An Introduction to Web Servers: Part 1

Once you have chosen an operating system, setup some basic security, and decided on a web-based control panel, you will need to decide what software you will run on your server. Some control panels will install your software for you, but it may be worth it to choose one that is right for your […]

How to Fix the Bash Shellshock Vulnerability on Linux

In the previous post, we explained how to check your Linux server for the highly publicized Shellshock vulnerability in Bash. Fortunately, most, if not all, major Linux distributions have already uploaded the fix into their package management repositories. All you have to do is install the latest version. Unfortunately, there is some evidence to suggest […]

How to Configure Linux Password Policies

One of your best weapons in the fight for server security is strong password management. Using the password policies you set in Linux, you enforce strong passwords, require password renewals and many other effective security measures.
First, you should install the cracklib module for PAM. Cracklib tests password strength. If you are using RHEL, CentOS or […]

5 Signs You Need a Managed Server

Unmanaged servers are available all over the web for lease. They are cheap, rapidly deployed and usually connected to very fast networks inside of secure data centers. Nevertheless, an unmanaged server is not for everyone. Here are five signs you need a managed server rather than an unmanaged one.

Your frustration level has reached an all-time […]

3 Things Ways to Troubleshoot BEFORE Rebooting Your Server

If you have grown up using Microsoft Windows on your desktop or laptop, you are probably accustomed to the universal solution to most problems: reboot. When your screen freezes, reboot. If your system gets slow, reboot. That is the standard solution that even tech experts often dish out to common users. As a server administrator, […]

How to Create and Change Linux System Passwords

Server and website security seems to be in the headlines often lately with news of government surveillance and the heartbleed exploit in SSL. More than ever, it is important that you have a strong password. If you need to change your password on your Linux dedicated server or virtual private server, this guide should help […]

3 Ways to Enable and Disable Linux Services

Linux services or daemons are programs that typically start when the system boots and remain running in the background until the system shuts down. What follows are three distinct ways to manage services RHEL and CentOS servers.
1. chkconfig – You can use this simple command to show current services, enable them, disable them, […]

Encrypt Your Linux Server Filesystem with eCryptfs

Encryption has become a highly requested feature on the web lately with all of the talk of government spying, heartbleed and general security concerns. While most discussion has centered around encrypting the transport of data (via SSL), you might also want your data encrypted on disk as well. On a Linux-based server, you can encrypt […]

Find Out When a Unix/Linux User Last Logged In

Keeping track of your users’ activities may seem a little bit intrusive, but it is very necessary for security-conscious system administrators. When users are logged onto the system, you should know, and if a user account is up to anything suspicious, knowing when the user’s logged in might very well save your system. It may […]

5 More Basic Server Security Tips

In a previous post, we highlighted some crucial security measures you should adopt to keep your dedicated server safe. What follows are five more tips that are of equal or even greater importance.
1. Restrict root – Root, the administrator or super user has full control of your server. Ideally, only one person should be […]

Must Have Linux/Unix Server Tools: Part 2

In part one, we looked at some of the bare essentials for getting started with your new server. The following are a few others that are sometimes essential, depending on what you want to do.
Server-side Scripting – If you are going to run dynamic websites, which you almost certainly will, you will need some type […]

5 Basic Server Security Tips

As we approach the end of the year, now might be a good time to review your security practices and fix any weaknesses in your system. The following are 5 basic security tips to keep your server secure.
1. Secure remote access – Whenever possible limit the amount of remote access users can obtain, and secure […]

Obsolete Networking Apps You Should Never Use

Server management is a constantly evolving science. What was once perfectly acceptable technology for a dedicated server may now be considered obsolete. Such is the case with four technologies you should probably avoid on a server you intend to use for hosting websites.
FTP – This is one technology that is still widely used but […]

How Often Do You Reboot Your Server?

Once upon a time, it was conventional Unix server wisdom to reboot every month or so to make sure it was working correctly. These days many Linux system administrators boast about the number of days their servers have been up and running without interruption. BSD and other Unix-like OS users also claim similar uptimes, sometimes […]

Common PHP Security Risks

PHP is a server-side scripting language that is among the most popular choices for web applications. Web administrators love it, and some of the world’s top websites rely on it. Because it uses server-side scripting, however, there are inherent risks involved with using it. By knowing those risks and how to deal with them, you […]

What Are Shadow Passwords?

On a basic Linux system, passwords are stored in the /etc/passwd file. This is usually OK for a single-user system, but on a multi-user system, such as a server, the passwords should be hidden and encrypted. Shadow passwords allow you to do just that . On Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS, the shadow-utils package […]

Linux Server Security Guide: Part 2

System Logs
Every Linux operating system keeps logs for system processes and applications. You can use those logs to monitor server performance and also sniff out any abnormalities that may be security security related.
There are some common Linux logs that are more important than others, such as the kernel log, authentication log, web server […]

Server 2012 End of Year Checklist

Another year has come and gone, and it is the perfect time for you to tighten up the screws on your server and make sure everything is in working order. The following checklist should help you along the way.

Run those updates – If you have been putting off updates, now is as good of a […]

Sentry Tools: Host-Level Security for Linux/Unix Servers

Linux dedicated server security does not have to be overly complex. With the right tools, you can accomplish your security goals with efficiency. One such project, Sentry Tools, offers host-level security services for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems.
Sentry Tools includes: PortSentry, Logcheck/LogSentry, and HostSentry. PortySentry protects against portscans. LogSentry automates log file […]

3 Linux Server Performance Tips

If this is your first time using a Linux server, you may soon find out that Linux offers many performance advantages over other operating systems. Still, there are plenty of things you can do to make Linux perform even better.
1. Use the Security Tools – You must use the securities tools at your disposal. If […]

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 […]

5 Reasons to Choose Colocation: Part 1

Colocation services are on the rise, and according to many reports, many companies have found it more beneficial to outsource their IT services, including their dedicated servers, to managed service providers. Whether you outsource your systems to the cloud or simply house your own servers at an off-site facility, there are many reasons to choose […]

Tips for Choosing a Colocation Facility

Whether you are just getting started with server management or are just looking to outsource your servers, choosing a colocation provider may seem like a confusing and time-consuming activity. The following tips may help you choose a good colocation provider.
1. Security first – Features aside, you need your servers to be physically secure and secure […]

A Basic Guide to SSH Server Connections: Part 2

Connecting to an SSH server is usually pretty straightforward, and your login credentials are encrypted for security. This makes SSH useful for other types of connections beyond basic shell access. Backup/syncing tools like rsync can use it, and file transfer programs like SCP for SFTP can use SSH technology for secure file transfers.
In part one, […]

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. […]

The Importance of Data Center Monitoring

Whether you have your own data center or intend to use the facilities owned by another company, monitoring is something that should be on your mind. Just as a server needs routine monitoring to make sure it is running smoothly and free from threats, data centers should also have sophisticated monitoring systems in place.
When shopping […]

How Colocation Can Save Businesses Money

In these tough economic times, businesses are looking for ways to save money anywhere they can find them. The rising costs of power, infrastructure, and employment makes it difficult for some companies to sustain their own data centers. Because of this, many of them have turned to colocation as a money-saving solution.
Colocation simply means […]

Back to the Basics #7: OS Security

The security of your operating system can be very complex. It is a large collection of software that has direct access to your hardware. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain an ongoing security policy for protecting your server’s OS.
The following items should be at the top of your server OS security list:

Kernel updates – The […]

Back to the Basics #4: Web Server Software

As we continue our overview of the very basics of dedicated server hosting, it is appropriate at this time to look at web servers. Dedicated servers have a wide variety of uses, from application hosting to gaming, but web hosting is one of the most prominent. As the entertainment and business worlds become more integrated […]

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 […]