24Aug/170

No space left on your HDD/SSD? Find big files and remove them!

It does not matter if you do website hosting, provide a gameserver or use other services, if you have no space left on your HDD/SSD problems will occur. Your websites might not be reachable anymore, your players cannot connect to your gameserver or all other services will not start.

To avoid this it is necessary to find big files on your system and to get rid of them. Today we will show you how to do this.

Linux:

1. Connect to your server using SSH

2. Execute the following code:

# Change into root folder
cd /

# Find the top 10 files. This may take a while:
find -type f -exec du -Sh {} + | sort -rh | head -n 10

Once finished, a list of the ten largest files will be displayed. Normally these files might be old downloads or big log files. Files that are no longer used can be deleted, of course. Before deleting log files you should check them for errors you can solve so that the issue will be permanently fixed.

3. Using the command below you can remove files

rm <path_to_file>

Windows:

In Windows you might not find big log files but forgotten downloads. To find them the following freeware is perfect:

http://www.jam-software.de/treesize_free/?language=EN

Once you downloaded and executed the software you can start scanning a partition. A list of all files will be displayed. Please make sure not to delete Windows system files 😉 .

Posted by: Mike | Tagged as: , , , , No Comments
27Oct/162

Data loss and how to avoid it

A typical situation: You have been on vacation and have made a lot of great photos which you want to upload to your server in order to share them with your friends and your family. Especially the photo where you were diving with the great white shark. So you uploaded them to your server and after that the photos were deleted from the SD card because you need free space for the next travel. Just working on an update to your website in a hurry, a quick "rm -rf" in the wrong directory and the photo gallery is gone. Annoying!

This is a situation that can occur but the data does not have to be lost. In general, the customer is responsible for a backup and we want to show you how to approach the perfect backup system.

But what is a backup?

With a backup you are creating a copy of your data to be stored on an external storage device. This storage device should be independent of your server, so it could be a hard disk on your local computer, a USB stick or our FTP backup storage.

Different backup types

  1. Full Backup: As the name already indicates the full backup is a complete copy of your data. The advantage here is that all data is complete, but you need a lot of disk space to store your data. If you only perform full backups the available space at your data storage medium will shrink very fast.
  2. Differential Backup: Before performing a differential backup you need a full backup as a differential backup contains only data which has changed or is newly created in comparison to the full backup. Therefore, it is faster but you are also saving data which is already saved in previous differential backups because you save all data that differs from the last full backup.
  3. Incremental Backup: Similar to the differential backup you have to perform a full backup. But instead of always saving all changes that differ from the latest full backup, only the data being changed after the previous incremental backup gets backed up. The only disadvantage is, that if you want to restore that data you need the last full backup and all incremental backups in order to restore to the latest data.

Where to save the backup files

We offer an FTP backup storage, available with various storage space options. If you are interested in this offer, please contact us: support@contabo.com
You can access the backup storage via FTP and FTPS. With support for these protocols it is perfect for file storage. The way to access our backup space is already described here: Contabo Backup Space

"I do not need a backup, my server is secured by a RAID system."

CAUTION! A RAID does not replace the creation of backups! A RAID should indeed provide redundancy. If more than one drive fails at the same time or your data is deleted because of an attack from outside or a similar event, a RAID will not help saving the situation. We have read this sentence above numerous times and with our experience we can say, that customers who think that their data is secure because they have a RAID system are very disappointed, if a situation as described occurs. A RAID is very effective to avoid downtime because of a defective HDD and to prevent the need for laborious data restoration.

Nevertheless the mentioned redundancy is not the same as a backup.

"I have an SSD VPS. Because of the snapshot feature I do not have to worry about backups."

Since we have been offering our VPS SSD products with the snapshot feature we have heard this sentence very often. But it is the same as with a RAID. Snapshots are not backups!

What are snapshots good for?

A snapshot freezes the current state of the file system which still points to the same "physical" storage. Snapshots are perfect for "Let's do it and see what happens..." type of situations. If the change does not work you can go back to the state before you have started your work.
So is it a backup? No! Snapshots depend on the VPS and on the host server system the VPS is located on. As already described before, the backup has to be saved to an external location, e.g. our FTP backup storage.

How to create a backup?

All important data has to be saved. Normally you know where this data is located. To store all necessary data an automatic backup routine is the perfect choice.

Using a Linux based OS we recommend to create script which creates a tar.gz file of the data that should be saved and after that, automatically transfers it to the backup storage and also deletes older backups. As this should be done periodically you can use a cron job. If you use a Windows OS you can create a powershell script to do the same steps likewise.

Please note that it does not matter if you use Linux or Windows. You have to know what you are doing as the backup is the only way to restore your data if you are facing an issue with your server.

Of course we always try to support you if you have any questions regarding your backup solution: support@contabo.com.

The last step: Securing your backup

Security of private data gets more and more important. Encryption of the backup files is therefore recommended.

Using a Linux OS you can use tools like gpg to do so. Please find a very good tutorial below:
http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/linux-how-to-encrypt-and-decrypt-files-with-a-password.html

If you are a windows user we recommend using Veracrypt:
https://veracrypt.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Beginner%27s%20Tutorial

Posted by: Mike | Tagged as: , , , , 2 Comments
11Oct/164

Full Monitoring

With the Full Monitoring upgrade Contabo offers a tool to monitor the status as well as the state of services.

Why should I monitor my server?

With a monitoring system you are able to detect offline servers or services immediately. With this tool you are able to minimize a service downtime.

A server administrator is not always online to monitor the server 24/7 (in the night or on vacation). In case of a defect the server administrator needs to be informed immediately.

How does the monitoring system look like?

It does not matter if your server is a VPS or a dedicated server, the construction is the same. The most important information is already described in the first line: Is the server online or offline.

Below you can find the state of the services you have chosen to monitor. You can decide for each service how you want to get informed if the service is down. We support notifications via e-mail and text messages (SMS).

With the menu item "Add Services" we added an easy option to add monitoring for a new service. You only have to choose the protocol type (TCP/UDP) and the port the service is listening to.

VPS

In the picture below you can see a simple monitoring system. We check if the services on port 80 (http) and 443 (https) are running. Additionally, we monitor a custom SSH port on 60500.

monitoring1

Dedicated Server

Similar to the VPS you can check, add and delete the monitored services. The only difference is that you can directly see the data traffic of your server.

monitoring2

14Jan/163

Edit Windows Updates in Windows 2012

The following tutorial will show you how you can check and administrate the Windows updates for your Windows Server 2012 system:

1. Please connect to your server using RDP. Please open the control panel of the server and select the option 'System and Security':

Windows Updates 1

2. You will be forwarded to the following site:

Windows Updates 2

Please open the option 'Windows Update'

3. Subsequently you will be forwarded:

Windows Updates 3

You have the choice between 'Check for updates', 'Change settings', 'View update history', and 'Restore hidden updates'. By selecting the option „Check for updates“, an immediate search for updates will be started

4.1. If you choose the option „Check for updates“, Windows will automatically check whether there are updates which need to be installed on your server. If you want to change the settings of the Windows updates, please click the „Change settings“ button:

Windows Updates 4

4.2. If you click on the dropdown field „Install updates automatically (recommended)“ these options will appear:

Windows Updates 5

In general, it is always recommended to install updates automatically (first option), since the security of your server could be endangered if you do not keep the Windows version updated. If you want to select the updates manually, you need to choose the option „Download updates but let me choose whether to install them“. A similar option will be „Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them“, where you will have an overview of available updates and you can choose then if you want to download and install them“. On the other hand „Never check for updates (not recommended)“ is not recommended, since this could be dangerous for the security of your system if you do not keep it updated.

4.3. By clicking the link „Updates will be automatically installed during the maintenance windows.“, you will be able to choose a time when you want to perform the maintenance. In the checkbox below the field where you can insert the time, you will have the option "Allow scheduled maintenance to wake up my computer at the scheduled time". If you leave this box selected, your server will be started automatically in order to perform the maintenance/update. If you uncheck the box, the update will be performed as soon as you start the server yourself.

Maintenance

4.4. With the options „Recommended updates“ and „Microsoft Update“ you will additionally have the possibility to get informed about any updates.

5. If you choose the option „View update history“ you will get a list of all updates which have been intstalled on the server already.

Windows Updates 6

If you wish to uninstall an update, you can choose the link „Installed Updates“. You will be forwarded to a list with installed updates and you can uninstall the updates.

If you ever experienced issues with updates, kindly choose the option „Troubleshoot problems with installing updates“. It will be automatically checked whether there are issues related to updates.

6. In the option „Restore hidden updates“ you will get the following:

Windows Updates 7

Updates, which you did not install and which were hidden, will be shown in this list and you can decide whether you want to install them.

18Dec/150

Edit Windows Updates in Windows 2008

The following tutorial will show you how you can check and administrate the Windows updates for your Windows Server 2008 system:

1. Please connect to your server using RDP and open the control panel, where you need to choose the section „System and Security“

WS Updates 2008 EN Bild 1

2. You will be forwarded to the following site, where you need to choose the option „Windows Update“:

WS Updates 2008 EN Bild 2

3. Subsequently you will be forwarded:

WS Updates 2008 EN Bild 3

You will have the choice between 'Check for updates', 'Change settings', 'View update history' and 'Restore hidden updates'. Additionally you have the option „Updates: frequently asked questions“, a help box will be opened if you select this one. By selecting the option „Check for updates“, an immediate search for new updates will be started.

4.1. If you choose the option „Check for updates“ Windows will automatically check whether there are updates which need to be installed on your server. If you want to change the settings of the Windows updates, please click the „Change settings“ button:

WS Updates 2008 EN Bild 4

4.2. If you click on the dropdown field „Install updates automatically (recommended)“ these options will appear:

WS Updates 2008 EN Bild 5

In general it is always recommended to install updates automatically (first option), since the security could be endangered otherwise, if you do not keep the Windows version updated. If you want to select the updates manually you need to choose the option „Download updates but let me choose whether to install them“. A similar option will be „Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them“, where you will have an overview of available updates and you can choose then if you want to download and install them“. On the other hand „Never check for updates (not recommended)“ is not recommended, since this could be dangerous for the security of your system if you do not keep it updated.

4.3. With the options „Recommended updates“ and „Who can install updates“ you will additionally have the possibility to get informed about any updates and which user can install the updates, if the account differs from the Administrator account.

5. If you choose the option „View update history“ you will get a list of all updates which have been intstalled on the server already:

 WS Updates 2008 EN Bild 6

If you wish to uninstall an update, you can choose the link „Installed Updates“. You will be forwarded to a list with installed updates and you can uninstall the updates.

If you ever experienced issues with updates, kindly choose the option „Troubleshoot problems with installing updates“. It will be automatically checked whether there are issues related to updates.

6. In the option „Restore hidden updates“ you will get the following:

 WS Updates 2008 EN Bild 7

Updates, which you did not install and which were hidden, will be shown in this list and you can decide whether you want to install them.

17Nov/150

Integration of the WebDAV feature of Webspace packages

With WebDAV, cPanel supports a helpful function to provision your data over a web service. It works similar to a cloud based data storage and this functionality is also integrated into our Webspace packages. To utilize this feature you will have to log into your cPanel and click on the 'Web Disk' button under the 'Files' section.

If you are unable to find it, we recommend to use the search box and enter 'Web Disk'.

WebDAV1ENG

You will be redirected to the Web Disk main account after clicking on the Web Disk button. This root-account is preconfigured and can be used right away. Username and password are the same as your cPanel login credentials for this account.

WebDAV2ENG

As seen in the following picture, you can create additional Web Disk accounts with custom logins. The default directory is '/', but for additional accounts we recommend to create extra folders for non-root users. You are able to set read/write permissions for the accounts just as you wanted.

WebDAV3ENG

Important note: If you are using a Windows operating system on your home computer and you do not want to use encryption, you will have to activate the Digest-Authentification to establish a connection on port 2077 without encryption. Our server also provides a signed SSL certificate to ensure a secure encrypted connection between your home computer and your Webspace package on port 2078, in this case no activation of the Digest-Authentification method is required.

To proceed click on 'Actions' for the corresponding account and in the following on 'Activate Web Disk'.

You will be redirected to a new screen and prompted to choose the operating system of your home computer, as seen in the following picture.

WebDAV4ENG

Example: If you have Windows® 8 installed, please choose 'Microsoft®-OS' and click on Windows® 8.

WebDAV5ENG

On the same screen, please click on the following button in your cPanel user interface to download the quick start script.

WebDAV6ENG

Run the downloaded script and log-in using your configured Web Disk account credentials at the login prompt.

WebDAV7ENG

A shortcut will be created automatically by the script on your desktop for your Web Disk access. As seen in the following picture, the connection is successfully established if you click the shortcut.

WebDAV8ENG

You are now able to move data between your home computer and your Web Disk space via drag and drop.

Example: test.txt

WebDAV9ENG

You can also see the copied data by logging into your cPanel and clicking on file management. You may browse to the corresponding folder to check if the copied files are there.

WebDAV10ENG

You are now able to copy data between your home computer and your Web Disk space.

Concluding Information: The transfer speed is dependant on your internet connection speed at home. The connection is established in encrypted mode between your local computer and our server.

Posted by: Mike | Tagged as: , , , , , , No Comments
9Nov/150

Data transfer with WinSCP

WinSCP is a very useful tool for transferring data to a server. WinSCP is a graphical open source SFTP and FTP client for Windows which supports the old SCP protocol. The client offers a protected data and file transfer between different computers and allows the use of protected "tunnels".

WinSCP can be downloaded from the following page:

Please click here!

WinSCP1ENG

Once you have installed WinSCP and opened the program, you are ready to start.

The file protocol is a very important factor in the data transfer. In the following you will see the advantages and disadvantages of the respective protocols.

SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol):

  • Advantages: The connection is encrypted and is established via the SSH port, which means there must be no FTP server installed to transfer data.
  • Disadvantages: Due to the encrypted connection the data transmission is slower then with FTP.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol):

  • Advantages: The data transmission is much faster than with SFTP, since no encryption takes place.
  • Disadvantages: The connection is not encrypted and requires the installation of an FTP server.

SCP (Secure Copy):

  • Advantages: The connection is also like SFTP encrypted and uses the SSH port.
  • Disadvantages: Because of the encrypted connection the data transmission is slower than with FTP.

WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning):

  • Advantages: The connection is made over the HTTP port, which is not blocked by a firewall with default settings.
  • Disadvantages: The connection is not encrypted but it can be encrypted by using SSL.

The host name has to be either the IP address of your server or the domain name which is pointing to the corresponding IP address.

The port number depends on the selected file protocol.

In the following you can see the standard ports for these file protocols.

  • Standard SFTP Port: 22
  • Standard FTP Port: 20 and 21
  • Standard SCP Port: 22
  • Standard WebDAV Port: 80

IMPORTANT: The file protocols SFTP and FTP are using the default SSH port number 22. In case this port number has been changed, you will have to use the configured custom port number to connect.

The user name is the user which has the permissions to connect to your server.

For example: root

ATTENTION:

The user root has full permissions on the server and if important system data is altered or deleted, the operating system may become unbootable.

A connection possibility over the file protocol SFTP could be looking like this:

Click on "Login" to connect to your server.

WinSCP2ENG

You have to accept the security warning now.

WinSCP3ENG

After accepting the security warning you are successfully connected via the SFTP file protocol to your server. In the following picture you can see your local computer on the left hand side and your remotely connected server on the right.

WinSCP4ENG

If you want to transfer a single file or a full folder, you can easily move it via drag and drop from your local computer on the left side to your server on the right side. This copies the file to the server and it is available now on the local computer and on the remote server.

WinSCP7ENG

In order to connect to your server using an SSH key, you will have to click on "Advanced..." and go to the menu point "Authentication". You are able to specifiy your private key file there.

WinSCP6ENG

You can close the window once your data transfer has been finished and your connection will be closed.

Posted by: Mike | Tagged as: , , , , No Comments
2Nov/150

How to perform a file system check?

The file system check is is a practical tool if an error occurs in your file system and your server is not booting any more. With this tool you can analyse and repair such errors in your file system. We recommend to backup all your data before you start with this operation, because there could be data loss of your server during the repair process. Please start the file system check in the rescue system.

If you do not know what the rescue system is or how to start it, please click here.

fsck1

As soon as your server has booted into the rescue system, please use the following command to display all existing partitions.

  • fdisk -l

fsck2

In this example the system partition is located on /dev/vda1. Normally the system partition is located on /dev/sda1 or /dev/vda1.

Please use the following command to check which file system type is used.

INFORMATION: Please use your actual partition, in our case we have to use /dev/vda1

  • blkid | grep vda1 | awk '{print $3}'

fsck5

Depending on which file system is used and which partition has to be checked,  you have to use the following commands. This is only a check in advance and your file system will not be repaired.

  • fsck.ext2 -n /dev/vda1 = For the file system ext2
  • fsck.ext3 -n /dev/vda1 = For the file system ext3
  • fsck.ext4 -n /dev/vda1 = For the file system ext4
  • fsck.btrfs -n /dev/vda1 = For the file system btrfs
  • and so on...

In our case we are using the file system ext4, therefore, we have to use the following command. Please use the command with the right file system type for the rest of the following commands.

  • fsck.ext4 -n /dev/vda1

fsck10

You will get as result the errors of your file system. If you would like to repair scattered errors, so use the following command.

  • fsck.ext4 /dev/vda1

fsck11

If you think that all errors have to be repaired, please use the following command. This command includes the parameter  -y which answers all queries with  "Yes". It is not necessary to answer them manually.

Important: We recommend to use this command only if you are 100 percent sure.  All queries will be accepted without further notification.

  • fsck.ext4 -y /dev/vda1

fsck12

Your system should start normally once the file system check has been finished.

If you would like to exit the rescue system and booting from the regular hard drive, please use the following command.

  • reboot

Your server should will start the operating system now.

Additional important information:

If you start a file system check , some files might lose the information about their names and locations in the file system. The file system check deposits these files in a specific directory called lost+found. If there are missing files after you have performed the file system check, you will be able to find the files in this directory in most cases.

Posted by: Mike | Tagged as: , , , , No Comments
19Feb/1410

New server model? Your opinion matters!

Recently, there have been some new hardware releases which also could be very interesting for possible new dedicated server offers. Once again, we would like to ask for your feedback on the following alternatives.

Given the choice between the following options, which server would you buy?

View Results

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Each of these servers can be equipped with any combination of SSDs/HDDs. You can choose freely. These would be possible prices:

2 TB HDD: 3.49 EUR per month
3 TB HDD: 4.49 EUR per month
4 TB HDD: 6.49 EUR per month
256 GB SSD: 7.99 EUR per month
500 GB SSD: 12.49 EUR per month

We would be thrilled to hear why you would prefer one of them over the other. Or is there an entirely different configuration which you would be interested in? Feel free to post in the comments for this.

Looking forward to hearing from you :-)!

Mike

22Mar/130

Price reduction: Internet bandwidth, now almost for free!

For hosting in a datacenter - or expressed in a more fashionable way - storing data in 'the cloud', there is one crucial factor:
A top quality, fast and secure Internet connection of the servers within the datacenter. Only this makes it possible to retrieve and make use of the data, stored and processed in the servers, in a way that makes sense, no matter where on earth the users are located.

Our customers around the globe appreciate the high quality level of the Internet connection in Contabo's datacenter, which is and has been guaranteed for a long time already, by the two worldwide leading "Tier 1" carriers Telia Sonera and Level 3, as well as by the glass fiber pioneering provider M-Net, who is presently supplying the city of Munich and its suburbs with glass fiber connections straight to the user.

We are now taking a further step ahead and are proving to our customers that even although quality has got its price, this price is incredibly low at Contabo. We do once again turn our business objective into reality: Providing the highest quality at the lowest prices, second to none.

Contabo data center

All that is made possible by the large volume of the contingent that we purchase for several thousands of dedicated and virtual servers:
As of today, you can obtain Internet bandwidth/traffic at Contabo, for nearly nothing.

1. New server upgrade: 1 Gbit/s bandwidth - without shaping, 24/7 guaranteed. Only 399.99 EUR / month!
By choosing this upgrade your server is being connected to a 1 Gbit/s (=1000 Mbit/s) dedicated switchport (non-shared) which reserves the whole bandwidth volume of 1 Gbit/s only for you. You are able to use the full 1 Gbit/s with both your upstream and your downstream - 24/7 without limitations, no port capping, etc. We do guarantee this bandwidth allocation to you exclusively, thus, you don't share this bandwidth with any other server. Even if you should use the whole bandwidth all the time, we will not throttle your serverport!

2. Price reduction for the server upgrade: 100 Mbit/s bandwidth without shaping, 24/7 guaranteed. Only 39.99 EUR / month!
By choosing this upgrade your server is being connected to a 100 Mbit/s dedicated switchport (non-shared) which reserves the whole bandwidth volume of 100 Mbit/s only for you. You are able to use the full 100 Mbit/s with both your upstream and your downstream - 24/7 without limitations, no port capping, etc. We do guarantee this bandwidth allocation to you exclusively, thus, you don't share this bandwidth with any other server. Even if you should use the whole bandwidth all the time, we will not throttle your serverport!

3. Price reduction for colocation bandwidth: Dedicated, non-shared bandwidth - without shaping, 24/7 guaranteed: 50% cheaper, no matter how much bandwidth you order!
With this bandwidth module, we offer you dedicated bandwidth, which is reserved for you entirely and can be used in full, all the time ('non-shared'). Both upstream and downstream are useable simultaneously exactly up to the number of mbit/s you chose to order. No restrictions. No traffic limit.
Moreover, you can define yourself whether you want to use the ordered bandwidth as a flat rate with a fixed price or whether you prefer the 95th percentile billing method, which allows to exceed the ordered number of Mbit/s if necessary.
In addition to that, you can connect any number of servers (housing modules) to this bandwidth module.
If you do not want to use your own router or BGP, we will manage switching and routing for you - without any extra costs.
Even when starting with only 10 Mbit/s, this module has an impressive price/performance-ratio. But as always: The higher your number of Mbit/s, the cheaper your price per Mbit/s will get.

4. Discount for colocation bandwidth: 100 Mbit/s shared port, now only 9.99 EUR / month!
100 Mbit/s port and unlimited traffic for your colo-server(s) at a reasonable price? No problem.
With this bandwidth module, your colocated server can be connected to our shared bandwidth pool using a 100 Mbit/s port. The traffic is unlimited, thus you can use as much bandwidth as you want.
If you have ordered a '1 server (rack/tower)' housing module together with this bandwidth module, for example, your entire colocation package is complete at only 39.98 EUR per month.

5. Improvement for all dedicated servers which have not been ordered along with the 'dedicated bandwidth - 24/7 guaranteed no shaping' (see above) upgrade:
You can now use (uninterruptedly and continuously) up to 60 Mbit/s on average. Your port will not be throttled.

6. Improvement for all VPS (virtual private servers):
You can now use (uninterruptedly and continuously) up to 40 Mbit/s on average. Your port will not be throttled.

The Internet connection of your server has never been so cheap before and never ever have you been able before, to run bandwidth-intensive applications and homepages so easily!

Pick the Contabo server of your choice right now and get started:
http://contabo.com/?show=server