Help and Knowledge

Dedicated Servers

Dedicated Servers

Setting Up a Dedicated Server Using Linux

This document provides information about the various aspects of setting up a dedicated server using Linux. If you do not find the information you need, please contact us at support@tagadab.com.

Accessing the Tagadab control panel

Navigate to our site at www.tagadab.com and click the ‘Login’ link at the top right of the page.

Identifying your server's IP address

An IP address is a unique number that identifies your server on the Internet. Every server on the internet has at least one IP address. The IP address allocated to your server is displayed on the Tagadab control panel.

Accessing the Plesk control panel on your server

If you have Plesk on your server, you can access it through your web browser at:
https://:8443

The username to log in will be ‘root’ (no quotes) for Plesk 12 and ‘admin’ (no quotes} for earlier versions. The password will be the same as the default root password for the server. If you have not ordered the Plesk control panel you must administer your Linux server using the command line. You can order the Plesk control panel after you have bought the server by calling our Support Team at 020 3697 5537.

Getting SSH access to your server

Your server is set up with one account (root) by default. You will need your root password that is displayed in the “Dedicated Servers” section on the Tagadab Control Panel. You will also need an SSH client. If you are using Windows, we recommend Putty, which can be downloaded for free at:
http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html

On a Mac or Linux you can use the SSH command from the command line, for example: ssh -l root where is your server's actual IP address.

Maintaining password strength

The root account has full access to all aspects of the system and should be protected by a strong password. Our installation system generates a strong password when your server is built, and it is recommended that you continue to use passwords of equal or greater strength. Do not use passwords based on dictionary works, your mother’s maiden name, your favourite football team, or anything else that may be easy to guess. Passwords should contain a mixture of upper and lower case characters, numbers and special characters. Failure to use a secure password may leave your system open to attackers who could take control of your server and its data.

Adding another user

It is a recommended practise to use a ‘non-root’ account to access your server on a regular basis, reserving the “root” account for when absolutely necessary. If an attacker compromises your normal user account, they can access the system but will not have access to the root account. An attacker would need to compromise both passwords in order to take control of the system.

You should also deny the root account the ability to login via SSH, meaning you will always need to log in using your general account. When you need to do something that requires root permission, you can issue the su command and enter the root password.

To add additional user accounts:

  1. Get an ssh shell on your server
  2. Type 'adduser' followed by the username of the new account
  3. Follow the prompts. If you receive an error that says the 'adduser' command is not found, try /usr/sbin/adduser

Disallowing root login

Once you have created a general user account, you can stop the root account from logging on directly. This is done by editing the ‘sshd_config’ file, normally in /etc/ssh. Open the file in a text editor such as vi or nano (you will need to lookup instructions for using each of these programs) and look for the following line:

PermitRootLogin yes

Change this to:

PermitRootLogin no and save the file.

You will first need to log in via your general account, and then use the su command to become root. You should test that you can access your server by using your general account before you do this to make sure you do not lock yourself out of the server.

Changing your password

  • Get an ssh shell on your server
  • Type 'passwd' (no quotes) and follow the prompts

Change your server's hostname

  • Get an ssh connection to your server
  • Type 'hostname ' (no quotes)

This sets the hostname on your server. Please note that you will need to set up a DNS entry to give others access to your server at the new name (see below).

Setting a DNS entry for your server

DNS (or Domain Name System) allows people to access web sites and other servers by name rather than by IP address. To set a DNS entry for your server, you will need to own a domain. If you have a domain with Tagadab, set a DNS entry for your server by using the Domains page of your Tagadab Control Panel. If your domain is not with Tagadab, you will need to follow the instructions of the provider who hosts your domain. You may transfer domains from other providers to Tagadab by using our domain ordering page at www.tagadab.com/domains.

Setting your server's reverse DNS entry

A reverse DNS entry allows connected servers to look up the name of your server. This may be important when running a mail server as other mail servers may check your server's name before allowing emails to be transferred. You can set the reverse DNS entry for all the IP addresses allocated to your server on the Tagadab Control Panel. Simply go to the Dedicated Servers page in your control panel, click on your server’s IP address to open the control page for that server, and enter the reverse DNS name you wish to use in the appropriate field.

Starting a website

Your Linux server has the Apache 2 web server installed as a default. Depending on the version of Linux you selected, this may or may or may not be running. You can access the website with your browser by typing your server’s IP address (or name if you have set a DNS entry). If you are unable to view anything when you do this, you will need to start Apache. Login to your server via SSH, and use su to become root. Then run the following command:

/etc/init.d/httpd start

Or on Ubuntu:

/etc/init.d/apache2 start

Enabling FTP access

You can use SFTP / SCP to upload files instead of using FTP. SFTP / SCP is more secure, as all of the content (including your password) is encrypted before being sent to the server. FTP sends all passwords and data in clear text, which is susceptible to eavesdropping.

SFTP / SCP works almost exactly the same way as FTP, although some web design packages won’t support it and you will need a separate client. SFTP / SCP can be used directly from a Linux or Mac shell, or by downloading a client for Windows. We recommend WinSCP [http://winscp.net]. SFTP / SCP also has the advantage that you don’t need to configure a separate program – if you can login via SSH you can use SFTP / SCP.

By default, all of your web pages should be uploaded to the /var/www/ folder. This is called the web servers document root and can be moved to another folder if desired by editing the apache configuration file. If you would still prefer to use FTP rather than SFTP / SCP, an FTP server is installed by default; however, it is not enabled and will need to be configured. Vsftpd is installed on all of our Linux distributions.

Instructions for setting up Vstfpd are available here:

http://mirror.centos.org/centos/4/docs/html/rhel-rg-en-4/s1-ftp-vsftpd-c...

http://vsftpd.beasts.org/.

Changing the Apache configuration

You can make changes to the way your Apache web server behaves by making changes to the Apache configuration file. This is found at:

/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

Or for Ubuntu:

/etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Full Documentation for Apache can be found at www.apache.org.

Installing additional software

Your server has enough preinstalled software to run most types of websites; however, more advanced sites may require additional software with the built-in package manager. On Fedora, Redhat and Centos this is called Yum, whilst on Ubuntu it’s called apt-get. For instructions on using these, type ‘man yum’ or ‘man apt-get’ when logged in to your server.

More information

You can get more detailed instructions from the following websites:

Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com
Fedora Core: http://fedoraproject.org/
Red Hat: http://www.redhat.com
CentOS: http://www.centos.org

Some more general documentation can be found at The Linux Documentation project (http://tldp.org/) and HowToForge (http://www.howtoforge.com/), which is particularly good if you are new to Linux. You can also get documentation when you are connected to your server by typing in ‘man’ followed by the name of the program.