When setting up my VPS server there were a number of options for building it. The VPS admin tool gives you “virtual” control over the power switch and the ability to rebuild the server with a fresh OS image at any time. A2 Web Hosting has a few flavours of Linux to choose from: CentOS (the GPL-based rebuild of Red Hat’s Enterprise Server 5), Gentoo and Ubuntu. I went with CentOS as I use it at work, and Enterprise-Grade always seems good to me.
From here on I’ll assume that you know something about the command line, and that you’ve got a good SSH client like the OS X Terminal or Putty and a way to upload files via an SFTP client like Cyberduck or Filezilla.
One my first steps with a pristine Linux operating system is to create a folder called “backup” and an “etc_original” folder in there and copy all of the original etc folder files there for reference.
cp -r /etc/ /backup/etc_original
What you’ll need on your server
Depending on the install/image you use you may have everything you need right there, but here are the packages I install out of the gate:
First off I install the screen tool (more about screen at www.cyberciti.biz/tips/how-to-use-screen-command-under-linux.html) so that I can walk away and reconnect to this process, rsync for moving things and backing things up and telnet for testing ports/servers:
yum install screen rsync telnet
Make sure Apache’s installed and that we’ve got all the PHP modules we need:
yum install httpd php php-cli php-zip php-mysql php-mcrypt php-mbstring
Also get some SSL support:
yum install mod_ssl openssl
Install MySQL client and server:
yum install mysql mysql-server
Install the firewall
yum install iptables
Once all of those packages are installed you’ll need to set them up.
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