Setting Up a Dedicated Server Using Linux

This document provides information about the various aspects of setting up a dedicated server using Linux. If you do not find the information you need, please contact us at support@simplyhosting.cloud.

Accessing the Simply Cloud control panel

Navigate to our site at www.simplyhosting.cloud and click the 'Login' link at the top right of the page.

Identifying your server's IP address

An IP address is a unique number that identifies your server on the Internet. Every server on the internet has at least one IP address. The IP address allocated to your server is displayed on the Simply Cloud control panel.

Accessing the Plesk control panel on your server

If you have Plesk on your server, you can access it through your web browser at:
https://:8443

The username to log in will be ‘root’ (no quotes) for Plesk 12 and ‘admin’ (no quotes} for earlier versions. The password will be the same as the default root password for the server. If you have not ordered the Plesk control panel you must administer your Linux server using the command line. You can order the Plesk control panel after you have bought the server by calling our Support Team at 020 3697 5537.

Getting SSH access to your server

Your server is set up with one account (root) by default. You will need your root password that is displayed in the “Dedicated Servers” section on the Simply Cloud Control Panel. You will also need an SSH client. If you are using Windows, we recommend Putty, which can be downloaded for free at: https://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/latest.html

On a Mac or Linux you can use the SSH command from the command line, for example: ssh -l root where is your server's actual IP address.

Maintaining password strength

The root account has full access to all aspects of the system and should be protected by a strong password. Our installation system generates a strong password when your server is built, and it is recommended that you continue to use passwords of equal or greater strength. Do not use passwords based on dictionary works, your mother’s maiden name, your favourite football team, or anything else that may be easy to guess. Passwords should contain a mixture of upper and lower case characters, numbers and special characters. Failure to use a secure password may leave your system open to attackers who could take control of your server and its data.

Adding another user

It is a recommended practise to use a ‘non-root’ account to access your server on a regular basis, reserving the “root” account for when absolutely necessary. If an attacker compromises your normal user account, they can access the system but will not have access to the root account. An attacker would need to compromise both passwords in order to take control of the system.

You should also deny the root account the ability to login via SSH, meaning you will always need to log in using your general account. When you need to do something that requires root permission, you can issue the su command and enter the root password.

To add additional user accounts:

  • Get an ssh shell on your server
  • Type 'adduser' followed by the username of the new account
  • Follow the prompts. If you receive an error that says the 'adduser' command is not found, try /usr/sbin/adduser

Disallowing root login

Once you have created a general user account, you can stop the root account from logging on directly. This is done by editing the ‘sshd_config’ file, normally in /etc/ssh. Open the file in a text editor such as vi or nano (you will need to lookup instructions for using each of these programs) and look for the following line:

PermitRootLogin yes

Change this to:

PermitRootLogin no and save the file.

You will first need to log in via your general account, and then use the su command to become root. You should test that you can access your server by using your general account before you do this to make sure you do not lock yourself out of the server.

Changing your password

  • Get an ssh shell on your server
  • Type 'passwd' (no quotes) and follow the prompts

Change your server's hostname

  • Get an ssh connection to your server
  • Type 'hostname ' (no quotes)

This sets the hostname on your server. Please note that you will need to set up a DNS entry to give others access to your server at the new name (see below).

Setting a DNS entry for your server

DNS (or Domain Name System) allows people to access web sites and other servers by name rather than by IP address. To set a DNS entry for your server, you will need to own a domain. If you have a domain with Simply Cloud, set a DNS entry for your server by using the Domains page of your Simply Cloud Control Panel. If your domain is not with Simply Cloud, you will need to follow the instructions of the provider who hosts your domain. You may transfer domains from other providers to Simply Cloud by using our domain ordering page at www.simplyhosting.cloud/domains.

Setting your server's reverse DNS entry

A reverse DNS entry allows connected servers to look up the name of your server. This may be important when running a mail server as other mail servers may check your server's name before allowing emails to be transferred. You can set the reverse DNS entry for all the IP addresses allocated to your server on the Simply Cloud Control Panel. Simply go to the Dedicated Servers page in your control panel, click on your server’s IP address to open the control page for that server, and enter the reverse DNS name you wish to use in the appropriate field.

Starting a website

Your Linux server has the Apache 2 web server installed as a default. Depending on the version of Linux you selected, this may or may or may not be running. You can access the website with your browser by typing your server’s IP address (or name if you have set a DNS entry). If you are unable to view anything when you do this, you will need to start Apache. Login to your server via SSH, and use su to become root. Then run the following command:

/etc/init.d/httpd start

Or on Ubuntu:

/etc/init.d/apache2 start

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