31Jul/130

System Rescue CD: First Steps

sysresccd login

Many of you have already heard about it or even used it once in a while, but most of you have probably not been introduced to it yet: Our rescue system! While hopefully not being needed at all, it provides many possibilities to fix certain problems and to bring the machine back online as soon as possible. When the server is down, every second counts. It is important to know what to do beforehand. Thus, I will provide you with some basic information first:

Our rescue system is based on the SystemRescueCD. This is a specialised Linux distribution for recovery purposes. I can highly recommend it for private usage as well. I always carry a bootable thumb drive with me ;). The rescue system starts on our servers via PXE network boot. This has several advantages:

  • It is available as long as the server is connected to our network.
  • It is always accessible with the same known login credentials.
  • It boots isolated from the operating system and its settings.

The rescue system can be chosen for Dedicated Servers or VPS's in your Customer Control Panel. After clicking on the rescue icon, a new page opens with a short info text and the version control. The version should match the operating system. This is 64 bit in most cases. Once you click on "Start rescue system", your server will reboot right away.

The system will be available after a few minutes via SSH under the server IP and the default port 22. The root password is the default one that we have sent you when you ordered the server. We can send you that e-mail again if necessary. We recommend PuTTy (command line) and WinSCP (file transfer) as Windows clients.

You will probably need access to your data. Check first which partitions are available:

fdisk -l

The root file system is usually located on /dev/sda1 or /dev/vda1. Use the following command to mount the according partition:

mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/custom

Your server files are now available in /mnt/custom.

If you use Windows as operating system on your server, our rescue system can be helpful despite the different architecture. The C: drive is usually located on /dev/sda2 or /dev/vda2. The command to mount it with write access is a bit different:

ntfs-3g /dev/sda2 /mnt/windows

You are now set to modify configuration files or to retrieve personal data. WinSCP is perfect for those purposes.

When you have finished your work and want to boot your server normally again, enter the following commands:

exitrescue
reboot

Your server should then boot from the hard disk again and be available as usual.

This was supposed to be a short introduction. Becoming familiar with the Linux shell and its possibilities is very advantageous. I can definitely recommend the tutorials on nixCraft for further reading.

More tutorials for certain procedures will follow, so stay tuned!

 

Posted by: Tino | Tagged as: , , , , No Comments
26Jul/130

Happy SysADMINDay 2013

22Jul/130

Wall of F(r)ame!

We dedicated a special place to our Top 3 poems in our office. They have been framed and hanged up on our wall of fame:

Contabo poems

Posted by: Katharina | Tagged as: , , , , , No Comments
19Jul/130

10 years Contabo in pictures: Part 3

The first and second part of my overview about the history of Contabo was about our beginning on the hosting market and our rapid and continuous growth up to the year 2007.

Now let's move to 2008.

Please find again on the chronicle below what has happened in 2008:

Contabo through the ages

In 2008 we relocated more than 700 servers from Frankfurt am Main to another data center location in Dreieich near Frankfurt, which was 15 kilometers away from the old location. After extensive planning (all customers were informed more than on time), the relocation has been executed, of course, at night in order to bring all servers online again within a short time.
Our removal team stayed in a small hotel in Dreieich for 2 nights, built up dozens of racks, connected them with cables and prepared everything for the new servers. Thanks to their continuous hard work for 2 days and nights, our customers haven’t been affected much.
Once the relocation had been completed and after all the efforts had been finished we had dinner at a little Greek restaurant in Dreieich. Although the Bifteki there was great and a cold beer helped to feel better 😉 some of us even fell asleep during dinner, right at the table.

Anyway, all the effort was worth it, because every server went online again in Dreieich without any complications and within a short time.

In the following you will find some impressions of our data center (2008) in Dreieich near Frankfurt:

empfang_dreieich_small

racks_dreieich_small

klima2_dreieich_small

klima1_dreieich_small

usv_dreieich_small

tisch_dreieich_small

cam_dreieich_small

klima_dreieich_small

Reasons for the relocation were among other things the good collaboration with Tiscali, an ISP that operated under the name “Nacamar” at that time. Just like our second server location in Munich that we operated at the same time, our new data center location in Dreieich was built and provided by Tiscali - and exclusively used by us.
These two locations gave us and Tiscali the possibility to benefit from each other: Tiscali's previous investments into the data center infrastructure worth millions of Euros hadn’t been for nothing but had been used by us for our increasing number of servers; and thus this has been very lucrative for both us. Our further growth was secured and we were able to offer top quality service to all of our customers.

Nonetheless, in the same year, we already worked on our new goal and initiated the merging of all our servers in just one location.
We planned and designed our own, new, big and modern data center location in Munich. In a modern office building on two floors we found the appropriate location for our plan.
On the first floor, that was bigger than 300 sqm, the data center area should be located; the floor above should include the office area and service area for our customer support department and for our technical staff.

In spring 2009 our plan became reality and several specialist firms started with their work, like mounting the double floor, electricity, air-conditioning and so on. Everything was directed by us.

Finally, in April 2009 our new data center in Munich with room for up to 4000 servers has been put into operation and our former data center locations in Dreieich and Munich were closed.
Since that time 5 years have passed and we still host all of our customer servers at that place. “Our servers” have already reached the number of 2500 machines – “our customers” are about to outnumber 10.000 from all over the world.

Thanks to our professional technicians we guarantee a smooth data center operation, twenty-for-seven. Our support team, which is responsible for competent instant service and individual requirements one may have, is available daily from 8am to 11pm via email (support@contabo.com) or by phone (local number). The office is occupied on 365 days a year including holidays and weekends.
We are dedicated to provide a response time of less than 1 hour, no matter what issue is concerned. This is what we call customer service made by Contabo!

Please be informed about any update and news here on our blog or on our Facebook page. In addition to that we provide further details regarding our data center on our website Contabo.com. Thanks to two webcams you are able to convince yourself live of your running server and that we haven’t been hit by any earthquake :-).

Our customer reviews on our website prove that we do not just preach excellent service but also live this idea. Doesn’t matter what kind of customer you are, whether you just host a small webspace package or a dedicated server with us – each of our customers gets our full and undivided attention.

Since the time when we have taken our new data center into operation in 2009, we continuously work on further improvements and on further developments regarding our product range. Many customers accompany us since our beginning, for more than 10 years right now, and this makes us really proud.

You will find an overview of the most important events and happenings of the last years in our news section on our website.

Here are just a few milestones:

- January 2010: We became a member of the RIPE
- February 2010: Relaunch and new design of our website
- June 2010: Introduction of our company blog
- July 2010: Additional upstream of 10 Gbit/s: Telia Sonera
- August 2010: Introduction of a new product: Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
- Winter 2010: Increase of 150% air-conditioning performance in our data center
- Spring 2011: Introduction of our Facebook page
- December 2011: Additional upstream of 10Gbit/s: Level3
- July 2012: Introduction of our Customer Control Panel (CCP)
- January 2013: Company name change - Giga-International became Contabo

And…we haven't finished yet!

At the moment we are working on further new projects, small ones and huge ones, for further improvements and products. You can imagine, our list of To Do’s is still very long and day by day, we proceed!

I hope I could provide you some insight into the history of Contabo, based on my three-episode series.
I would like to take this opportunity and say thank you to those without whom each milestone and plan would not have been possible. In short, Contabo wouldn’t exist without them!

Thank you to the whole team of Contabo,
for your dedication and effort, day by day!

Thank you to all of our customers,
for your confidence and loyality!

I’m looking forward to having a great time with you further on and to celebrating our 20th company birthday in less than 10 years!

15Jul/131

Rewrite rules with htaccess

Contabo Webspace XXLOne recurring question affects mostly our webspace packages, but should be interesting for many others as well:

How can I move the content of my main domain to a sub-folder without affecting its appearance?

 

cPanel always assigns one domain as the main domain for a user account. Add-On domains can be added easily, but they simply appear as sub-folders in the same folder that is being used by the main domain. Here is the effect:

/

  • public_html/
    • admin/
    • config/
    • data/
    • example2.com/
      • admin/
      • config/
      • data/
      • themes/
      • index.php
    • themes/
    • index.php

This can cause confusion when using several add-on domains. It would be better to have the content of the main domain in a separate sub-folder as well. However, cPanel does not offer a configuration option for this purpose. Luckily, this will not be necessary though, since htaccess rewrites allow specifying the actual location of the website content.

It is best to start with a fresh account. Otherwise, a full backup of all files is as always recommendable. The cPanel backup assistant will be helpful here.

The following steps can be done easily via FTP client.

If you are moving an existing website, create a sub-folder in /public_html and name it after the domain, e.g. example.com. Move all content of your main domain to the newly created folder. In our example this would include admin, config, data, themes and index.php. If there already is a .htaccess file, move it as well.

Then create a new .htaccess file in /public_html and paste the following:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example.com$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.example.com$
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/example.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ example.com/$1 [L]

example.com has to be replaced with your actual domain name.

After saving the file you can open the domain in your browser. The website should be displayed correctly.

The next step depends on the software that is being used on your website. In this example, we show the procedure for Joomla! 3 and WordPress.

Most scripts generate relative URLs based on their location by default. Our changes would cause links on your website to be shown like this:

http://www.example.com/example.com/index.php

To correct this behaviour, the base URL needs to be set statically in the Joomla! configuration. Open configuration.php with an editor and modify the following line:

public $live_site = 'http://www.example.com/';

configuration.php is usually stored read-only. You may need to gain write access first by modifying the file permission.

If you use URL Rewriting in Joomla!, edit the following line in the .htaccess file in the sub-folder of your domain:

RewriteBase /example.com

Make sure to remove the hash at the beginning of the line.

The WordPress configuration is similar. Open wp-config.php with an editor and modify the following lines:

define('WP_HOME','http://example.com');
define('WP_SITEURL','http://example.com');

The changes are not visible to visitors and your website is accessible normally. The new folder structure is much cleaner:

/

  • public_html/
    • example.com/
      • admin/
      • config/
      • data/
      • themes/
      • index.php
    • example2.com/
      • admin/
      • config/
      • data/
      • themes/
      • index.php
    • .htaccess

This is only one of the many possibilities of rewrite rules. If you desire more information on this complex topic, I can recommend the Apache documentation.

Posted by: Tino | Tagged as: , 1 Comment
15Jul/130

And another happy winner…

Running Linux

 

 

Posted by: Katharina | Tagged as: , , , , No Comments
8Jul/130

10 years Contabo in pictures: Part 2

In our last blog post we have already given you an overview about the history of Contabo since its foundation.

Now we would like to move on into 2006. For a better understanding keep again an eye on the chronicle of Contabo:

Contabo through the ages

In March 2006 we opened our first office in the heart of Munich. During a long night session we set up several tables, chairs and computers in our new office which was located in a mixed building with offices and apartments. That’s why it wasn’t really surprising (but for us it somehow was at this moment) when an angry neighbor complained about our noisy furniture assembly and installation.
So we finished our hammering, drilling and screwing at 3 o’clock in the morning and continued on the next day.
Thanks to our apology and a bottle of red wine the domestic peace could be restored again.

According to our former company size our first office was very small and contemplative. Nevertheless, nothing was missing.
Right from the beginning a “Coke”-refrigerator of the brand “Bosch” in 50s retro style had been ordered and has been providing us with refreshments until today. By the way, the purchase price was 700 Euros plus delivery expenses.

 

Impressions from 2006 of our first office:

 

office1_small

office1coke_small

office1couch_small

Unfortunately, we didn’t stay in the office for a long time although we had been blessed with a delicious food infrastructure like Mc Donald’s, Pizza Hut and several Döner restaurants because of its location in the middle of the city center.
We took advantage of the possibility to use a small data center in the middle of Munich operated by the carrier Tiscali with exclusive access to our servers.  Tiscali itself stopped all its business in Germany at this time because they didn’t perform profitably any more. Further details of the Italian telecommunications company which was our partner at that time can be found on Wikipedia.
In 2007 we split all of our servers in two different locations; one was located in Frankfurt and one in Munich. At the same time we moved our office to the former office rooms of Tiscali to operate near our servers. This gave us the possibility, in the event of any server problems, to react instantly at any time.
This relocation was the kick off of our colocation and housing product offers.
From this time, customers had the possibility to colocate their own server hardware in our data center and to benefit from a very fast internet connection, from excellent international routing, redundant air-conditioning and power supply. The number of servers increased rapidly.

 

Impressions from 2007 of the data center in Munich:

 

monitor_small

usv_small

klima_small

racks_small

The racks of Rittal shown on the pictures above have been taken over from Tiscali by us later on and are still in use in our data center.

 

Impressions of our 2nd office at Tiscali:

 

office2tische_small

office2_small

office2tuer_small

We left the building in 2009 when we opened our today’s office and data center in Giesing/ Munich.

If you are interested in more details from our past, stay tuned here on our blog. The story will be continued…

2Jul/130

10 years Contabo in pictures: Part 1

A few days ago Katharina gave you a detailed overview about the history of Contabo in her blog post “Contabo through the ages! The story so far…”.
Based on the mentioned most important milestones of the past 10 years we are going to publish now and within the next few days some pictures, photos and texts which we have been collecting during the last years.

Let’s have a look again on the chronicle posted by Katharina…
Contabo through the ages

…and let’s go back to the very beginning when we put our first own rack server into operation at our first data center location in “Mainhattan”, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

In 2004 the first machines went online in the commonly known “Redbus Interhouse” at Lyoner Straße 28. At the beginning we just started with a space for 10 (or 15?) servers, but soon, our company had been growing fast, and thus, also the number of servers in our data center.
Not only we have been delighted about our rapid growth, but also our IT service provider who has been responsible for the handling of our hardware on site and who we worked with for more than 4 years, until we left Frankfurt am Main a little bit later.
Within a few months our server farm grew from 10 servers to 100 servers, and until today our business is expanding at an ever-increasing rate.

A few months later our long-term IT service provider decided to open another data center location a few houses away from us in Lyoner Straße 15. It was probably not only our very positive development which was responsible for their new data center, but we certainly have made an important contribution to that. At this time Giga-Hosting/ Contabo occupied the highest numbers of servers in their data center.
Today, 10 years later, the Tier1 carrier and global player “Cogent” has settled down right there, in the same datacenter we had used for many years at that time, with his German headquarter.

In the following you will find some impressions of our time (2004-2008) in Frankfurt am Main:

rackserver_small

rack_small

server2_small

server_small

rz_small

cam_small

Our objective has always been to stay responsible for all of our servers. This means, we have chosen all single items and the infrastructure of our servers on our own and ,according to our ideas, we created server systems which were ready-to-use. We worked day and night to deliver our servers to Frankfurt am Main as soon as possible. And believe me, this was really hard work.

The following picture shows our already packaged servers shortly before its transportation to Frankfurt. According to the file attributes the picture was taken in October 2005 at 2:00 AM in the morning.

Picture006_small

Giga-Hosting staff often travelled to Frankfurt to support the technicians there. I can warmly recommend “Motel 1” as accommodation because that’s where the team stayed during our visit and it was pretty nice.
It was situated between the airport and the data center and that’s why we haven’t seen a lot of the city during our stay.

This was the view out of our hotel room - we had to be content with a view towards another hotel instead of impressive pictures of the city centre and the famous Frankfurt skyline:

motel_small motel2_small

While we have been focused on the hardware and on the infrastructure of our servers, we took care of one of our most important matters: our product range.
When we started planning our company we agreed on three basic principles which focused on our customers and that have been applied consistently and uncompromisingly to this very day:

1) Discount prices
2) Instant service
3) The customer is king

According to these principles we operated day by day.
We were working hard to continually improve our products like webspace, servers, colocation, domains and its sustainable development. From time to time we offered radical price reductions but always together with high quality products and support.
This concept has been proven for years and it is still our company philosophy.

In the following you will find some impressions of some former marketing promotions and offers:

Giga-Hosting offers

 

Giga-Hosting offer

Giga-Hosting banner

In March 2006 we opened the first office in Munich for our 1st and 2nd level support department. Since that time our team has been growing constantly.

If you are interested in more details about our history, stay tuned here on our blog. The story will be continued…