vpsBible.com – What, Why & Other Q&A’s



vpsbible.com logo

Those of you who've been following this blog will know I've taken steps to port the VPS Bible series to a new home of its own. In fact, that happens this week.

By way of an introduction to the new site, the whys and therefores, I figured it'd be nice to give my intrepid community here at Guvnr the inside track ..

So here's the FAQ I just wrote for the new site. Hopefully it all makes sense but please lemme know any Q's, views or misconstrues.

As an aside, tell you what – and as much as I enjoy trying to blow up everyone's web server 😉 – I'll be damn pleased to have the new site up and running, and to be giving Guvnr its remit back, and cracking out some top non-server content here again. Let's face it, it's about time.

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.

Here's the FAQ (any links won't work yet!):-

Why vpsBible.com?

vpsBible is geared to help:-

  • VPS and Linux newbies to get started with an unmanaged virtual private server
  • more advanced users to get more from their virtual private server

Essentially, using easy-read tips and tutorials, vpsBible aims to show you how to:-

Serve multi sites & blogs on a budget .. at the fastest possible speed .. with the least downtime .. in the most secure environment .. and future-proofed for easy admin.

Couldn't this apply to unmanaged dedicated hosting too?

Yes, and much could apply to shared or managed hosting.

Who's behind it?

Hi! My name is Olly Connelly – aka ‘the_guv' from Guvnr.com.

Formerly a BBC/Bloomberg/MTV news editor, I've been producing web content for 15 years. I specialize in SEO-driven copy and video, coding sites in a bunch of languages and, guess what, building web servers.

I live between Valencia and London where I manage to juggle the best of each: sun and beer.

So what's the qualification of this guv_bloke?

A shedload of research and development. I write nothing I haven't tested, re-tested and tri-tested.

.. The proof of the pudding, all that .. check out the testimonials, dozens of them in the Love section of the ‘pitch-box' on the homepage.

Besides that, I was a VPS and Linux newbie too. In many respects I still am and doubtless will be for years to come.

And as a writer and ex-hack, my USP is to demystify the complex. I do that with a wide range of topics at Guvnr too, where the strapline is “Make the web, make more of it.”

Is the_guv a geek?

No, I'm an Englishman, dammit!

Seriously, without geeks we wouldn't have this wonderful world wide web, so I guess I kinda like geeks. Then again, for the love of Mike, someone give 'em a dictionary 😛

How did the original VPS Bible come about?

About a year ago I got fed up of my shared host, especially when their ‘support' department ‘lost' my database. With unmanaged VPS solutions being so cheap, I figured I'd build one and researched for the best overall solution out there.

Having trawled through hundreds of sites, trying to work out what the bejeebers they were talking about, two things were clear:-

  • it's easy for a few hours outlay and on a shoestring budget it was possible to set up a high-performance unmanaged VPS, better than pretty much all managed VPS plans and better even than a lot of managed dedicated servers.
  • it's hard the ‘need-a-degree' documentation made this route practically inaccessible for most of us, without spending days or even weeks prepping up

The original VPS Bible – a 20-part VPS-for-newbies guide with 20-part follow up admin series – was the result of my own research and development, and I published it and have continued to enhance it at Guvnr.com. It now lives here.

Why not just leave the VPS Bible at Guvnr?

The VPS Bible was popular. Hundreds of folks were following it every day. And, as you do, asking lots of questions. So it was hard to support, especially with an inefficient comments-based system.

I wanted Guvnr to get its life back. I like playing with machines, always have, but Guvnr isn't really about infrastructure, it's more about intelligent surfing. Like I said, “Make the web, make more of it.” The VPS Bible was a splendid distraction, but was capsizing Guvnr's remit.

Plus. I wanted to do more with VPS solutions, both for noobs and more advanced tech-heads. Stuff like:-

  • benchmarking Comparisons of web servers, OS distributions, caching systems and so on are sparse or out-of-date. Yet these technologies improve daily. I want the best for my sites, and to be able to share that knowledge for at least the most common scenarios
  • alternative distribution guides Ubuntu is recognized as a leading server distro, especially for newcomers to the world of VPS and Linux. But what about, say, Arch, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, OpenSUSE or Slackware? vpsBible will consider the alternatives, starting soon with CentOS
  • alternative web servers Nginx is recognized as a super-hot solution and, in trials to date, knocks Apache, Lighttpd and others into a cocked hat. Then again, being an inquisitive type, I want to play with other servers too, again sharing that knowledge for at least the most common scenarios
  • email servers Not everyone wants to use Google Apps, after all. We need a good VPS-housed webmail solution as well as a mail server solution
  • DNS Explaining how the “Domain Name System” works, what records do what and what tools are available to help, whether as part of a VPS control panel or strapped on using a package like Bind
  • content management systems The VPS Bible detailed one of the most common requirements, integrating WordPress into a VPS solution. But what about Drupal, Joomla, MODx? And what about Ruby, Capistrano, Django? And for data, what about Postgre?
  • proxy servers I despise censorship and recognize the web as an insecure medium for personal and business data. Proxy servers are already big news. They will become vastly more so as people wise up to how they are tracked and spied upon, online, at every click-through. vpsBible already explains how to use your VPS as a proxy. It will take that much further with a range of proxy solutions
  • updates it's all very well chalking up some guide about any of the above but, before you know it, it's out of date. The original VPS Bible needed time and a space for proper updating, as does everything else on this list
  • the forum Like I said, the comments system at Guvnr wasn't working. Useful comments would fall through the cracks. Added to that, a wide-ranging subject like this needs a wider input of ideas, trial and error. vpsBible could have, and has, a forum covering every niche of setting up and managing a virtual private server. And besides, it's a nice way to make friends

That's a lot of work?

Yup. And the order of what I do when will depend on the general consensus of the community. From the feedback I've received from Guvnr's splendid community, priority will be given to tutorials covering:-

  • Drupal integration into the Ubuntu/Nginx solution
  • WordPress MU & BuddyPress integration into the Ubuntu/Nginx solution
  • CentOS server installation guide
  • Bind for DNS
  • mail server a common email solution
  • elite proxy server solution
  • Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04 updating the Nginx guide to allow for the upcoming Ubuntu distro, due out on the last day of April 2010. This will be a Long Term Support edition, which means it's a must-have for Ubuntu fans, just as 8.04 has been a must-have because it, too, has been LTS
  • benchmarking web servers

Is that it?

There are more advanced topics, for sure, but the above more than covers the basics. I am open to suggestions, criticism and praise.

Why are you charging US$15?

To eat.

Why aren't you charging more?

I may do later on, and have left the door open with the “new site offer”. It all depends on how many folks I can convert from shared to unmanaged VPS. Damn, if I get a flood, I may reduce the price. More likely I'd peg it.

Besides, and being of an ‘opensource' mentality, I don't want to be greedy. Honest guv!

There are side-benefits to a site like this too. Let me quote you for your SEO-driven web project. Or if you can't be bothered to build that VPS, cool, I'll do it.

So where do I start?

Here.

Anything else?

No.

Or something ..

Thanks for reading. I hope you:-

  • gain a true benefit from vpsBible.com – and while we're about it from Guvnr.com too
  • get involved in the community, asking and saying
  • tell the world 😛

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  October 24, 2010

    cheers BB, kind words and I apologize for delay replying. what you need, vps or dedicated, would depend on a bunch of factors but check out this:-

    http://vpsbible.com/hosting/vps-virtual-private-server-vs-shared-vs-dedicated/

    anything you can do with Apache, you can do with Nginx.

    sure I practice SEO but I haven’t much tutorialized it. php? no, I code in it but again leave that topic to others .. here’s a great place for you to learn it:-

    http://www.youtube.com/user/phpacademy

    drop by the forum at vpsbible, anytime, with any server queries.

  2. BB Goyal  October 3, 2010

    i am interested in getting vps or dedicated. but not sure which one to choose and from which host. i read a number of pages on your site. i am impressed that u r a man of words. love it. i want to subscribe for ur tutorial, but not sure whether i can do everything without apache. secondly i use mod-rewrite and some other things, whcih i am not sure whether these are possible without apache.

    second thing is that whether u teach seo too? i would like to have ur seo books / lessons / tutorials.

    third thing, do u teach php?

  3. the_guv  February 9, 2010

    me too m8

  4. Ben  February 9, 2010

    The suspense is killing me!

  5. the_guv  February 8, 2010

    @Benja – aw shucks 😉

    I’m well into all the above! Some will take longer than others. WPMU/BuddyPress for Nginx is ready to go, so that’ll be one of the first new posts. W3 I’ve been hearing a lot about, but haven’t put it through its paces yet .. will be looking into it for sure.

    @ALL .. want to say, “hot-damn”, your feedback has been incredible, from the very first installment of the Bible, right through to its, er, what’s the word .. you know, that thing maggots do when they become butterflies! .. you get the picture.

    So many supportive emails and comments .. it means a whole lot.

    Thank you.

    I finished – finally – the site today. It WILL be live on Tuesday. That is a promise.

    Kind regards,

    _guv-bloke.

    PS .. crysalis .. yeah, crysalis. spelt wrong apparently tho ..

  6. Benja  February 8, 2010

    Just sounds briiiiiiilliiiiiant! Really looking forward to the VPSBible! Hopefully it will also be helping with newbie choices/set-ups of the likes of PHP-FPM, APC/W3 Total Cache, xcache, CDN and WPMU optimisations for budget hosting.

  7. the_guv  February 6, 2010

    @Matt and everyone .. damn, I’m real sorry to be so late .. but it’s just round the corner now.

    I figure I’ll launch Tuesday, it’ll be finished tomorrow night. Just tightening up some php and cranking a bunch of cross-browser css.

    thing was, I was about to launch, but pulled the plug because some key functions weren’t working properly, and one thing led to another .. it’s a different site now! all seems to be settled in and cooperating now, and the forum especially I reckon is gonna be a great haunt. really looking forward to the community there.

    also, I’ve rewritten, though not from scratch, half the VPS Bible itself, to make it more newbie-literate .. I’ll comb the rest when it’s live.

    as for backup, in 2 words, cron rsync, although yes there are image backup options with both Linode and Slicehost, at least .. but this incremental backup tut is something I’ve got on the VPS admin list to do!!!

    strikes me you lot are gonna keep me busy over the next few lifetimes! good times.

    i’d like to hear of your alterations Matt .. let’s catch up in those forums.

  8. Matt  February 5, 2010

    Is there a new go-live date for vpBible?

    One thing that I would be interested in seeing is how the_guv has configured backups; whether that be linode‘s beta backup plan, duplicity, etc.

    Keep up the good work. While I may have altered some points in the tutorials to customize my own setup, they have certainly helped in getting familiar (and setup quickly) with a new distro on linode.

  9. Adrian M  February 3, 2010

    Dear the_guv,

    It is a good idea also not only update the code of some commands or tools to support the new system, but also a guide on how to update the current server from 8.04 to 10.04 🙂

    Another problem which I have encountered over the last couple weeks is adding extra users and giving them access to only their domain folder and similar ssh so that they won’t be able to go into other domains, basically chroot ssh and sftp. There is so much stuff online, a lot of it is outdated while others complicated and doesn’t work always. I have spend a great amount of time and only were able to chroot sftp not ssh. This would be a great tutorial 🙂

  10. the_guv  February 3, 2010

    @Simon and @Ben .. on the list .. thank you both.

    keep those suggestions coming y’all.

  11. the_guv  February 3, 2010

    @Moses .. nice idea .. and the same for web servers and caching systems too, thank you. noted.

  12. Simon  February 2, 2010

    i’m with ben on the rewrite stuff – turns my brain to spaghetti just looking at them!

  13. Moses  February 2, 2010

    Reads good mate, and that flashy splahs page you’ve got up at vpsbible.com is a sight to behold.

    I reckon a useful addition would be a simple table showing each of the common distro’s and a few bullet points in +ve and -ve columns. Would have made me go straight to Ubuntu instead of messing round with the lesser documented CentOS first.

  14. Ben  February 1, 2010

    In the words of Mr Burns………….exceeeeeeeelllent!

    p.s. Can we add “how to convert mod_rewrite rules to nginx rewrites” – as this is the only thing stopping me moving the rest of my sites from my crappy shared host

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