'}|cut -d: -f 1|sort|uniq -c|sort -nk 1

That's not going to do you much good unless you first know what "netstat" is, and then how to use grep, what :80 is and what the final thing is for the output (in this case, how many people are looking at port 80, from what IP, and how many instances from that IP)

Grep, Find, SED, PS, Generic Unix Comands and netstat I use on a DAILY (if not hourly) basis when managing a server. Start with these.

"security" for the most part is just a singular word for good server management. Knowing how to upgrade programs and scripts will be half the battle. Keeping things updated is a big part, and then finding and eliminating trouble areas is the final part. This is all done in REACTIVE MANAGEMENT. If you want to be PROACTIVE, then you'll need monitoring scripts to help you out. Thankfully thousands of them already exist on the web that you can use freely.
 
 
 


Old
  Post #5 (permalink)   02-23-2010, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Wow! handsonhosting, thank you very very much!
This is one of the best answeres I've ever received in my life for any of my questions! Really appreciate it!
I'd have to agree 100%. This was a very well thought out reply.
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Old
  Post #6 (permalink)   02-23-2010, 12:33 PM
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Dear Steve-Hostirian,

Thank you for your appreciation!

If you could also please spare a few minutes and share your ideas, especially concerning my second message, it would be great help for me!

Thank you very much!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-Hostirian View Post
I'd have to agree 100%. This was a very well thought out reply.
 
 
 


Old
  Post #7 (permalink)   03-11-2010, 11:36 AM
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Did you plan on having any control panel with the server...something like cPanel or Plesk? A gui can help you out if you are just getting started. Companies like platinumservermanagement will manage a cpanel box for only $29.
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Old
  Post #8 (permalink)   03-11-2010, 11:39 AM
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Well I figured that hiring someone to "manage" it is quiet useless and waste of money.

Loads of software are there to monitor and if you don't mess with it much, opening unnecessary ports and controlling it well, you don't need it.

But thank you regardless. Good day!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hivelocity View Post
Did you plan on having any control panel with the server...something like cPanel or Plesk? A gui can help you out if you are just getting started. Companies like platinumservermanagement will manage a cpanel box for only $29.
 
 
 


Old
  Post #9 (permalink)   03-13-2010, 07:29 AM
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If I were you, I'd start by installing Linux on my own desktop pc, and start messing around with it: you'd learn fast
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Old
  Post #10 (permalink)   03-13-2010, 07:31 AM
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I've already been doing that for a long time.
At first, a server was something "A LOT" more complicated and "server managers" did super hard stuff. Apperently it is not the case. So I'm managing my own now and I have absolutely no problems with it.

Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyDedis View Post
If I were you, I'd start by installing Linux on my own desktop pc, and start messing around with it: you'd learn fast
 
 
 


Old
  Post #11 (permalink)   03-15-2010, 03:20 PM
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Very thorough response Conor - kudos!
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Old
  Post #12 (permalink)   03-15-2010, 05:10 PM
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There is plenty of information on the net on how to setup and run a server. The main advice i would give you is buy a whm/cpanel licence that way you have to do minimal shell commands after you have it setup properly. Your customers will also really appreciate an easy control panel.
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Old
  Post #13 (permalink)   03-17-2010, 01:37 AM
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Hi,

Try first in your PC with linux, or get a vps that you can start with... read from forums and websites with guides.. good luck!

Regards,
Bobby
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Old
  Post #14 (permalink)   03-18-2010, 03:09 PM
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A VPS would be a great place to start. The host manages the server nodes and if you screw up your little segment they can do a restore quickly and easily. This will save you the potential of having to pay a lot for reloads or hourly support to fix the problems you have created.

Check out CentOS and Ubuntu as well.
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Old
  Post #15 (permalink)   03-19-2010, 04:39 AM
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Try to get basic managed dedicated server & always remember that Google.com still exists. Yes, What ever the error you face today may be faced by 100s of people already. So, You can get a solution somewhere on the web.
 
 
 
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