11Jun/180

Establishing a connection to your server via SSH

In this tutorial you will find a guide on how to establish a connection via SSH to your Linux server.

Please note that you will have to replace the place holder <IP Address> in the complete tutorial with the IP address of your server.

Linux

In case you are using a Linux operating system on your local machine you will just have to start a terminal.

To establish the connection to your server please type the following command:

The option -l defines the user which will be connected to. In this case we will use "root".
The option -p defines the port which will be used for the connection. Here we will use the standard SSH port 22.

Should this be the first time you connect to the server, you will have to accept its SSH certificate by typing "yes".

Please insert your password, which you can find in our e-mail "Your Login Data". Kindly note that SSH will not display any letters or symbols when typing the password. You can also copy and paste your password by using the right mouse key (please make sure not to copy your password with blank characters at the end - you can check so by pasting the password into an empty editor file before using it).

Now, click the ‚Enter‘-key. Once done, you should get access to your server via SSH:

The connection has now been established successfully.

Windows

In case you are using a Windows operating system on your local machine, you will have to install a suitable SSH client first.

We recommend to use PuTTy as SSH client:

http://www.putty.org/

After installing PuTTy, open the client and enter the IP address of your Server. The port, in this case the standard SSH port 22, can be changed as well if needed.

Click 'Open' to initiate the connection. You can leave all options to default.

Should this be the first time to connect to the server, you will have to accept its SSH certificate:

Afterwards, you will see the following:

Please insert root (login as:) and your password, which you can find in our e-mail "Your Login Data". Kindly note, SSH will not display any letters or symbols when typing the password. You can also copy and paste your password by using the right mouse key (please make sure not to copy your password with blank characters at the end - you can check so by pasting the password into an empty editor file before using it).

Now, click the ‚Enter‘-key. Once done, you should get access to your server via SSH:

The connection has now been established successfully.

Posted by: Julian | Tagged as: , , , , , , No Comments
21Mar/180

How to manage your raidcontroller in Windows

Not long ago, we have shown you in a different tutorial how to manage your raidcontroller in Linux. Below you can find the respective guideline for Windows.

Monitoring a RAID array

A hardware RAID has certain advantages, but also a hardware RAID has to be monitored. We always rely on tried and tested hardware to minimize the risk of a hardware failure, but there is always the risk that hardware fails, therefore monitoring the hardware is even more important to guarantee that the server will keep running properly.

In the case of a software RAID, the operating system generates messages about the RAID; with a hardware RAID, the controller does it itself - but you need a special software to read these messages.

This blog entry shows the installation and use of the Adaptec and LSI software on Windows operating systems.
There are also graphical interfaces available for managing raidcontrollers, such as a web interface.

Please contact our support department in case you are not sure which controller was added to your server.

Updating the controller's firmware or the operating system's driver may lead to a complete loss of all data stored on that RAID!

1. Adaptec

1.1 Installation of the arcconf binary

Open the Powershell as Administrator, you will start at the "Administrator" User folder.
Create a new folder and change to that folder, e.g.:

mkdir C:\raid; chdir C:\raid

The binary can be downloaded via Powershell as well, type in the following command:

iwr -URI http://download.adaptec.com/raid/storage_manager/arcconf_v2_03_22476.zip' -OUTFILE arcconf_v2_03_22476.zip; start arcconf_v2_03_22476.zip

(You could also download the binary with your webbrowser from here )

You should see some directories including the "windows_x64" directory, select that directory and copy it to "C:\raid\".

1.2 Monitoring the raidcontroller

Open the Powershell and change the directory using the following command:

chdir C:\raid\windows_x64\cmdline

You should be able to run the executable by using the following command: " .\arcconf.exe getconfig 1" - this will display all information.

You will get all information regarding the 1st controller installed in your system. In case you have installed more than one controller you could display the information of the 2nd controller by typing ".\arcconf.exe GETCONFIG 2".

A list of available options can be displayed by typing ".\arcconf.exe" .
The most important status can be filtered out by typing ".\arcconf.exe GETCONFIG 1 | findstr Status" into the Powershell.

PS C:\raid\windows_x64\cmdline> .\arcconf.exe GETCONFIG 1 | findstr Status
Controller Status : Optimal
Status : ZMM not installed
Status of Logical Device : Optimal

"ZMM not installed" shows that this controller currently has no BBU (battery backup unit) installed, a BBU can be installed at any time as an upgrade.

A "Degraded" status on a LD (Logical Device) indicates that there must be an issue.

PS C:\raid\windows_x64\cmdline> .\arcconf.exe GETCONFIG 1 | findstr Status
Controller Status : Optimal
Status : ZMM not installed
Status of Logical Device : Degraded

To check if there is any failed drive (in this scenario the SSD failed), type in the following command and you will see the "State : Failed" information:

PS C:\raid\windows_x64\cmdline> .\arcconf.exe GETCONFIG 1 PD
Controllers found: 1
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Physical Device information
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Device #0
Device is a Hard drive
State : Failed
Block Size : 512 Bytes
Failed logical device segments : True
Supported : Yes
Transfer Speed : Failed
Reported Channel,Device(T:L) : 0,0(0:0)
Reported Location : Connector 0, Device 0
Vendor :
Model : Crucial_CT275MX3
Firmware : M0CR040
Serial number : 11111111111111
World-wide name : 500A075116639956
Total Size : 262321 MB
Write Cache : Enabled (write-back)
FRU : None
S.M.A.R.T. : No
S.M.A.R.T. warnings : 0
Power State : Full rpm
Supported Power States : Full power,Powered off,Standby
SSD : Yes
Temperature : Not Supported
NCQ status : Enabled

To replace a failed drive just contact us, we will immediately take care of it. To speed up the process you should provide us with the above output. It shows the S/N and the port that drive is attached to. In this case the S/N is "11111111111111" and the attached Port is "0".

As soon as the drive got replaced the rebuild should start automatically:

PS C:\raid\windows_x64\cmdline> .\arcconf.exe GETCONFIG 1 | findstr Status
Controller Status : Optimal
Status : ZMM not installed
Status of Logical Device : Degraded, Rebuilding ( Rebuild : 1 % )

Depending on your RAID setup this will probably take several hours.

1.3 Installing an available webinterface

For Adaptec controllers there is the "MaxView Storage Manager" available, it can be downloaded here: https://storage.microsemi.com/de-de/speed/raid/storage_manager/msm_windows_x64_v2_03_22476_zip.php

The installer is located within the directory called "manager" - that directory will be created when unpacking the downloaded archive.
You can start the installation by starting "setup_asm_x64.EXE" .
Afterwards you should be able to reach the webinterface on https://<SERVERIP>:8443 .

2. LSI

2.1 Installation of the StorCLI binary

Download of the commandline Binary :

iwr -URI 'https://docs.broadcom.com/docs-and-downloads/raid-controllers/raid-controllers-common-files/1.21.16_StorCLI.zip' -OUTFILE StorCLI.zip;explorer.exe .\StorCLI.zip\versionChangeSet\univ_viva_cli_rel\

A Windows Explorer should popup when using the above command. Now copy "storcli_ALL_OS.zip" to the "C:\raid" directory:

 

Now unzip that file.

 

2.2 Monitoring the raidcontroller

Go to your Powershell and type the following command to access the recently unpacked files:

chdir C:\raid\storcli_All_OS\storcli_All_OS\Windows\

You should be able to call "storCLI.exe", there is also a 64Bit binary.

You can display the current status of the raidcontroller by typing:

PS C:\raid\storcli_All_OS\storcli_All_OS\Windows> .\storcli64.exe /c0 show

TOPOLOGY :
========
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
DG Arr Row EID:Slot DID Type  State BT       Size PDC  PI SED DS3  FSpace
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
0 -   -   -        -   RAID1 Optl  N  255.656 GB dflt N  N   dflt N
0 0   -   -        -   RAID1 Optl  N  255.656 GB dflt N  N   dflt N
0 0   0   64:4     12  DRIVE Onln  N  255.656 GB dflt N  N   dflt -
0 0   1   64:5     13  DRIVE Onln  N  255.656 GB dflt N  N   dflt -
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Example for a failed HDD:

TOPOLOGY :
========
----------------------------------------------------------------------
DG Arr Row EID:Slot DID Type  State BT Size PDC  PI SED DS3  FSpace
----------------------------------------------------------------------
0 -   -   -        -   RAID1 Dgrd  N  255 GB dflt N  N   dflt N
0 0   -   -        -   RAID1 Dgrd  N  255 GB dflt N  N   dflt N
0 0   0   -        -   DRIVE Msng  -  255 GB -    -  -   -    -
0 0   1   64:5     13  DRIVE Onln  N  255 GB dflt N  N   dflt -
---------------------------------------------------------------------

 

PS C:\raid\storcli_All_OS\storcli_All_OS\Windows> .\storcli64.exe /c0 /sall show

Controller = 0
Status = Failure
Description = No drive found!
Detailed Status :
===============
----------------------------------------
Drive Status ErrCd ErrMsg
----------------------------------------
/c0/sALL Failure 255 Drives not found
----------------------------------------

To display the current status of the rebuild you can run:

PS C:\raid\storcli_All_OS\storcli_All_OS\Windows> .\storcli64.exe /c0 /eall /sall show rebuild


Controller = 0
Status = Success
Description = Show Drive Rebuild Status Succeeded.
---------------------------------------------------------
Drive-ID Progress% Status Estimated Time Left
---------------------------------------------------------
/c0/e64/s4 0 In progress -
/c0/e64/s5 - Not in progress -
---------------------------------------------------------

2.3 Installation of a graphical interface

You can download the latest MegaRAID Storage Manager using the following link:

https://docs.broadcom.com/docs-and-downloads/raid-controllers/raid-controllers-common-files/16.05.04.00_MSM_Windows.zip

After downloading, unzip all files. You should be able to access the directory, just run the installation wizard.

Usually you will not have any LDAP authentication, in this case you have to unmark the checkbox when running the installer - otherwise you cannot connect to the manager.

A new shortcut will appear on your desktop, now run that shortcut and type in your login credentials. The following MSM interface should show up:

 

 

 

Posted by: Gianni-Donato | Tagged as: , , , , , No Comments
7Mar/180

How to manage your RAID controller in Linux

Please note: This tutorial focusses on Linux OS. Should you be a Windows user instead, please confer our respective tutorial on how to manage your RAID controller in Windows.

Monitoring a RAID array

A hardware RAID has certain advantages, but also a hardware RAID has to be monitored. We always rely on tried and tested hardware to minimize the risk of a hardware failure, but there is always the risk that hardware fails, therefore monitoring the hardware is even more important to guarantee that the server will keep running properly.

In the case of a software RAID, the operating system generates messages about the RAID; with a hardware RAID, the controller does it itself - but you need a special software to read these messages.

This blog entry shows the installation and use of the Adaptec and LSI software on Linux operating systems.
There are also graphical interfaces available for managing raidcontrollers, such as a web interface.

Please contact our support department in case you are not sure which controller was added to your server.

Please note: Updating the controller's firmware or the operating system's driver may lead to a complete loss of all data stored on that RAID!

For this tutorial some additional software is needed, for Ubuntu 17.10 it can be installed using the following command "apt install zip unzip net-tools"

1. Adaptec

An overview of available software for your Adaptec controller can be found here: https://storage.microsemi.com/en-us/support/series6/index.php

1.1 Installation of the arcconf binary

Installing the binary with the Linux commandline is very easy, you can manage the controller using that binary afterwards.

A download link for the latest available binary can be found on the above mentioned website by clicking on the "Storage Manager Downloads" link.
The "arcconf" binary can be used for various Adaptec products, usually there is no need for additional software.
In this tutorial we are going to download the following binary: https://storage.microsemi.com/en-us/speed/raid/storage_manager/arcconf_v2_03_22476_zip.php

On your commandline just type:

wget http://download.adaptec.com/raid/storage_manager/arcconf_v2_03_22476.zip && unzip arcconf_v2_03_22476.zip

Now move the binary to your binary folder and make it executable:

mv linux_x64/cmdline/arcconf /usr/sbin/ && chmod +x /usr/sbin/arcconf

The "arcconf" command should be available now.

root@contabo:~# arcconf
Controllers found: 1
| UCLI | Adaptec by PMC uniform command line interface
| UCLI | Version 2.03 (B22476)
| UCLI | (C) Adaptec by PMCS 2003-2016
| UCLI | All Rights Reserved

1.2 Monitoring the raidcontroller

Usually the RAID should have an "OPTIMAL" value, in case one HDD fails the controller will start to send an audible alarm signal. That signal will be recognized by our technicians working in the datacenter, in this case we will contact you and inform you about a possible hardware failure.

With the parameter "arcconf GETCONFIG 1" you will get all information regarding the 1st controller installed to your system. In case you have installed more than one controller you could display the information of the 2nd controller by typing "arcconf GETCONFIG 2".

A list of available options can be displayed by typing "arcconf getconfig".

The most important status can be filtered out by typing "arcconf getconfig 1 | grep Status" into the commandline.

root@contabo:~# arcconf getconfig 1 | grep Status
Controller Status : Optimal
Status : ZMM not installed
Status of Logical Device : Optimal

"ZMM not installed" shows that this controller currently has no BBU (batterie backup unit) installed, a BBU can be installed at any time as an upgrade.

A "Degraded" status on a LD (Logical Device) indicates that there must be an issue.

root@contabo:~# arcconf getconfig 1 | grep Status
Controller Status : Optimal
Status : ZMM not installed
Status of Logical Device : Degraded

To check if there is any failed drive (in this scenario the SSD failed), type in the following command and you will see the "State : Failed" information:

root@contabo:~# arcconf getconfig 1 PD
Controllers found: 1
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Physical Device information
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Device #0
Device is a Hard drive
State : Failed
Block Size : 512 Bytes
Failed logical device segments : True
Supported : Yes
Transfer Speed : Failed
Reported Channel,Device(T:L) : 0,0(0:0)
Reported Location : Connector 0, Device 0
Vendor :
Model : Crucial_CT275MX3
Firmware : M0CR040
Serial number : 11111111111111
World-wide name : 500A075116639956
Total Size : 262321 MB
Write Cache : Enabled (write-back)
FRU : None
S.M.A.R.T. : No
S.M.A.R.T. warnings : 0
Power State : Full rpm
Supported Power States : Full power,Powered off,Standby
SSD : Yes
Temperature : Not Supported
NCQ status : Enabled

To replace a failed drive just contact us, we will immediately take care of it. To speed up the process you should provide us with the above output. It shows the S/N and the port that drive is attached to. In this case the S/N is "11111111111111" and the attached Port is "0".

As soon as the drive got replaced the rebuild should start automatically:

root@contabo:~# arcconf getconfig 1 | grep Status
Controller Status : Optimal
Status : ZMM not installed
Status of Logical Device : Degraded, Rebuilding ( Rebuild : 1 % )

Depending on your RAID setup this will probably take several hours.

1.3 Installing an available Webinterface

For Adaptec there is the "MaxView Storage Manager" available, it can be downloaded here: https://storage.microsemi.com/de-de/speed/raid/storage_manager/msm_linux_x64_v2_03_22476_tgz.php

You could also just download it via commandline:

wget http://download.adaptec.com/raid/storage_manager/msm_linux_x64_v2_03_22476.tgz && tar -xzf msm_linux_x64_v2_03_22476.tgz

The installer is located within the directory called "manager" - that directory will be created when unpacking the downloaded archive.
For our system (Ubuntu 17.04) we will install the package using the following command:

dpkg -i manager/StorMan-2.03-22476_amd64.deb

Afterwards you should be able to reach the webinterface at https://<SERVERIP>:8443

2. LSI

2.1 Installation of the StorCLI binary

Download of the commandline Binary :

wget https://docs.broadcom.com/docs-and-downloads/raid-controllers/raid-controllers-common-files/1.21.16_StorCLI.zip --no-check-certificate && unzip 1.21.16_StorCLI.zip && cd versionChangeSet/univ_viva_cli_rel/ && unzip storcli_All_OS.zip

For our system we will install the Ubuntu package by typing:
dpkg -i storcli_All_OS/Ubuntu/storcli_1.21.06_all.deb

Create a link to make the "storcli" command available to your shell.
ln -s /opt/MegaRAID/storcli/storcli64 /usr/sbin/storcli

2.2 Monitoring the raidcontroller

You can display the current status of the raidcontroller by typing:

root@contabo:~#storcli /c0 show

TOPOLOGY :
========
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
DG Arr Row EID:Slot DID Type  State BT       Size PDC  PI SED DS3  FSpace
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
0 -   -   -        -   RAID1 Optl  N  255.656 GB dflt N  N   dflt N
0 0   -   -        -   RAID1 Optl  N  255.656 GB dflt N  N   dflt N
0 0   0   64:4     12  DRIVE Onln  N  255.656 GB dflt N  N   dflt -
0 0   1   64:5     13  DRIVE Onln  N  255.656 GB dflt N  N   dflt -
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Example of a failed HDD:

TOPOLOGY :
========
----------------------------------------------------------------------
DG Arr Row EID:Slot DID Type  State BT Size PDC  PI SED DS3  FSpace
----------------------------------------------------------------------
0 -   -   -        -   RAID1 Dgrd  N  255 GB dflt N  N   dflt N
0 0   -   -        -   RAID1 Dgrd  N  255 GB dflt N  N   dflt N
0 0   0   -        -   DRIVE Msng  -  255 GB -    -  -   -    -
0 0   1   64:5     13  DRIVE Onln  N  255 GB dflt N  N   dflt -
---------------------------------------------------------------------

root@contabo:~#storcli /c0 /sall show


Controller = 0
Status = Failure
Description = No drive found!
Detailed Status :
===============
----------------------------------------
Drive    Status  ErrCd ErrMsg
----------------------------------------
/c0/sALL Failure   255 Drives not found
----------------------------------------

To display the current status of the rebuild you can run:

root@contabo:~#storcli /c0 /eall /sall show rebuild

Controller = 0
Status = Success
Description = Show Drive Rebuild Status Succeeded.
---------------------------------------------------------
Drive-ID   Progress% Status          Estimated Time Left
---------------------------------------------------------
/c0/e64/s4         0 In progress     -
/c0/e64/s5         - Not in progress -
---------------------------------------------------------

2.3 Installing an available webinterface

Unfortunately, there is currently no webinterface available for Linux.

 

Posted by: Gianni-Donato | Tagged as: , , , , , No Comments
15Dec/170

Basic information about our Webspace

Today we would like to give you some basic usage hints about our webspace packages. First of all, our webspace offers are based on cPanel which is well known and under active development. However, we would like to explain some points and present the most important features. In this post we will refer to the YouTube-playlist of the cPanelTV channel which contains many tutorials directly provided by the producer. You may also find it at the end of our explanations, so you do not have to search for the videos.

Concerning webspace packages there are few basic topics to be considered:

  • Make sure you use safe passwords. cPanel provides the option to generate a password according to chosen criteria and gives feedback of the security level of your password.
  • Installing updates: We maintain the hard- and software your webspace is based on, but do not have acess to your website. Therefore it is always important to keep the used CMS (content management system) up-to-date. Not only the visitors of your websites will thank you for not becoming a victim of possible attacks, but also us, as the risk of spamming via a hacked CMS can be minimized.
  • Commensurability: Our goal is to provide you with a lot of resources at a low price. Yet, you should consider whether a webspace is the best product for the intended purpose. A large online shop containing many products on a webspace is, for example, not recommendable. In case you are planning to host such a large online shop, kindly contact our customer support department and we will gladly assist you in finding the best hosting solution for your needs.

If you have other inquiries, our support will be at hand at the regular times as well. Just contact us!

But now we continue with the original topic of this tutorial, namely presenting some important and basic elements to operate cPanel.

Passwords

Earlier we mentioned safe passwords are important, unfortunately, even more will come with a webspace and add to your long list of already existing passwords. It is quite tempting to use the same password for all services, but this is absolutely not recommendable. An example: An attacker gets to know your administrator password using a security breach of your CMS. This password is also used for the login to cPanel, your email account, as database password and for ftp access. Therefore, the attacker will have access to all those services and will be able to send emails using your name, delete your data or upload illegal content. Unfortunately, this example is not hypothetical but rather common. Consequently our advice is: always use individual and secure passwords. Further examples are provided by cPanel in the video "cPanel Tutorials: How to change your password", where you will also find a tutorial how to change an existing password.

File manager

After your order has been completed, you receive an email with all required information and login details, including a URL to cPanel. After you logged into the system the question you probably ask yourself is "How can I upload my website?". We can inform you that there are multiple ways to proceed:

  1. The most common way is using FTP(S), which stands for "File Transfer Protocol (over SSL)" and is a standardized protocol to transfer files, the letter "S" for securing the connection by using SSL. We always recommend using FTPS, since this guarantees that the file transfer is encrypted, which is not the case if you use plain FTP. More details how you can create an FTP account can be found at the video tutorial "cPanel Tutorials: FTP".
  2. The file manager included in cPanel: This is the easiest way and should work from nearly all sources, in addition, the file manager provides the possibility to edit files or check out the content. A video guide is available, too. It is called "cPanel Tutorials: File Manager".
  3. Another option uses the so called "Web Disk" which uses WebDAV for file transfer and can mount the webspace as a drive within the local PC. Please check out the video "cPanel Tutorials: Web Disk" for more details.

MySQL and PHPMyAdmin

The two points MySQL and PHPMyAdmin need to be mentioned together, PHPMyAdmin is the software part which provides you with access to the databases with the login credentials you set. After you logged into PHPMyAdmin you are free to check the databases, delete records or perform any changes. In addition, you can upload or create a database backup using PHPMyAdmin, too. MySQL is the data base server installed by us. Nowadays nearly all content management systems require a database to save the information which should be shown on your website. A guide how you can create a database and a user ist shown within the video "cPanel Tutorials: MySQL Databases".

Domains

A webspace requires a default domain, which needs to be provided during the order process in order to create the account and provide you with the login details. But of course, additional domains can be added to your webspace. There are different ways to do so:

  1. You can always order new domains from us, for details please consult our website at https://contabo.com/?show=domains.
  2. You can transfer a domain from another provider to us using the auth code which needs to be provided by the current provider.
  3. You can register domains at another provider and use them together with the webspace, but please keep in mind, that this requires that the nameservers are changed to the ones shown within the customer control panel and a DNS zone needs to be created. A few more details:
    Under the menu item "DNS Zone Management" in your Contabo customer control panel at https://my.contabo.com you can create an unlimited number of DNS zones for your domains free of charge. Your domains can be registered by third party providers as well. The DNS zones are stored on our nameservers, and within these DNS zones you can define multiple DNS records such as the "A record", which makes a domain point to a certain IP address. You do not need to specify the DNS records individually when creating a DNS zone; just choose the correct target IP address, working DNS records will be set automatically. After the creation of a proper DNS zone and once our nameservers are assigned to your domain, you can use the domain on your webspace package in a very secure way. Please note that only the present domain provider is able to change the assigned nameservers, thus you will have to contact the domain provider directly, or optionally use an administration panel from your domain provider if there is any available. After all, you need to add the domain in your webspace package using cPanel. You can choose between adding it as an "Alias" (also known as "Parked Domain") or as an "Addon Domain".

An "Addon Domain" will have its own subfolder in your public_html directory. It will also have its own rights such as an independent FTP login and the option to administer email addresses for the new domain.

An "Alias", on the other hand, has no own subfolder, it is linked to the main folder. Creating redirections and email addresses is also possible with "Aliases", of course.

Email

Most likely a webspace is used for email purpose, too. Basically there is one major point which should always be kept in mind: Webspace plans are not designed to send masses of emails. The option "Email" offers quite a lot of different functions and we unfortunately cannot discuss them in detail, but most of them are explained within the cPanelTV videos linked below.

Please note, that the videos may include options which are not offered by us or are not available with all packages. In addition, it is unfortunately not possible to install additional PHP modules upon request. Should you require special modules, we recommend to check out our VPS and Dedicated Server offers.

Softaculous

In order to provide an easy way to use our webspace products, we have a feature included which offers you the possibility to install quite a lot of software packages without having to search for installers, uploading them and performing the manual installation. This feature is called "Softaculous" and you can check out more details by having a look at our homepage:

https://contabo.com/?show=webhosting
https://contabo.com/?show=webapplications

If you have any questions regarding the above mentioned points or other general requests we are available via email and telephone.

 

Update:

Brand new: The Contabo Website Builder - available free of charge in all of our webspace plans. Create your own website in just a couple of minutes!

Posted by: Paul | Tagged as: , , , , No Comments
30Nov/170

Comparison of administration panels: cPanel vs. Plesk vs. Webmin

We are often asked which panel we would recommend. Since there is a variety of different panels with different functions and focus, we cannot easily answer this question. Currently we offer cPanel, Plesk, LAMP und Webmin, which we will introduce here.

cPanel/WHM

cPanel is a webhosting panel which allows to administrate a great number of users in an easy way and configure the installed services. In order to avoid security breaches many settings are pretty restrictive, which may cause issues due to the demands of your software. In addition, without plugins from external developers, it would not be possible to use nginx as an example. The software cPanel is divided into two parts, the interface for users is called cPanel, the administration interface WHM (WebHostMananger).

The developers provide a really detailed documentation which explains nearly all functions cPanel/WHM provides:

https://documentation.cpanel.net/

If errors occur or special questions appear which are not answered within the documentation, it is always a good possibility to ask for this within the official forum:

https://forums.cpanel.net/

And for those who do not know cPanel/WHM or want to check out what was changed before updating the own installation, a demo and the changelog are available:

https://cpanel.com/demo/
https://documentation.cpanel.net/display/CL/Change+Logs

If you are a new user, you may check out their YouTube channel, too:

https://www.youtube.com/user/cpaneltv

Plesk Onyx

Plesk understands itself as a platform for developers, thus it has a lot of software already installed and software like Docker, Ruby, etc. can be installed with a few clicks. In addition to this, a lot of features can be installed, using free or paid addons, which can be installed with a few clicks, too. Nevertheless, it is even an alternative to start a webhosting. At the moment, three different versions are offered, all details regarding the differences and the official addons can be found within the following document provided by Plesk:

https://www.plesk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/plesk-onyx-licensing-guide.pdf

Plesk provides a detailed documentation, too:

https://docs.plesk.com/en-US/onyx/

In addition, a knowledge base with the most common problems and errors - and corresponding solutions - is provided:

https://support.plesk.com/hc/en-us

Moreover, the developers and community are active within the forum and provide assistance in case of problems:

https://talk.plesk.com/

Webmin

Webmin is no classic interface for webhosting, it is a server administration panel which provides a graphical interface to configure the installed services with the goal making server administration easier. An overview of the supported services can be found within the official documentation:

http://doxfer.webmin.com/Webmin/Webmin_Modules

In addition to the supported modules it is no problem to add additional software via SSH or develop more addons for Webmin to extend the list of services, this is possible due to the fact, that the source code is provided via GitHub:

https://github.com/webmin/webmin

As already mentioned, Webmin is by default no webhosting interface like cPanel or SSH but there was an additional software stack developed which provides the functionality required for webhosting:

https://www.virtualmin.com/

If you only want to use the server as a mail server, cPanel, Plesk and even Virtualmin may be a little bit to heavy, you can think about Webmin, too, since there is an additional addon which provides the basic mail server software:

http://www.usermin.com/usermin.html

LAMP

LAMP has already been offered since a few years and is not a panel like the other ones already mentioned, it is a software stack which contains (Linux,) Apache, MySQL and PHP; this is the basic software to start with your own web presentation. We already published a tutorial about this called "LAMP made easy".

Webmin + LAMP

After we had started offering LAMP, we were often asked why it is not possible to select both Webmin and LAMP. Since we always note down your feedback, we started offering both solutions as one package, so that you can start directly with your webpage after we have sent out the login details to you.

 

Conclusion

As you can see, there are different Panels on offer and the decision, which one to choose, also depends on the chosen operating system: cPanel can only be combined with CentOS, whereas Plesk can also be used with Windows Server. By the way: You can test Plesk one month for free (available for our VPS) and get used to the many functions this panel offers!

26Oct/170

How to manage your websites in Plesk: The WordPress Toolkit

In Plesk Onyx, which we offer for our VPS and dedicated servers, you can comfortably manage your WordPress sites with the extension "WordPress Toolkit". The software enables you to set up a new WordPress site by only a few clicks, it can find already existing WordPress installations on its own and it will show them all in a list. There you can do administrative tasks like updating, installing plugins and much more on all installed WordPress instances at once. Therefore, the extension is very interesting for resellers but also for end users. The WordPress Toolkit is available for all three Plesk Onyx versions at no additional charges, but the range of functions in the Web Admin Edition got reduced in some points. For more information about the differences between the full version and the special Web Admin edition, please take a look on this site: https://www.plesk.com/extensions/wordpress-toolkit.

You can easily check if the extension has already been installed in your Plesk by changing to the following oversight: Server Management > Tools & Settings > Updates and Upgrades > Add/Remove components > Plesk extensions. You should see a green tick next to the extension "WordPress Toolkit". If there is still a red X shown, please use the "Install" function in the drop-down menu. With continue, you will proceed with the installation. You will find the extension afterwards below the menu item "Server Management" in the main menu of Plesk. It is called "Wordpress" there. In case you can not find those menus, you can also use the Plesk search bar. Maybe you are not using the Service Provider view then.

Here you can see a screenshot of the available options. You can increase the size of every image in this tutorial by clicking on it.

You can use those options selectively or on all WordPress instances at once. We will now explain those options from the left to the right.

  • Scan
    There you can search for existing WordPress installations. They will be added to the list below automatically.
  • Check Security
    There you can check your WordPress instances for elementary security problems. You will get a list with points that got checked and possible automatic improvements you can confirm.
  • Plugins
    You will get a collection of the installed plugins and also an update check for those plugins will be performed. You can install and remove plugins for your sites there as well.
  • Themes
    There you can manage your themes and exchange them for multiple WordPress sites at once.
  • Update
    You can update your WordPress installations to the newest version here. Plugins are not touched.
  • Check for Updates
    Here you can check if there are WordPress updates for your sites.
  • Auto-Update
    There you can decide if your WordPress sites should get automatic updates in future.

Additionally to those features, you have the functions Clone and Sync available in every line with an existing WordPress installation.

With Clone you can save a lot of time, if you want to use a fully configured WordPress site as Template. You can also easily change the URL of a WordPress installation this way by deleting the original site afterwards. After clicking on this function, you can do the few required settings and create the target subdomain or select one of the existing domains.

With Sync, you can copy changes to other WordPress installations. This is useful, if you want to test for example new plug-ins on a subdomain before you use them in your public blog. You have the choice between the files, the database or both.

If you want to install a new WordPress for one of your domains, you have to change the menu. Please go to "Hosting Services" and there to "Domains". If it does not exist yet, please add your domain now and open it in the list with all the available domains by clicking on the name of the domain. Next to the usual options, you can see the new one called "Install WordPress", as shown in the image below:

After the installation, you can directly log into the WordPress administration panel from Plesk. If you need the login data or want to change them, you can find this and further options in a dedicated management menu. To open this menu, please click on the name of the WordPress instance left to the direct log in button. We marked this in the picture below:

Sounds great, doesn't it? Give Plesk Onyx a try at Contabo and benefit from our one month for free promotion:

Simply order one of our VPS in combination with Plesk and you will get the edition of your choice one month for free!

18Oct/172

E-mail server in Windows Server, part 2: Security

This is a follow-up to the tutorial How to install an e-mail server in Windows, directed to those who already have an hMailserver and want to increase the security.

Spam protection

To activate the spam protection, please go to Settings >> Anti-spam in the hMailserver Administrator.

In the tab "General" you can leave the settings the way they are, as shown in the image. Of course you can adjust them later according to your needs.

In the second tab "Spam tests" you should select all four spam detection parameters:

- Use SPF (3)
- Check host in the HELO command (2)
- Check that sender has DNS-MX records (2)
- Verify DKIM-Signature header (5)

Malware protection

As already mentioned in the previous tutorial, you have the possibility to use different anti malware software in hMailServer. The most easy solution is to use the free ClamWin anti virus scanner. You can download it there:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/clamwin/

Please follow the installation wizard. Installing the browser extension is not required for your e-mail server. Normally ClamWin will now appear in the Windows system tray and start to update its database once a day. It will also protect your system from malware. You are of course free to change those settings individually in the ClamWin menu. The integration in the hMailServer is easy. Please go to Settings >> Anti-Virus >> ClamWin. The button "autodetect" will find the correct path to your ClamWin anti virus installation and you can finish the setup with "Save".

TLS encryption

To enable your clients to start an encrypted connection to your server, so nobody can steal your data, you have to enable this in your settings first. You will need an SSL certificate to achieve this. If you do not have already one for the host name of your server, you can create a self signed one on your own. Self signed certificates are free. But you will have to add an exception manually each time you set up a new client for your server. Most clients like Thunderbird or Outlook will ask you for that after the credentials got entered and they start the first connection. You can use XCA to create such a certificate:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/xca/

After the software got installed and opened, you have to create a new database on the upper left side. You can choose any name, you do not even have to remember the password. We will need this tool only once to create the new certificate. You can remove it again afterwards.

After the new database got created you can choose the tab "Certificates". In the following menu please choose "New Certificate" on the right side. A new window will open. In this new window please choose the tab "Subject" and add your host name next to "commonName". In our example screenshot this is mail.yourdomain.com. Now please create a key for the certificate by pressing the button "Generate a new key". The options in the window normally will be  inserted correctly per default as shown in the image. You can finish the creation with "create".

The next step is to switch to the tab "Extensions". Enter a date until the certificate will be valid. You can be generous at this point. In our example we set a date in the year 2030 for "Validity not after". With the "OK" button in the bottom right corner you will finally create the certificate.

Now you have to export the certificate and the according key. Please choose in the tab "Certificates" the certificate and click on "Export" on the right side. You can let the path the way it is. In our case it is:

C:\Program Files (x86)\xca\mail.yourdomain.com.crt

In the tab "Private Keys" please do the same for the previously created key. The path should be:

C:\Program Files(x86)\xca\mail.yourdomain.com.pem

Please open the hMailServer Administrator and navigate to Settings >> Advanved >> SSL certificates and click on "Add". Now you have to add the previously exported certificate and key as shown in the image below and save the settings.

For the last step please go to Settings >> Advanced >> TCP/IP ports. There you have to modify the three entries below "0.0.0.0 / 25 / SMTP" as shown in the following images. At "SSL Certificate", please choose your recently created certificate. "0.0.0.0 / 25 / SMTP" has to stay in its original state as the only one. If you change it, your e-mail server will not work properly!

Now you have to open the new ports in your firewall. For that you can edit the rule from the previous tutorial. We called it "Ports for hMailServer" there. Please change the "local ports" from 25, 110, 143, 587 to 25, 465, 993, 995. (Windows Firewall with Advanced Security on Local computer >> Inbound Rules >> Ports for hMailServer >> Protocols and Ports)

The settings for your clients have changed too:

ingoing server:

protocol: IMAP; port: 143; security: SSL/TLS; server: the IP or hostname of your server

outgoing server:

protocol: SMTP; port: 587; security: SSL/TLS; server: the IP or hostname of your server

9Oct/176

How to install an e-mail server in Windows Server

You want to send and receive e-mails with your Windows server and connect to it by using your clients on PC, smartphone or tablet? In this tutorial we will explain how you can setup your own e-mail server on a Windows system with a static public IP. This tutorial will work for our VPS as well as for our dedicated servers. hMailServer is a free open source program, the setup is rather simple and can be done in just a few easy steps. Next to the default features like SMTP, POP3 and IMAP, the software is capable to detect spam and also a free virus protection like ClamWin can be added.

Installation

hMailServer needs NET Framework 3.5. to run correctly. Therefore you should add it to Windows before you install hMailServer. To do so, please open the Server Manager. The next steps will differ a little in the different versions of Windows Server. We will explain it by using the example of Windows Server 2012. Please click on "Manage" on the right upper side and choose "Add Features and Roles". In the window that opens you can click four times on "Next" and leave all the settings the way they are. Now you can choose the features you need to install. You just have to choose the NET Framework 3.5 like shown in the image. With "Next" again, you confirm this selection and "Install" will start the installation. As soon as the process is finished, you can close the window and proceed with the installation of your e-mail server.

Please download the latest version of the software from this site:

https://www.hmailserver.com/download

Please do not choose a version that is still in beta, since it might contain bugs and vulnerabilities. After you received the installation package, you can execute it and accept the terms of service.

You should leave the default installation directory as is and continue with "Next". Now you can choose the required products for installation. You will need the full installation, so please let "Server" and "Administrative Tools" checked and proceed with "Next". For an easy installation, we do recommend to choose "Use built-in database engine" in the next step. In the following window let the name be hMailServer and proceed. hMailServer will need a password for administrative tasks in the future. So please create a password you want to use to protect your service and write it down. The last step will be to start the installation. It should finish without error.

hMailServer Configuration

Please open the hMailServer Administrator. In the first window you have to activate "Automatically connect on Start-up" and click on "Connect".

In the next window, please go to "Domains", choose "Add..." and insert your domain you want to use for sending e-mails.

After the domain got saved, you can add new e-mail addresses in the menu "Accounts".

Now please go to Settings >> Protocols >> SMTP >> Delivery of e-mail. There, please add the local host name of your server that should be used for introducing your server to other e-mail servers. It has to be a valid domain and has to resolve to the IP of your server. So please add an A record to your DNS zone if necessary. You also should set an identical PTR for the IP address of your server. This can be done in the Contabo customer control panel. The host name should consist of three parts. That means it has to be an FQDN and it may not contain too many numbers, since it might seem to be generic. A good name for example might be: "mail.justanexample.com". When you are done, please save your new settings.

Firewall Configuration

The main configuration is done. But you still have to open all used e-mail ports in the firewall to make it work. Please open the Windows Firewall settings and choose "Inbound Rules". On the right side click on "New Rule". A window will open and you have to choose "Port" and click on "Next". In the next window please insert the ports 25, 110, 143 and 587, as shown in the image.

In the following window please choose "Allow The Connection" and after "Next", please check "Domain", "Private" and "Public".

In the last window you can enter a name for the new rule. For example "Ports for hMailServer". Please finish the setup and close the firewall settings.

Now you should add an SPF record to your DNS zone. Many e-mail servers will reject e-mails from your server if it does not exist. Therefore please add this TXT record to your zone:

justanexample.com 86400 in TXT "v=spf1 ip4:1.2.3.4 ~all"

"justanexample.com" has of course to be replaced with your domain and 1.2.3.4 with your IP.

You should also add an MX record to your DNS zone, if it does not exist already. The MX record should look like this:

justanexample.com 86400 in MX 10 "mail.justanexample.com"

The value "mail.justanexample.com" has to be replaced with the the host name you have chosen for your e-mail server.

The basic setup of your e-mail server is now complete. It should be able to send and receive e-mails as soon as the DNS changes are active and you can now connect with any e-mail client like Outlook, Thunderbird or Apple Mail.

Client Configuration

Please use the following settings for your e-mail client.

ingoing server:

protocol: IMAP; port: 143; security: none; server: the IP or host name of your server

outgoing server:

protocol: SMTP; port: 587; security: none; server: the IP or host name of your server

Security

If you want to do some optimizations to the server security like transport encryption, spam checks and malware protection, please take a look at our second tutorial: E-mail server in Windows Server, part 2: Security.

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
11Aug/172

Overview of available RAID levels

With this tutorial we will explain certain types of RAID levels to you.
Some of you might have already experienced a loss of data, no matter if it was an SD card holding some vacation photos or a hard disk holding important files. Losing data can be very costly if you try to restore them by some specialist. An expert is needed and the procedure takes a lot of time, the easiest way to avoid those costs is simply to avoid any data loss in the first place.

This overview is not relevant for any VPS, your VPS systems are already running safe on a RAID system monitored by experienced technicians.

Creating backups is still very important, a RAID does not replace any backup!

You can find further instructions within the following tutorial: Data loss and how to avoid it

There are some points which you should think about first, there are several results depending on your requirements.

  1. How important is the performance?
  2. How much data security should be provided by the RAID?
  3. Are system resources available to manage the RAID, such as CPU and RAM

Depending on the results of the above questions and your budget, there are several options available:
A hardware RAID is always more expensive but provides the best performance and security (if combined with a battery backup unit).
A software RAID is the easiest way to go for a RAID, it is able to handle almost any type of RAID and can be set up within a few minutes.

An overview of available RAID levels is shown below:


RAID 0

The RAID 0 provides increased write and read performance, the data will be distributed to at least two disks. Since there is no redundancy all data will be lost in case one disk fails.

  • At least two hard disks are needed
  • No disk redundancy at all
  • Maximum (complete) storage capacity available
  • Improved read and write performance


RAID 1

The RAID 1 provides increased read performance (depending on the software/hardware controller used), all data will be mirrored to a second disk. There is also a RAID 1E available - in that case all data will be mirrored to additional disks too.

  • At least two hard disks are needed
  • n-1 disks can fail
  • 1/n of storage available (n = number of disks, with two disks = > 1/2 of total storage)
  • Improved read performance


RAID 5

The RAID 5 provides increased write and read performance, the data is written to at least two disks, an additional disk is always used for storing parity data. The parity data has to be calculated for every write - so for very write intensive applications the RAID 5 requires a lot of performance due to the necessary calculations.

  • At least three hard disks are needed
  • One disk can fail
  • n-1/n of storage available (n = number of disks, with three disks = > 2/3 of total storage)
  • Improved read and write performance
  • Requires a lot of CPU time


RAID 6

The RAID 6 provides increased read performance, the data is written to at least two disks, two additional disks are always used for storing parity data. The parity data has to be calculated for every write - so for very write intensive applications the RAID 6 requires a lot of performance due to the necessary calculations. As there are two parity bits saved on the disks, the needed CPU time is very high.

  • At least four hard disks are needed
  • Two disks can fail simultaneously
  • n-2/n of storage available (n = number of disks, with two disks = > 2/4 (half) of total storage)
  • Improved read performance
  • Requires the most CPU time


RAID 01

A RAID 01 is a combination of two or more volume groups. Each volume group is configured to have a RAID 0, those volume groups are mirrored in a RAID 1. With a total number of four disks one entire volume group can fail with both disks and no data will be lost.

  • At least four hard disks are needed
  • Two disks can fail simultaneously if they belong to the same logical volume group
  • Half of total storage capacity is available
  • Improved read and write performance


RAID 10

A RAID 10 is a combination of two or more volume groups. Each volume group is configured to have a RAID 1, those volume groups are striped in a RAID 0. With a total number of four disks, two disks can fail simultaneously and no data will be lost - the failed disks must not belong to the same volume group.

  • At least four hard disks are needed
  • Two disks can fail simultaneously if they do not belong to the same logical volume group
  • Half of total storage capacity is available
  • Improved read and write performance


 

The difference between RAID 01 and RAID 10 is only visible with six or more disks, if you have six disks a RAID 10 will provide a higher calculated security rate. We do recommend using a RAID 10 instead of using a RAID 01 even if you do only have four disks. Some RAID controllers do not even support a RAID 01 anymore. RAID 5 and RAID 6 require the highest CPU time since a checksum has to be calculated on every writing process to the disk. Only a few enterprise RAID controllers do support RAID 5 and RAID 6, due to the need of calculating checksums the writing speed might suffer which might then cause problems when using write intensive applications.

For our dedicated servers it is always possible to order additional hard disks or RAID controllers, current prices can be found on our web site. If you need a special configuration, please contact our support team any day between 8 am and 11 pm (German timezone, UTC+2).

Posted by: Gianni-Donato | Tagged as: , , , , , 2 Comments