Setting up some of these tools in your PC is a comfort while accessing and managing your VPS (Virtual Private Server). This is an attempt to let you know it earlier before you draw wrong conclusion that managing VPS is an impossible task! For this post, I assume you are a complete novice entering into the VPS and Linux world very recently. I hope it will help you to be aware of the tools you need to manage and monitor your VPS remotely.
VPS & the PC tools I use to Manage VPS?
To host your blogs, having your own VPS offers some enticing benefits over the hindrances in shared hosting (see Why I switched from HostGator shared account to DigitalOcean VPS). Economical, Total control over your blog, flexibility and scalability, dedicated IP address (free from bad neighborhood) are some of the startling benefits you can’t ignore.
What really is this VPS?
VPS shouldn’t be a strange term to you. If it’s still a new, let me explain it simple and brief.
A large dedicated server (powerful hardware and services) is divided up into smaller instances called virtual private servers (VPS) which are sometimes referred to as virtual machines. Each of these individual servers acts and behaves exactly like a dedicated server with a fixed allocation of hardware resources including RAM, CPU and Disk Space. Thus it is something like you got an internet server that you can deploy to host your blog or any other internet service.
Two kind of VPS that are available for you to buy are managed VPS and unmanaged VPS.
Both these kinds are same in respect to the available hardware resources and performance possibilities, but managed web hosting services take the complex server administration duties out of your hands. The responsibility for keeping your managed VPS online and working is with your web hosting provider. On the contrary, for unmanaged VPS, you’ll be sole responsible to set up, configure and manage your server.
Quality managed VPS can offer you a painless process to configure your web presence, but you’ll need to spend more money. If you are somebody like me who is interested to learn to configure and manage the server rather than paying extra money every month, unmanaged VPS is what you’ll go for.
Where can I buy unmanaged VPS and How much they cost?
Well, there are many good providers and ONE query to Google will produce the extended list. However I can recommend DigitalOcean because I’m using and happy with its machines. Customer reviews prove Linode as another cloud VPS provider you can rely on.
To talk about the price, it may vary based on the RAM, Disk Space and Core Processors you choose. The lowest plan in DigitalOcean is of $5/month and in Linode, it is $10/month. This account is comfortably sufficient to host a couple of blogs.
Tools to manage my DigitalOcean VPS
Getting an account in DigitalOcean is effortless.
- Click here to visit DigitalOcean
- Simply supply your name and email address
- Activate your account by clicking a link in email. That’s all!
Creating a VPS instance (DigitalOcean calls it a droplet) is instantaneous:
- Click on Create Droplet button
- Name your droplet (anything you think is awesome), select region and image
- Click Create. The droplet is ready in less than 55 seconds.
You got a virtual machine running for you with the settings you selected. Now what?
Once you got a machine with an operating system, you can march forward to install your required software (web server, database management, WordPress and so on), configure it for optimal performance. But how? How to access your virtual machine and instruct it to do what you need? You’ll need some tools to install in your PC.
DigitalOcean has a web based Console Access (see below) which is useful for quick and small set ups but it’s wise to install following applications in your PC that will ease the process of installing and configuring your VPS.
PuTTY is a free and open-source application that can be used as terminal emulator, serial console and for network file transfer. It supports several network protocols, including SCP, SSH, Telnet, rlogin, and raw socket connection. (Don’t get scared if you find these terms sounding aliens. They’ll be more friendly soon!)
We can generally use Telnet and SSH to connect to our server. Between two tools you should use SSH as it is supported in PuTTy and provides for a “Secure Shell”, encrypting information before it is transferred. This way, it is harder for others to intercept passwords and other private information than if you were to just use Telnet.
Visit the following link to download PuTTy
This is another useful application to manage VPS. For Windows users, WinSCP is a freeware client for the SCP (secure copy protocol), a way to transfer files across the network using the ssh (secure shell) encrypted protocol. It replaces other FTP programs on windows clients in cases where SSH is needed to connect to the server. Beyond this, WinSCP offers scripting and basic file manager functionality.
Bitvise SSH Client (Tunnelier) is a small SSH client, which is an alternative to well known Putty. Usually SSH client is used interactively, so it will only run when a user runs it. But it’s also possible to launch unattended session and run scripted commands or file transfers. It’s also possible to maintain an SSH connection for port forwarding. The Bitwise SSH client is used to access a terminal console on an SSH server where it’s possible to initiate port forwarding or to initiate file transfers to and from SSH servers using SFTP.
SSH Secure Shell Client
The SSH Secure Shell Client is a client for secure, encrypted communication, including file transfer, across networks. You can use it to connect to any server that supports the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol, such as Ruby and Isis . This is very close alternate to PuTTy.
Well, there are many others like SecPanel, Private Shell, Terra Term and so on. Also, for the linux users, please note that you can directly connect to your VPS using Terminal – simply issue ‘ssh username@server -p portNumber’.
DigitalOcean web based Console Access
DigitalOcean provides a web based console access to reach your droplet in case your client applications fail or you don’t have them but require a few commands to execute immediately. To access your droplet through Console Access:
- Log in to your DigitalOcean Access account
- Click the required droplet to open it
- Click on Console Access button on top right
This will open a console in DigitalOcean site. You can issue console commands from here.
Among these tools, I use PuTTy and WinSCP very often. I suggest you to get these software installed in your PC too! We’ll keep on discussing more on ‘How to host a WordPress blog with VPS’. So, stay tuned!