Send System Messages to Server Users

If your server has multiple users, you might want an easy way to send messages to them and make sure they receive them. The best way to do that is to send it right in the console. One tool you can use to do just that is “wall”. With it, you can send messages […]

How to Grant MySQL Privileges with PHPMyAdmin

Managing MySQL from the command line is not exactly what one would call quick and easy. Also, there may be times when you do not have immediate access to SSH or have the time to type in multiple commands. Fortunately, phpMyAdmin offers a user-friendly and fast approach to managing your databases. For example, you can […]

Government Compliance Abroad: Is Your Server Ready?

Once you have a web presence, just about anyone in any country can access your website. That means your dedicated server will be subjected to the laws and regulations of just about every country where you do business. You can, of course, limit the number of countries that have access, but if your goal is […]

How to Remove MySQL Databases and Users

You may spend a good portion of any given day adding users and databases to your MySQL server, but you might not spend much time removing them, even after you or your users no longer need them. Nevertheless, it is very important to not leave unattended databases and users lying around for would-be attackers […]

Working with Hidden Files in Linux

Linux dedicated servers have a very easy system for making files hidden. In general this is not an ironclad security measure but can be used to prevent users from accidentally disturbing critical configuration directories or files. You might also use it to trim down directories to make only the files you actually need access to […]

Lessons Learned from Dedicated Server Management

In my years of managing Dedicated Servers, I have picked up a few tidbits of wisdom along the way. Not all of this wisdom will apply to every server in every situation, but hopefully you will take something useful away from this.

Rebooting will not solve everything. In my early server days, I used […]

Server End of Year Tasks 3: Remove Deactivated Accounts

As we move one day closer to the end of the year, it is increasingly important that you take some time to look at your server and find out what needs improving. You might also want to do some general house keeping, especially if you have neglected these clean-up tasks throughout the course of the […]

How to Send Live Messages to All Shell Users

In a previous post, we explained how to send a message of the day (MOTD) to all users whenever they log into your server’s shell. It is a perfect way to reach users when they log in, but it will not allow you to send new messages to users who are currently logged in. […]

Find Out Your Server Load, Users, and Uptime with One Letter

Sometimes, you are in a rush and just need to make sure your server is OK.  There are plenty of commands or scripts you could run to check on your server, but there is only one that only takes a single letter. The “w” command is quick, simple, and can be powerful.
When you are in […]

Restricting Shared Hosting Accounts

Shared hosting is a type of web hosting where multiple users share the same server. If you have a dedicated server, you might offer shared hosting accounts to your users who need hosting accounts with their own domains but are not ready for a VPS or dedicated server of their own.
Because shared hosting users have […]

Restricting Use of htaccess Files

One of the powerful features available on Apache web servers is the htaccess file. With it users can take some configuration control over their virtual web servers by setting Apache server directives within their own user directories. This allows users to change web server configuration settings without affecting the rest of the sites on the […]

Why Frequent Vulnerability Scans Are So Important

Some server system administrators, especially those with little experience, may operate under the mistaken belief that they will find security through obscurity. In their minds, as long as their server is small and not hosting major big-name websites, those with malicious intent will leave them alone.
What these idealists fail to realize is that attackers do […]

Should Shared Hosting Customers Have SSH Access?

Over at The Hosting News, we asked the question, “Do you need SSH with shared hosting?” This is a common question among shared hosting users, particularly those who are more adept at technologly. Here at Server School, we focus on dedicated servers, so the question for you is different. Should shared hosting customers have […]

Should You Offer SSH Access?

With a Linux or Unix dedicated server, you will probably access it via SSH on a regular basis. It is an essential feature for server system administrators. For other users, however, it is usually not essential and may even be a security risk. Do your hosting customers or company employees need access? A lot of […]

How to Reboot a Linux Server

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to avoid the need to reboot a dedicated server. The moment you do, your server will experience some amount of down time; hopefully only the amount of time it takes to shut down all processes and restart.
Therefore, it is a good idea to minimize reboots and schedule them […]

How to Manage MySQL Users in cPanel

MySQL is a powerful database server that you can use in conjunction with server-side scripting like PHP to enhance your websites with dynamic content.  By default, the only way to manage MySQL is from the command line. Fortunately, there are web-based tools like phpMyAdmin and cPanel that provide other options.
In cPanel, you can create and […]

How to Monitor Linux Server Users in Real Time

Under many scenarios, you may never allow other users to login to your Linux server, and you can still function successfully. In rare cases, however, you might need to give certain users SSH accounts to allow them limited access to command line functions within a chroot jail. In those situations, you need a […]

How to Delete Users from Your Server

Part of the regular housekeeping of a dedicated server is cleaning out remnants of past users.  The last thing you want is for former users (especially former employees) to continue to log onto your server.  This is especially dangerous if you had given them SSH access.
The solution is to delete users as soon as they […]

The Problem with User Agent Detection

If you have ever used a no-so-popular web browser, a beta version of a popular browser, or a mobile browser on a phone or tablet, you have likely encountered a few websites that insist your browser and/or operating system will not work on them.  In some cases, they are correct, but in most cases, the […]

7 Lessons I Learned from Having My Own Server

For several years I leased an unmanaged dedicated server from a company that will remain nameless. I loved the experience, but there were plenty of times when I made horrible mistakes. The following are seven lessons I learned from having my own server.
1. Whatever I thought I knew was far less than what I needed […]

Understanding Linux File Ownership

When configuring your dedicated server’s file permissions, it is important not to overlook file ownership. In Linux and other Unix-like operating systems, every file is assigned an owner, and that owner belongs to a group. A file can have generally liberal permissions but only for a particular user or group. Similarly, a […]

Things to Consider Before Hosting Other Websites

When I first decided to get a dedicated server, it was for the purpose of hosting my own websites. It gave me the power, freedom, and flexibility to expand my sites and run them the way I wanted. Over time, however, I began hosting sites for a select few other people who paid […]

How to Lock User Accounts After Login Failure

Few web hosting users are robotic enough to always type their usernames and passwords perfectly every time they try to log in, but repeated failed attempts to access an account could be evidence of a security problem. As a precaution, it is a good idea to have accounts locked after a number of failed […]

Understanding Linux User Permissions

On dedicated servers running Linux or Unix-like operating systems, the default user account has limited permissions. This is a security measure that prevents an average user from wreaking havoc on an otherwise properly functioning server.
In order to perform administrative tasks, a user needs to login as root. On most servers, it is common […]

Remote Login Monitoring

SSH (Secure Shell) is a powerful tool for dedicated server management. With it, you can remotely log into your server and manage nearly every application, service, and website. On Unix and Linux operating systems, SSH usually comes installed by default, with one SSH-enabled user.
Under normal circumstances it is safer to only have that […]

Restrict SSH User Access to System Files

For most shared hosting accounts, you will not give your users SSH access, but there are situations where you might. In those unique situations, you need to make sure that the SSH user cannot frolic freely throughout the filesystem, viewing files that should be restricted to the server administrator.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way […]

Jail FTP Users to Their Home Directories

Even if you trust your users not to purposefully hack your server, allowing them to peruse your entire file system of your dedicated server whenever they want is definitely a bad idea.
On most Linux distributions, the normal users do not have permissions to make any changes to system directories like /etc /var and /usr, but […]

What is a Chroot Jail?

On Unix-like operating systems, such as Linux, a chroot jail is the common expression used to describe a section of a filesystem that is sectioned off for a particular user. On a web server, it is particularly useful for the security of shared hosting accounts.
Without a chroot jail, a user with limited file permissions […]

Linux Server Password Complexity

On a dedicated server, password complexity determines the length and character combinations of user passwords. In Linux password management is controlled by PAM (pluggable authentication modules), which is installed by default.
Unfortunately, configuring PAM is no walk in the park. Once you figure it out, however, you will not have to configure it very […]

How to Find Users on a Linux Server

There are a couple of ways to find out users information in Linux. One of the most basic methods is to use the “who” command. This will tell you who is currently logged in to your Linux dedicated server.
First, log into your system’s shell via SSH. Next, login in as […]