Ajenti: Free and Open Source Alternative Control Panel

Most small and medium web businesses turn to cPanel or another commercial control panel when they want GUI management of their servers. But not everyone can afford the licensing fees, and some people just want a free and open source alternative. The first that probably comes to mind is Webmin, but it is no longer […]

Must Have Linux/Unix Server Tools

Once you have deployed and booted up your first Linux server, you may suddenly find yourself in an awkward situation where you are unsure what to do next. There are so many options and so many ways to configure it that you might feel overwhelmed. The following tools are essentials for getting started with a […]

Install and Configure APF Firewall on an Ubuntu Server

In a previous post, we learned how to install a basic LAMP server setup on an Ubuntu Server. Once you have Apache, MySQL, and PHP up and running, you should strongly consider reconfiguring your firewall to accommodate it, while still keeping your server secure. While you could labor at iptables configuration manually, […]

How to Setup Remote MySQL Access

Under normal circumstances, your MySQL server may only allow applications to connect to it locally, meaning both are running on the same server. If, however, you run MySQL on a separate machine, you will need to configure it to permit remote connections.
(Note: Replace terms in italics with the correct information from your own server)
Step […]

Eradicate Malware with LMD

Worried about malware? No? You should be. Cyber criminals are always looking for new and creative ways to attack your server or user your dedicated server to attack others. There are plenty of prevention methods you can have in place, but you should also have a system for detecting malware that may have already made […]

Linux Server Security Guide: Part 3

Network Security
When it comes to network security, your firewall is one of your most important tools. It is generally a good idea to have multiple lines of defense, such as a router-level firewall and also a server-level firewall that is software-based. Usually, you can block most ports with your firewall, and only allow […]

Server OS Profile: OpenBSD

OpenBSD is a derivative of the free and open source Unix operating system BSD, which was first developed at the University of California, Berkeley. The OS is probably best known for its mascot, the puffer fish named Puffy, and also for its very popular sub-project OpenSSH, which is used on many of the servers around […]

Should You Worry About Malware on Your Server?

Malware is in the news all the time. From high profile cyber attacks on government infrastructure, to viruses that affect millions of home computers, malware is everywhere. As a system administrator, should you be concerned about malware on your dedicated server or virtual private server(VPS)?
First, we should have a clear definition of what malware is. […]

How to Disable a Firewall on RHEL/CentOS

It is generally not a good idea to disable the firewall on your dedicated server, but there are instances when it might be necessary. For example, if you need to run some network tests or perform some type of maintenance, you may need to have your firewall disabled. Most Linux distributions come with the standard […]

Back to the Basics #6: Network Security

In order for a network to be secure, you need to have some type of firewall in place. Firewalls typically protect your server from a wide variety of network attacks, all of which focus on weaknesses or holes in your network. For example, an cyber-criminal may scan your server for an open, unused port and […]

Back to the Basics #5:Other Server Software

Choosing your operating system and web server software is only the beginning. If you need a custom dedicated server built to your specifications, you will need to specify several other types of software, including database system, DNS, mail transfer agent (MTA), scripting languages (PHP, Ruby, Perl, etc.), firewall, virtualization, and more.
DNS – The management of […]

Back to the Basics #2: Networking

In the second post of our “Back to Basics” series, we will take a look at server networking. Generally speaking, as a system administrator, you will not have to worry about the actual networking infrastructure. If you have an in-house server, your company will likely hire someone to establish connectivity, and if you are renting […]

Starting, Stopping, and Reloading Services

Linux-based dedicated servers typically run two primary types of programs: those which require user interaction and those which perform tasks in the background without user intervention. Those programs that run in the background are commonly called “services” or “daemons”.
Servers usually require numerous services to run the background, such as the web server, mail server, database […]

3 Lessons I Learned About Security

In my years as a system administrator, I learned that security is much more complex than most people realize. You cannot get away with doing just one thing. One security measure will not save your dedicated server or VPS. Your security must be comprehensive and constantly adapting to defend against intruders. The following are three […]

Anti-Virus and Anti-Spam Tools for Linux Servers

Desktop Linux distributions have a distinct advantage over Windows.  They are not plagued by the millions of viruses that circulate the Internet wreaking havoc on unsuspecting PC users.  These viruses are designed for Windows and normally only affect Windows systems.
Despite the apparent immunity Linux enjoys, a Linux server should still have some type of […]

Steps to Take When Your Server Is Unresponsive

The day has finally arrived. You feared it would come and tried to prepare for it, but now that it is here, you are frozen, not sure what to do. That moment when you go to your website and realize it is offline or, even worse, get a call from a client complaining about down […]

Dedicated Server Terminology: Part 3

This is a continuation of Dedicated Server Terminology parts 1 and 2.
11. Cache – Caching gives your server a distinct advantage by keeping the most frequently-used data in memory or easily accessible on the disk.  Just as an operating system might cache important application data, you can configure your web server to cache […]

Connecting to MySQL from a Remote Location

The most common way to work with and manage MySQL is directly, using the command line or a web-based tool such as phpMyAdmin.  If, however, you have more than one database server or need to do routine complex tasks, the former may be too tedious, and the latter may be too simple.  Another possible reason […]

How to Change Your Server’s SSH Port

By default the Linux SSH server (usually OpenSSH) listens for connections on port 22.  Everyone knows this, including hackers.  If you have other security measures in place, it may not matter if would-be attackers know your SSH port.  Nevertheless, having SSH on another port other than the default may add […]

5 Tips for Setting Up a New Server: Part 1

Once you have made the decision to move to a dedicated server, you may wonder, “What now?”.  There is a lot to do when you first get started, and not all of the necessary tasks may be immediately apparent.  What follows is a brief checklist that may help in those first hours with your new […]

7 Ways to Troubleshoot Database Connections

With most of the world using dynamic websites, databases have become a regular part of the web hosting experience. Even if your database always works and run smoothly, you may have users on your dedicated server who are not so fortunate. Because many applications, scripts, and users may attempt to access the database […]

4 Tips to Secure Apache Web Servers

Having an ironclad firewall for your dedicated server is only part of the equation when it comes to security. Certain ports on your server must remain open in order for it to function, and any open port is a potential target for would-be attackers. Port 80, the standard HTTP port used by Apache, […]

The “setup” Command on Red Hat-Based Servers

Server configuration can be time consuming, even if you happen to have a web-based control panel. On Linux-based dedicated servers, you can find configuration files for most of the applications and services in the /etc directory. These are text files that are not difficult to edit, but they do often require you to […]

4 Great Uses for Proxies

When many people think of proxies, they often imagine public school Internet filters or the tools people use to circumvent them. There are, however, numerous other uses for proxies, especially for dedicated servers.
A proxy is basically a network layer that sits between the computer and the Internet. All traffic passes through the proxy, […]

How to Change Your Server’s FTP Port

By default, most dedicated servers use port 21 as their FTP (File Transfer Protocol) port. Most FTP clients also recognize this port out of the box, without any configuration necessary. For the majority of your server needs, you will want to leave the default port as is.
In a few unique situations, however, you […]

Protect Your Server with APF Firewall

Protect Your Server with APF Firewall
There are many firewall solutions out there, and I do not pretend to be an expert on security. Nevertheless, I can testify from experience that some solutions are easier, more secure, and more affordable than others. APF (Advanced Policy Firewall) from R-fx Networks is one solution that […]

Secure Apache Server with ModSecurity

Your server’s security is a top priority. After all, you have undoubtedly spent a good deal of time and money acquiring, configuring, marketing, and optimizing your server. The moment it connects to the Internet, however, it has entered a hostile environment.
The first line of defense on any server is the network firewall. […]

How to Close and Open Ports with iptables

Linux dedicated servers typically rely a software firewall system called iptables. With it you can control which ports allow inbound and/or outbound access. It is very important to have iptables configured properly, both for your server’s functionality and for its security.
There are many tools, both command-line based and web-based that allow you to […]