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General Introduction to Dedicated Servers:

A dedicated server is a single computer on a web hosting network that is leased or rented, and dedicated to just one customer. A service provider monitors the computer’s hardware, network connectivity, and routing equipment, while the customer generally controls and maintains the server software. Dedicated servers are usually used for websites who have outgrown their standard hosting account and require something more powerful, they are also used by larger companies that require seperate servers for mail, web, and database servers. Web hosting companies may have their sites spread of one or several servers. Dedicated servers are housed in data centers, where service providers can monitor them close-up and have hands-on access to them.

The primary advantage of using a dedicated server over a typical shared hosting account is the sheer amount of resources and control available to you, the customer. In many cases, the client is at liberty to install whatever software they desire, giving them greater flexibility and administrative options. Custom software can be installed whenever required, and also leaves less chance for a hacking attempt because only one site is being hosted and not several hundred, hence providing less targets. Dedicated server clients do not share resources, as those with shared hosting plans do; but rather, are at liberty to use all the resources available to them.

We have decided to provide some links to some useful tutorials which you may use to get your server up and running, or simply securing your server.

Due to the large number of tutorials we have started categorising the tutorials:

CentOS Related Tutorials

Securing Servers:

Installing and Configuring CSF Firewall
This tutorial covers how to install and configure CSF (configserver) firewall on a cPanel or non-cPanel server. This is a recommended security application to install on your server to replace APF and BFD.

Changing APF log for TDP/UDP drop's
If you’re tired of seeing your /var/log/messages log file full of dropped traffic from APF firewall then we have a solution! We’ll create a separate log file for TCP/UDP OUTPUT and drops which will leave your messages log nice and clean for easy browsing!

RootCheck - Root Check
RootCheck scans the system looking for possible  trojans ,scans the ports for malicious activity ,and checks for rootkits,and also the logs,permissions and more.

Compile 2.6.7, 2.6.8, 2.6.8.1, 2.6.9, 2.6.10, 2.6.11.6 Kernel w/module-init-tools
Compiling the kernel - Wanted to try out the 2.6 edition kernel? Never knew how to do it? Well heres how! Includes everything from compiling the kernel to configuring your bootloader.

Rkhunter Installation
Rkhunter is a very useful tool that is used to check for trojans, rootkits, and other security problems. This tutorial will touch on installing and setting up a daily report for rkhunter.
Installing:

Detect and Clean a hacked server T0rnkit Tutorial
Tornkit is a rootkit, a set of programs that is used by an intruder to have unrestricted access to a compromised Linux system. Tornkit is also attempts to hide its presence.

How to install KISS Firewall
KISS My Firewall is a FREE iptables script designed for a typical web server. It takes advantage of the latest firewall technologies including stateful packet inspection and connection tracking. It also contains some preventative measures for port scanning, DoS attacks, and IP spoofing, among other things.

How to Disable Telnet
Telnet sends clear text passwords and usernames through logins and should be disabled on all web servers and replaced with SSH.

How to install mod_security for Apache
ModSecurity is an open source intrusion detection and prevention engine for web applications. It operates embedded into the web server, acting as a powerful umbrella - shielding applications from attacks. ModSecurity supports both branches of the Apache web server.

How to install BFD (Brute Force Detection)
BFD is a modular shell script for parsing applicable logs and checking for authentication failures. There is not much complexity or detail to BFD yet and likewise it is very straight-forward in its installation, configuration and usage. The reason behind BFD is very simple; the fact there is little to no authentication and brute force auditing programs in the linux community that work in conjunction with a firewall or real-time facility to place bans.

How to install APF (Advanced Policy Firewall)
APF is a policy based iptables firewall system designed for ease of use and configuration. It employs a subset of features to satisfy the veteran Linux user and the novice alike. Packaged in tar.gz format and RPM formats, make APF ideal for deployment in many server environments based on Linux.

E-mail Alert on Root SSH Login
Want to be notified instantly when someone logs into your server as root? No problem, check out this nice tutorial on email notification for root logins. Keeping track of who logs into your server and when is very important, especially when you're dealing with the super user account. We recommend that you use an email address not hosted on the server your sending the alert from.

Mask Your Web Server for Enhanced Security
Masking or anonymizing a Web server involves removing identifying details that intruders could use to detect your OS and Web server vendor and version. This information, while providing little or no utility to legitimate users, is often the starting place for crackers, blackhat hackers and "script kiddies".

Guide to Chkrootkit - checking for intruders
Chkrootkit is a powerful tool to scan your Linux server for trojans. We'll show you how to install it, scan your server and setup a daily automated scanning job that emails you the report.

Creating a Welcome message for SSH logins
Did you ever want to change or create a new login message antime someone logs into SSH? We'll show you how it's done.

Disable Direct Root Login
Allowing the root user to login directly is a major security issue, we'll show you how to disable it so you can still login as root but just not directly, reducing the security issue.

 

General Server Administration Tutorials:

How to install ffmpeg on CentOS or Redhat Enteprirse Linux the easy way (Using RPMs/yum)
Having trouble installing ffmpeg, then take a look at this article. This is the easy way to install ffmpeg on CentOS or RHEL and other RPM based systems.

How to install ffmpeg, ffmpeg-PHP, Mplayer, Mencoder, flv2tool, LAME MP3 Encoder, and Libog from source
A quick article on how to install these from source.

MySQL Redundancy and MySQL Replication
MySQL Redundancy is very hard, however there are a number of things which can be done to increase reliability and add levels of redundancy to MySQL

Avoiding Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS, DoS) Apache 1.3 and 2.0 Flood/DoS/DDoS Protection with mod_dosevasive
With the widespread infection of many computers with viruses, and the ever increasing number of Botnets, DoS and DDoS attacks can be quite frequent and can very easily bring a website to halt for days. This article provides a module solution for apache to help mitigate small http DoS and DDoS attacks.

Repairing a mySQL Database/Table - How to restore/repair/recover
From time to time mySQL databases can get corrupt, whether it due to lack of disk space, power failure, or just an error.

Tutorial/HOW-TO: Kernel 2.6 Compilation with Grsecurity (grsec) - 2.6.5, 2.6.7, 2.6.8, 2.8.1, 2.6.9, 2.6.10, 2.6.11.6
The following tutorial provide a basic tutorial on installing grsecurity on a linux 2.6 kernel, it is up to date as of kernel 2.6.10.

Redhat 7.3, 8.0, and 9.0 upgrade to CentOS 3 using yum
The following tutorial is intructions on upgrading from just about any Red Hat release (below Fedora) to CentOS. This tutorial is specifically dealing with Red Hat 9 and CentOS 3.4.

Upgrading CentOS 3.3 to 3.4 using yum
CentOS is a great alternative to the expensive Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3. CentOS is RHEL 3 built from source, and on all servers we are using it on at Crucial Paradigm we have found it very stable and a great OS to work with. The CentOS 3.4 release is the same as Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 Release 4 update.

wget tutorial
Need to download a file command line in Linux/UNIX? wget is the perfect utility for you. This tutorial gives a quick tutorial on how to install it on FreeBSD, as well as how to use it.

How to Copy Files Across a Network/Internet in UNIX/LINUX (Redhat, Debian, FreeBSD, etc) - scp tar rsync
One of the many advantages of Linux/UNIX is how many ways you can do one thing. This tuturial is going to show you some of the many ways you can ttransfer files over a network connection.

Fantastico Error: enc_restrictions.inc.php is protected by SourceGuardian and requires file ixed.lin.4.8.9.pxp, ixed.lin.4.8.8.pxp, ixed.lin.4.8.7.pxp, ixed.lin.4.x.x.pxp error
Are you receiving this error when trying to access fantastico? If you are this is the perfect tutorial to solve your problem.

UNIX Flavors (Distributions)
It seemed a simple enough topic, or so this web hosting novice thought. So I went through countless of sites in search of the answer and came up with a list of Web Hosting Operating Systems to choose from. Whereupon I concluded that there really wasn’t a system that would prove ‘best’ for all. It was, for the most part, simply a matter of needs, and of course, of preference, both from the web host’s and the web master’s points of view.

Linux Distributions
Who among us hasn’t heard of Linux yet? You know, that freely distributable ‘flavor’ of the Unix class of operating systems? Not a lot, probably. But do you all know that Linux comes in many distributions or ‘distros’ as the natives call it? Or, that, there are over a hundred of these ‘distros’ available online or otherwise?

Apache 2 PHP 4 and 5 (mod_php) on Linux - Apache2 PHP4 PHP5 Installation
This is a detailed tutorial on how to install PHP4 or PHP5 and Apache2 from source on almost any UNIX system. Its a great tutorial for both beginners and professionals.

Customizing PHP Safe Mode
We’ll guide you through using PHP safe_mode and how-to enable it and to customize it for certain sites on your server. When using PHP as an Apache module, you can also change the configuration settings using directives in Apache configuration files (e.g. httpd.conf) and .htaccess files. PHP safe_mode is very important to in terms of server security because it restricts and disables the dangerous functions in PHP from the scripts like PHP Shell that can otherwise cause damages to your server and client sites.

Installing Pico on FreeBSD
Pico is a simple, display-oriented text editor based on the Pine message system composer. As with Pine, commands are displayed at the bottom of the screen, and context-sensitive help is provided. As characters are typed they are immediately inserted into the text.

Turck MMCache for PHP
Turck MMCache is a free open source PHP accelerator, optimizer, encoder and dynamic content cache for PHP. It increases performance of PHP scripts by caching them in compiled state, so that the overhead of compiling is almost completely eliminated. Also it uses some optimizations to speed up execution of PHP scripts. Turck MMCache typically reduces server load and increases the speed of your PHP code by 1-10 times.

Apache 2 Install and Upgrade Guide
This Apache tutorial will guide you through upgrading or installing Apache 2x web server which ads all kinds of great new features from Apache 1.3x and security enhancements.

lingerd - Setup and Installation
Under high load, a dynamic page server running Apache with mod_php spends a lot of its time doing an operation called "lingering close", which amounts to waiting a second or two on a connection just to make sure it gets closed properly.

Howto mod_rewrite with Apache
Create search engine friendly URLs with Apache mod_rewrite which rewrites requested URLs on the fly. It supports an unlimited number of rules making it perfect for dynamic web sites.

Getting started with SSH Tutorial
The complete guide to learn how to connect to your server using SSH. Simple to follow instructions with screenshots so anyone can follow along.

How to install PRM (Process Resource Monitor)
PRM monitors the process table on a given system and matches process id's with set resource limits in the config file or per-process based rules. Process id's that match or exceed the set limits are logged and killed; includes e-mail alerts, kernel logging routine and more...

How to install ionCube loader
ionCube produces leading tools for PHP source code protection to secure your PHP software from prying eyes and to combat software piracy. Featuring an advanced compiled-code encoding engine that translates source to highly efficient bytecodes, ionCube encoding tools deliver the ideal combination of maximum source code protection without sacrificing performance, reliability or language compatibility.

Apache Log Files Explained
Apache log file analysis and apache log file configurations and examples with this excellent guide.

Server Loads Explained
Explaining what server loads really are and how to control them, how to watch loads and signs of server trouble.

Guide to .htaccess tutorial and tips
Apache's .htaccess is a great way to take control of your website by password protecting directories, creating custom error pages and controling user access.

Optimize and Tweak High-Traffic Servers
If you are reaching the limits of your server running Apache serving a lot of dynamic content, you can either spend thousands on new equipment or reduce bloat to increase your server capacity by anywhere from 2 to 10 times.

Common SSH Commands - Linux Shell Commands
An easy to follow guide of command commands in SSH or linux shell commands, with an explination of what they are used for and an example of their use.

Upgrade Guide From Red Hat 7.3 to 9.0
If you want to keep your server available for updates for another year then we suggest upgrading to Red Hat 9 through this tutorial.

Changing Web Hosts? Step-By-Step Guide
Every webmaster cringes at the thought of moving hosts. Like moving your home it can be messy and sometimes problems arise. But if you follow these simple steps, your move will be less painful.

 

Managed Servers vs. Unmanaged Servers

There are two types of dedicated servers available today: Managed Dedicated Servers and Unmanaged Dedicated Servers.

An Unmanaged Dedicated Server leaves nearly all the management duties of running a server in the purchaser’s control. The customer in this case, updates software on their own, applies necessary patches, performs kernel compiles and operating system restores, installs software, and monitors security. With this type of dedicated server, the consumer is solely responsible for day-to-day operations and maintenance. The service provider, in turn, monitors the network, repairs hardware problems, and troubleshoots connectivity issues. Additionally, some service providers offer partial management of services, such as network monitoring, software upgrades and other services, but leave the general upkeep of the server in the hands of the client. An unmanaged dedicated server is best for someone with server management experience.

A Managed Dedicated Server is generally more proactively monitored and maintained on the part of the service provider. When renting or leasing a managed server, the service provider or host carries out the responsibility of software updates and patches, putting security measures in place, performing hardware replacements, and also monitoring the network and its connection for trouble. In other words, when utilizing a managed dedicated server, the host provider will perform both hardware and software operations. A managed dedication server solution works well for the customer with limited server management experience or limited time in being able to perform the duties necessary to keep a server running and online.

Technical Aspects In Choosing A Server

When choosing a dedicated server, there are several things to consider: Operating System, Hardware options, Space and bandwidth.

The Operating System of a server is similar to that on your own personal computer; once installed, the operating system enables one to perform tasks more simply. There are a bevy of server operating systems available today including Linux-based and Windows-based software. The operating system you choose should be directly relational to what operations your server will be performing, which types of software you’ll need to install and also, what you’re more comfortable with. Some common operating systems used for hosting at present are Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), FreeBSD, Fedora (previously known as Red Hat Linux), Debian, and many other flavours of linux.Windows is not the most suitable platform for hosting due to its many security holes, and ease of unauthorized entry. There are several control panels which companies use for web hosting are: cPanel, Plesk, Ensim, and several others. A free alternative is Webmin, but not very easy to use when working with a large number of sites.

cPanel/WHM Tutorials:

How to Install Zend Optimizer/Encoder on cPanel/WHM
This simple tutorial provides instructions on installing Zend Optimizer/Encoder on Linux/UNIX for cPanel/WHM.

cPanel Awstats Fix - Stoped Logging on single domain
Having problems where awstats is not showing any results, this article shows how to fix it.

Fixing rndc error in WHM/cPanel: rnd: connection failed: connection refused
This tutorial provide instructions on how to fix rndc bind errors on cPanel.

Installing mod_bandwidth For the Ultimate in Apache Utilization Control
"Mod_bandwidth" is a module for the Apache webserver that enables the setting of server-wide or per connection bandwidth limits, based on the directory, size of files and remote IP/domain. Installing this module involves a number of steps, but it is fairly simple to accomplish.

Fix Log Rotation Problems cPanel
Since the beginning of time, cPanel has had logs that it simply does not rotate properly. Why this has been an ongoing problem that has never been fixed is beyond me, but it CAN be fixed and we'll go through what is needed to accomplish this.

Use Exiscan to Scan For Viruses
Most responsible system administrators have implemented some form of virus scanning of incoming email to protect their users from getting viruses and to help stem the flow of these resource stealing entities. If you are a cPanel administrator, then about your only option has been Mailscanner. There are a number of HOWTOs out there that have shown people how to install Mailscanner, but just recently we've been given a much more integrated and less resource intensive solution.

Change All Packages Themes in cPanel/WHM
Have you ever wanted to change all users’ package themes/skins from Tree to Xskin server wide without going through each package one at a time? We have a quick tutorial on how to change all user package themes in Cpanel.

Change All User Themes in cPanel/WHM
Have you ever wanted to change all users’ themes/skins from Tree to Xskin server wide without going through each user account one at a time? We have a quick tutorial on how to change all user  themes in Cpanel.

Official cPanel/WHM Newbies Tutorial
The Official Cpanel Newbie Guide dedicated to providing web hosting companies and beginners everything you need to start using your Cpanel web server. HOWTO: Cpanel and WHM Newbie Guide - what you need to get started!

Updating Apache Using cPanel/WHM Easy Apache
EasyApache is a pre configured script that allows you to easily update Apache Web server through WHM or SSH. In this tutorial we will show you how to update apache using SSH /scripts/easyapache.

Extended Exim Logging
What this addition does is it adds valuable logging information to your exim_mainlog file so that you can determine where messages are coming from, whos sending the message and from what directory on your server the user NOBODY is originating from, if you

Linux Apache ASP for cPanel/WHM
Apache::ASP provides an Active Server Pages port to the Apache Web Server with Perl scripting only, and enables developing of dynamic web applications with session management and embedded Perl code running on Linux systems.

How to Hide Bind cPanel/WHM
This quick tutorial shows you how to hide your bind version from anyone snooping on your machine.

Fix cPanel/WHM Quotas
Cpanel tutorial to fix Cpanel when the user quotas aren't reading properly or showing unlimited for all user accounts using /scripts/fixquotas

Disabling Password Reset Option cPanel/WHM
How to turn off the password reset option for failed logins to Cpanel.

Setting up Private Reseller Name Servers
Learn how to assign reseller accounts with their own private name servers such as ns1 and ns2 for their own clients in WHM.

Setting up DrWEB server anti-virus Linux cPanel/WHM
Setting up an antivirus scanner, DrWeb, on Cpanel servers.

Properly Reject Invalid Email
Set Exim to Properly Reject Invalid Email the right way and let your Cpanel server run a little easier.

Securing /tmp partition with cPanel/WHM
If you are renting a server then chances are you only have one big partition. Learn how to create a secure /tmp partition even while your server is already up and running.

Force Secure Login cPanel/WHM
Change /whm and /cpanel aliases to https making all logins encrypted and secure.

Default Index Page with New Accounts cPanel/WHM
With this addon clients will have a default index.html page when they visit their new account instead of a directory listing.

Modify Bandwidth Exceeded Page cPanel/WHM
Learn how to modify the CPanel bandwidth exceeded page when a clients site uses all their bandwidth up.

How to install Fantastico on cPanel/WHM
Learn how to install Fantastico on a new or existing cPanel/WHM server. This tutorial covers both FreeBSD and Linux installations.


Hardware Options are also something to consider when choosing a dedicated server. You’ll need to pick a processor that’s up to the task, the amount of memory you wish installed, firewall options, and the size of the hard drive. Celerons in general do not perform well when you start hosting several large powerful applications or web sites, Pentium 4's (P4's), perform much better as they also have a larger cache, Xeons on the other hand can perform much better, especially Dual Xeon processors. One should also take into consideration the AMD option, Dual (and single Opterons) have been shown to outperform Dual (or single) Xeons by a margin of 30% or more in some cases. These are quite often cheaper to purchase, so therefore a more suitable solution. When looking at hard disks, you should remember that all hard disks fail at some point or another so it is a necessity in a server environment to have off-site backups or onsite backups of some sort. Having a second mirrored (RAID-1) is a great solution. If you require fast access and high reliability and are willing to pay more it is a very good idea to go for SCSI, they have much lower Access Time and much lower failure rate.

A certain amount of bandwidth is generally included when renting or leasing a dedicated server. Once you ascertained how much bandwidth you will require, you can adjust that limit with your service provider. The space you’ll be given is generally directly relational to the size of your hard drive. Some hosts also give clients the choice of uplink port speed (usually 10Mbps/100Mbps but can go up to 1000Mbps). Bandwidth can be provided using the 95th percentile rule, or simply the via an alloted bandwidth (which is quite often around 1000GB/month).

Parts of there articles were provided by New Tutorials and Web Host Gear (http://www.webhostgear.com).

   
 

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