Guvnr.com & vpsBible.com – Focussing on 2010



using ssh and bashrc for easy login

Sure, there has been a pause. A month, no less, and how weird is this: I feel like the kid at school who sidles into the classroom, totally late, hair strewn and face sheepish, having missed Assembly and, oh no, they already started that ruddy Math test. Which I'd also forgotten. Bugger!

Oh well. Being a confident sort of an idiot, let's see if I can't make it up. 2010, it's gonna be a corker. Happy New Year. Oh, er, and a Merry Christmas. (Slapped wrist.)

There have been some mitigating factors. Mainly my family. But we won't got there. Oh, and it snowed. Not that I was there when it did, but it did. And it's chilly, even here in Spangoland, and my feet are cold. One just fell off.

All right, 'nuff fluff.

Setup Unmanaged VPS (4 Noobs!) ... with vpsBible
Secure WordPress. Properly. ... with wpCop, the platform's dedicated security website
Olly 'the_guv' Connelly's vpsBible.com site and 'WordPress 3 Ultimate Security' book.

2010 & Guvnr: Tux Tales, Tricky Topix, Some Fun, A Wider Web.

The biggest success of 2009, Guvnr's first full year, was that daily page views rose from about 2 to about 2000. That was due to a few things but, without doubt, it was mainly due to Set Up an Unmanaged VPS (4 Newbies) .. The V-P-S Bible. In the comments, a common superlative has been “awesome”.

I want to thank sincerely everyone who gave any kind of feedback, of whatever flavor.

Really, those who told me where I'd cocked up helped the most. I am truly grateful for every compliment, wry suggestion and knowing wink. One chap even gave me a free VPS: Michael from Uncorrupted, you are a lovely man. Many of you say you learned a lot. I sure did, and have spent my elongated Christmas summing up and computing a forward strategy.

Guvnr: “Make the web, make more of it”

Guvnr's new strap line – “Make the web, make more of it” – hopefully sums up my web development and blogging mission a little better than the otherwise clearly sexy keywording “Web design Spain.” (Particularly as most of my clients are Stateside.)

To reflect this, blog-wise, I'm going back to the original, broader idea: building buzzing PCs (Linux-led), web presence 101's and fun yet efficient surfing. Put it another way, Guvnr's remit, via the odd rant and some dodgy humor, is to help you prep your pc for some serious surfing where, out there in the online digitalness, there beckons our world wide oysterfest .. let's find it!

The VPS Bible, which has dominated my content, is gonna continue. In fact it's gonna be bigger. But it's not gonna be at Guvnr. It has outgrown this house, is too niche and demands more focused organization.

vpsBible.com: “Setup Unmanaged VPS – How-to Guides 4 Linux Noobs”

The remit is explained simply:-

“To make accessible to anyone who can read the task of building and maintaining a server, with a choice of specifications and supporting documentation to show the difference between them.”

Here's the year ahead:-

  • immediate tidy up of the relocating VPS Bible
  • completion and extension of the VPS Admin guide
  • the much requested CentOS option
  • adaptation of the Ubuntu option once 8.04 is superseded by 10.04, the new Long Term Support edition due out on the last day of April
  • benchmarking Nginx against Apache, Lighty, Cherokee and others
  • how to proxy, from personal use to elite builds
  • supporting video tutorials, by way of a ‘hand-holder'

Documentation will be kept up-to-date so installation errors are kept to a minimum – crucial to this demographic.

Finally, I am excited about the prospect of a thriving community at the site, centered around a friendly forum, where “we were all newbies once”. This will provide a better way to get feedback fast, than does the existing jumble of comments.

There are other ideas, but these will depend on the growth of the community.

The site itself will be available in a couple of weeks. Currently it's sat on a memory stick. In the meantime, the VPS Bible will remain here at Guvnr, just as it has.

From the wings, Guvnr will chronicle this new venture, a case study into how to build a successful online community.

$But!

To be able to build the above I need to be working on it, pretty much, full-time, at least for the foreseeable months. And time = money, all that.

So how much money, or rather how much to charge? Frankly I don't know and, besides that, being an opensource kind of a guy, I am keen to subsidize bare minimum fees with secondary income, such as advertising. I also want to see how the community shapes up, aka how much time do I really have to spend on it?

For now, for early birds and for Guvnr's valued community, and allowing for the fact documentation is currently limited, here is my proposal …

For US$15, that's about a tenner in Euros or UK quids, you have one year's run of the site. And as a gesture of goodwill, and confidence in the offering …

If after 2 weeks and within a month of joining vpsBible's community you want your money back, rescinding your membership, fine fair play, that's agreed, no questions asked.

… On the other hand, get involved!

So there you go. Please. Let me know. I would really like some feedback on this.

Me & Linode

A lot of you have opted for Linodes, the superb VPS host that the VPS Bible recommends. Good choice, I say. Mine's humming along nicely too.

But, seeing as I'm subsidizing costs, and like you I pay for my Linode (they loaned me a second though for testing the VPS Bible), I've decided to join Linode's affiliate scheme. In fact I did so yesterday. This doesn't shell out cash – how cheap! – but will credit me with a month's hosting, three months after someone signs up through one of my links.

Judging by the number of people who have told me they have already signed up with Linode after reading my reports, I think it's pretty likely I'll have credit coming out of my ears pretty soon. That's great: more Linodes means more testing servers, means more great content. (Meanwhile, I'll be using Uncorrupted's donated VPS to test and write about proxy setups.)

So do me a favor .. if you've not yet signed up to them, please sign up through one of my links, not least of all because it'll give me a buzz to see how many people are taking my advice and Linoding it.

One other thing about Linode that you may not know. They added a fifth data center to their US ones, this time in London. So for you Europeans ….

So that's the vpsBible. Wasn't much to report then, huh?

Back to Guvnr

The VPS Bible aside, there have been three successes in 2009, the overall topics of which will continue to influence this blog's direction this year.

All about Proxies – Personal Freedoms & Privacy

How to Surf Anonymously & Hide Your PC was a detailed 5 part series that I wrote way back in January, and as far as I know both my site visitors really enjoyed it, or at least my Aunty Glad said so. Part 5 though, the video how-to – Set up a Proxy Server – did end up doing the rounds, thanks to Youtube, with approaching 9000 views for the video.

.. this ain't so hot a stat. But nonetheless it did get me thinking about the desire for proxy info. Quite right too – damn, we should all hide behind proxies, pretty much permanently, IMHO. (It's bad enough having a Facebook account these days, but surfing online you never know who's recording your progress, and about to send you a three month trial to Reader's Ruddy Digest.) So I wrote Hide Your Data & Identity with SOCKS and, by the time I arrived in the UAE, they'd banned this site for educating the masses.

Truth is, I felt a pang of pride at somehow offending a mafia-like regime such as this: one that, only a few day's ago for instance, acquitted a member of its ruling family from a rape charge (not the first such claim against that family). Sheikh al-Nahyan walked free from another charge at the same time too, another charge of torture: despite being filmed for three hours, nail-clubbing some poor bloke who forgot to bow or something, driving over and semi-killing the guy, the shady sheik got off after blaming his behavior on something like a dodgy aspirin. Really, you can't make this stuff up.

Guvnr will team up with vpsBible to promote the use of proxies to the ends of personal liberty and privacy online.

Key Applications, Plugins, Add-ons, Extensions

On a lighter note, which isn't difficult, nearly all of my posts about WordPress have been well-thumbed this year as, clearly, the blogging platform continues to thrive, it's community thirsting for the latest-greatest.

It's hard to be so active in a community such as this and not blog about it, at least a bit, and I see you appreciate it, Video How-to: 10 Tips To Make WordPress Hack-Proof being the most popular post of the year with nearly 10,000 pageviews. Only yesterday it gave me yet another WordPress private client job. (Hey Josh, nice to meet you!)

.. so there will be more cute tips on popular applications. Not just for WP but, I am inclined, more so for Firefox, Skype and maybe Twitter if I've got an original idea. Any posts about making the web, as opposed to making the most if it, will likely be covered as I have a related problem or poorly documented scenario, working a solution and blogging about that.

Move over Windows – Mint, Ubuntu & Linux

The third success of the year was with The 25-Part Ubuntu KARMIC KOALA BIBLE, which was officially Digged-to-death. Well, maybe not to death but it got over 600 Diggs and came in at #2 on the Digg/Technology page after I teamed up with those top chaps at MakeUseOf. This was quite an easy guide to write, following on from the less detailed guide I'd written for Jaunty JackSpratt – Build a Sex-On-Legs WebDev Machine – but a sheer nightmare to publish, working as I was in one of the UAE's supposedly 5-star hotels, yet complete with what IMHO was a 1-star connection. Averaging about 30Kbps (yup, just the one zero), I kept losing the damn connection, worked through a 72-hour stint to publish the 25 posts in one go, having already spent quite literally days beforehand downloading the latest Koala pre-release candidates, then the release itself, trying to ensure my guide matched the reality.

.. Sat in that hotel's alleged “business center” guzzling coffee, 3-4 nights in a row to obtain a less trafficked connection, was the lowlight of my working year. More specifically, rock bottom was having waited 14 hours for the post-installation upgrades and then, just before they finish, totally tired and dreaming of bed, I pull out a USB slot and, would you Adam-and-Eve-it, the bloody PC crashes and won't recover. A total restarter. So, Karmic came in a winner, huh, that's surely karma.

Then again, and this is the God's-honest, this damnedly attractive girl came in one night and sat at the opposite desk. (Er, don't tell the missus this bit!) Stunning, legs up to the ceiling and well and truly racked .. and I'm not talking servers. (And I'm not gonna mention servicing or support or anything like that.) She was, get this, a belly dancer. From Argentina – from where I was surprised to hear they exported belly dancers – she explained she was Facebooking friends after finishing her shift and when her pals were awake, their time. Not that I was chatting her up. Never even looked. Just working hard, my focus purely Karmic and rock-bloody-solid. Impossible to avoid innuendo really, isn't it? Gotta love the Limey lingo. Course, I blame Henry VIII. I already lost my mafiosi mates and, now, there go the female subbers too.

Well racked. Lovely girl. Bright too. Great things ahead of her.

Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

Where was I? Yes. Now that I've lost mine, I'll be cracking out some more Karmic guides along the way or, at the very least, I'll be updating that Bible for Ubuntu's aforementioned 10.04 Lucid Lynx (no relation to the belly dancer, they told me). Mentioned above, this is a major release, the biggest for two years, including as it does long term support (LTS) so, if you're thinking about Ubuntu or want a few top tips, I can promise you a detailed guide, both for noobs and intermediates. This one will top Digg/Technology. Personally, I'm fed up upgrading operating systems and, as I say, as this is an LTS edition, I for one will be wanting a beautiful installation that will last me, well, probably until I get bored but for at least a year.

Mint? Sure. Well, it's Ubuntu, isn't it? .. Just with an extra couple of media codecs and that revolting Kermit-green background. Maybe I'll add one or two Mint-specific posts. I do like Mint. And it is THE Windows switchover for the very nervous, and as it took me 15 years of Windoze Update to finally shift myself, I respect those nerves too. So maybe more Mint, maybe. Could be an over-stretch through.

Damn. Gonna be a big year, huh? Come December, see you down the job center.

PS .. Hey, really, if you've been brave enough or bored enough to read this lot, for pity's sake let me know what you think. Both for vpsBible and Guvnr, suggestions are etc etc, and thank you for reading, dear reader. Truly I hope you gain some benefit from my spiel this year and, equally, I look forward to more compliments, wry suggestions and knowing winks.

Olly

aka the_guv

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About the Author:

Olly Connelly (yeah, that's me) blogs at guvnr.com, polices WordPress security at wpCop.com and helps noobs build web servers at vpsBible.com, so if you've got sleeping problems you know where to come.

Discussion

  1. the_guv  January 20, 2010

    @Simon .. splendid, thank you. As my old m8 Richard used to say, thank you for your support – I’ll wear it always 😛

  2. Simon  January 20, 2010

    Ten quid sounds like incredibly good value to me – count me in!

  3. Ben Ellis  January 19, 2010

    Good to hear re: the forum.

    Might I suggest a future blog topic – converting mod_rewrite to ngnix rewrite………having a right mare trying to figure this out correctly!

    I know you did a basic www/non-www with the set-up, but mosts scripts and cms’s have a basic .htacess set-up.

  4. Moses  January 19, 2010

    Nice one Guv, here’s the one we use that seems pretty decent
    http://txfx.net/wordpress-plugins/subscribe-to-comments/

  5. the_guv  January 18, 2010

    @Moses .. you’re right, I need a Sub to Comments button .. have been meaning to implement and, once I’ve got vpsBible up and finished some client projects this week, I’ll sort that. Appreciate the nudge, thank you.

    @Ben .. that’s great to hear. There is a forum with this .. Totally agree with you, I too think that is a key part of the resource.

  6. Ben Ellis  January 18, 2010

    Hi Guv

    I’d sign up 🙂

    This site has been a superb resource for me, knowing zero about running a vps – to running a number of sites (current in middle of moving sites from a crap shared host over).

    The speed difference between them is imense – I have DB driven sites loading consisently in 0.8 sec’s now…..got quite obsessed with speed.

    For me to sign up, I’d like a forum on there too – where people can interact and help each other out, as well as reading your guides.

    I’ve come a cropper a few times, like getting zend / ioncube to work, best back-up prcatice and converting apache rewrites to nginx….so having a community to go too first.

    But for 10 quid count me in 🙂 Adverts / affiliates dont bother me, if you can make a few bob on refering vistors to sites then happy days.

    Ben.

    p.s. Moses isnt the only one who searches guvnr + keyword……….check your logs for some guvnr +shh keys!! ha

  7. Moses  January 17, 2010

    No probs Guvnr,
    Could I suggest you look at the wordpress plugin that lets commenters opt-in to email notification of replies to their comment? Since you answer so many of your comments it would get more of us returning.
    Cheers,
    Moses.

  8. the_guv  January 16, 2010

    @Moses .. Sir, I am both humbled and honored. Thank you.

  9. Moses  January 16, 2010

    true story, when I search for something I’ve stuffed on my VPS these days, my first google contains the keyword “guvnr“.

  10. Moses  January 16, 2010

    Cheers Guv, I read a lot, don’t always take the time to comment. As a blogger myself there is no bigger crime!

    If we don’t talk about the last two world cups then we’ve done alright against your boys! Damn 🙁

  11. the_guv  January 16, 2010

    @Moses .. hey, long time, stranger! Big cheers to you my friend.

    (Course … you’re not my friend when England are playing you guys 😛 .. Swing low, but keep it very Northern hemi!)

    PS Your site is superb.

  12. Moses  January 16, 2010

    Sounds like a busy year ahead Guv, for me also… after all I made the big switch for my rugby site to linode w/ 8.04 in December and just fired the home PC to Karmic so I’ve got a dev machine as well!

    A tenner sounds fine to me, was going to send you a donation regardless.

  13. the_guv  January 14, 2010

    @Philip .. praise indeed from a Microsoft “Most Valuable Professional”. Thank you.

  14. Philip Churchill  January 14, 2010

    I’ll be paying as im learning so much from the VPS Bible, but i’d personaly make it more like $30 – OK, $29.99.

  15. the_guv  January 14, 2010

    @Andrew .. m8, that’s top but, damn, I knew I was underchargin’ 😛

  16. andrew  January 14, 2010

    I’ll be signing up for the VPSbible thing absolutely o doubt. That guide you published probably saved me about 4 weeks of work. Haven’t dived into the setup fully but a tenner or so to join the thing would be money well and truly well spent IMHO…keep up the great work boss 🙂

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