The growing shift towards establishing online presence has escalated the demand for VPS solutions. VPS hosting solutions are more sought after because of the advantages they have over the other server hosting platforms. They cater to a larger number of server efficiently and at amazingly affordable prices.

In lieu of this, we will walk you through how to use a VPS, control and utilize it. Let's begin.

Finding a VPS Provider

The internet is a good place as any to find your preferred VPS provider. A cursory search should easily reveal the popular VPS providers in your location. As you may have surmised, however, selecting one will require a bit of knowledge and shrewdness on your part.

Popular VPS providers like Hostinger, GoDaddy, AWS, Digital Ocean, etc., spend a lot on online advertising to get you onboard. However, the onus is on you to gauge your needs and sift the great deals in all that marketing noise.

Selecting a VPS plan.

Common features to look out for in a VPS plan relative to your web app needs are CPU, RAM, Disk Space, Bandwidth, and more. They are explained below:

  • CPU – The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is concerned with how much work your VPS host can complete in seconds (CPU core) and how often (CPU clock rate). Higher indices on these parameters translate to fast performance on your VPS.
  • RAM Your VPS RAM (Random Access Memory), often measured in Gigabytes (GB), is non-volatile temporary memory storage. It carries out computing operations in real-time. The more RAM, the likelihood there is for your VPS to run multiple memory-intensive processes simultaneously successfully.
  • Disk Space The disk size on a VPS is for permanent storage via HDD or SSD devices of files, media, and pages to make your web app function properly. It comes in sizes of a minimum of 8GBand above. In selecting disk size, you'd have to anticipate usage based on your type of web app's common needs.
  • Bandwidth - The bandwidth of a VPS is typically expressed in Megabytes or Gigabytes per second (Mbps or Gbps). It is the maximum possible data packet simultaneously transmitted and received between the server and browser. Higher bandwidth values will translate to blazing-fast engagement with your content. Some VPS providers will offer "unlimited bandwidth," which is an estimated bandwidth that's so high you possibly cannot exhaust it.
  • Operating System - Many VPS providers offer both Windows and Linux OS on their VPS plans. It is common knowledge that Linux VPS instances require fewer resources and cost to maintain compared to that of Windows. So this can guide your eventual choice.
  • Location For strategic and personal reasons, you may prefer your VPS be launched from a specific location. Many VPS providers acknowledge this preference and so have ensured this service is available. These locations usually have different price options, though.
  • Uptime For most VPS providers, you may expect uptime to be approximately 100% in much the same way you’d expect a bank’s ATM to be functional 247.
  • Email Some form of promotion is usually offered for Email hosting, be it price reduction or price waiver on the number of accounts created, free SPAM protection, etc.
  • Domain - Some form of promotion is usually offered for domain purchase, be it price reduction or price waiver on several domains purchase, free SSL cert issuance, free re-direct implementation, etc.
  • Scalability Many VPS providers have an architecture that offers easy migration from one server to a higher capacity one.Hence, you pay for a small architecture that's affordable at the start of your business and upgrade as it expands.
  • CybersecurityVPS providers have architecture and configurations to discourage unauthorized access – security groups, whitelisting of IP addresses, PEM and SSH keys, username, and passwords; and outright malicious attacks anti-DDoS.
  • Technical Support - Should you run into any difficulty, customer support varies from human support to automated ones.
  • Intuitive Dashboard Intuitive dashboards are provided to navigate and easily get things done, including setup.

After selecting your preferred features and launching the VPS, setup is next.

VPS Setup.

Even though a dashboard is provided to view VPS info and tweak settings, it may not directly apply to the server. Typically, it is expected that you login first before attempting any installations or configuration changes in-server.

You can log in to the server with the provided username and password via a Cpanel dashboard; however, it is more common to login via SSH using PuTTY (Windows client) or Terminal (Linux client).

  • Login PuTTY/Terminal

Install PuTTY on your windows client, launch it, input public IP address and 22 in port, select SSH, and open. A command window opens where you input the assigned username, press enter and password, and then enter. Voila!

You are logged in.

Suppose given a PEM key – called "vpskey.pem", you will need to convert it to .ppk format usingPuTTYgen before attempting to log in using the above process.

To login via Terminal on your Linux client, first, generate one-time authorized ssh keys via if you haven't done so:

hero@Rodeo:~$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 2048

(and input desired passphrase or leave blank, press enter to complete the process)

If a PEM key – vpskey.pem, download and move it to ~/.ssh folder where you will need to give it the rightpermission to work:

hero@Rodeo:~$ mv ~/Downloads/vpskey.pem ~/.ssh
hero@Rodeo:~$sudo chmod 600~/.ssh/vpskey.pem

and then login with below command:

hero@Rodeo:~$ ssh -i ~/.ssh/vpskey.pemusername@ipaddress

However, if you have already been given a login username and password, then input the following SSH command to login:

hero@Rodeo:~$ssh username@ipaddress

When logged in, you can change the password and enable password login:

username@ipaddress:~$sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

(change PasswordAuthentication to yes, ctrl x, then y to save)

username@ipaddress:~$ sudo passwd username

(input desired password twice and press enter)

Now, you can log in via ssh from any approved machine with the right username and password. This is being shrewd, especially if more than one person in your Team will need to access the server, and you do not want to give out your unique one-time PEM or SSH key.

  • Update, Upgrade, Reboot VPS host

Please refer to Nginx Doc for a command to update, upgrade then reboot before continuing with adding a new user.

  • Create New User and Privileges (optional)

Creating a new user and accompanying privileges can be accomplished with two commands:

username@ipaddress:~$ sudo adduser username
username@ipaddress:~$ sudo usermod -aG sudo username
  • Install Web Server (Nginx or Apache)

A web server exposes the website's content on the VPS host. You can opt for Nginx or Apache web servers.Please refer to Nginx Doc for a command to install nginx, open firewall and restart it,

username@ipaddress:~$echo "fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME \
\$document_root\$fastcgi_script_name;" \
| sudo tee --append /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params > /dev/null

Visit your web browser and input your public IP address, i.e., http://ipadress, press enter to display Nginx Homepage. Your server is now live.

  • Domain

A domain, e.g., ".com" or “.mobi” is a unique string that is part of a URL and is indicative of a type of service, e.g., commerce, mobile products, respectively. A Universal Resource Locator (URL) is a complete internet address and is tied to a specific website and usually comprises a name and a domain, e.g., www.upbeatapps.mobi. You will be required to purchase the domain in which you get to choose what the URL(s) would become.

  • IP Address

On purchasing your domain, you will have to point it to your VPS host's public IP address.This can be achieved on the DNS dashboard.

  • DNS

On the Domain Name Service (DNS) is where you assign purchased domain name to the public IP address of your VPS Host. It’s available on your dashboard.

  • A Record

This field is where you put the ipv4 address, e.g., 10.18.9.40, and the domain name beside it.The IP address will link to your domain.

  • CNAME Record

In this field, you enter in your subdomain, e.g., www.vpshow2.com, newsletter.vpshow2.com e.t.c

  • Update Nginx Config

A web server exposes the content of the website on the VPS host. You can opt for Nginx or Apache web servers. To install Nginx (open source) web server, you may use the following steps:

username@ipaddress:~ sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/default
replace server_name: _; WITH server_name: URL;
username@ipaddress:~$ sudo systemclt restart Nginx

Visit your web browser and input your URL, i.e., http://URL, press enter to display Nginx Homepage.Your purchased domain name is now live.

How to control your VPS

Depending on your client, you can use Microsoft Remote Desktop (MRDP) or NVDA for windows,cmd/terminal for Linux to remotely control your VPS. If you prefer browser-based control, the default dashboard for most VPS providers, which often is Cpanel, comes in handy to give you system and power control.

A free browser-based control panel would be VestaCP, which can be installed on your VPS host using commands via link:VestaCP Documentation.

If a mobile connection is your preferred conduit, SSH client apps are on Android and App store to assist. These tools will ensure you can monitor the performance and health metrics of your VPS wherever you are and on any device.

What can I do with my VPS?

There are multiple ways your VPS can return value for money, and a few are outlined below:

  • Web Hosting The most common use of VPS is Web hosting. You can keep web files or information in your VPS and make them accessible over the internet via aURL to your website.
  • Mail Server A popular service in high demand is hosted email. With a VPS, one can conserve funds on outsourcing to providers and self-host email services.
  • VoIP chats An example of VoIP on VPS is gaming forums, which now have Voice over internet services where chats can be held over video. You can offer the service to the gaming community at a monthly subscription. Afree application that does this Mumble and is easy on your VP
  • Online bets/gaming From Sports betting came online virtual games hosted on VPS plans. The popularity of this form of relaxation has jumped up what with more people staying and working from home on account of the covid-19 pandemic. Everything, from poker, slots, electronic soccer, basketball, can be done with the VPS.
  • VPN Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are in demand because of increased snooping by government and security contractors in people’s private lives. This is done for security and state control, data mining and selling of customer data for profit by big tech giants like Google. Using your VPS to offer VPN services is a good way to receive value for money.
  • Remote connection via GUI Your VPS can be used to offer dashboard solutions for remote connection to other VPS. But this does not come free just like Cpanel GUIor Xfce desktop environment(Ubuntu users) but with TightVNC Server functionality.
  • Backup/Storage Server Services like Google Drive, 4shared, Dropbox offer Storage options for a fee to Customers. The usefulness of the service is in storing Customer data securely. As it's a free market, one can leverage the use of VPS to offer this feature.
  • IoT The Internet of Things is the anticipation of all facets of human life driven by AI and automation. For example, they may choose to run all the microservices from secure VPS to avoid hacking and data mining of information like ambulatory schedules, home temperature, and energy consumption for those who own smart home.
  • Social Causes You can use your VPS to give back to the community, especially for social causes like the BLM, Feminism and Women's rights, Institutional Racism, Climate Change, the Covid-19 pandemic, child trafficking, and other sexual offenses, as well as other important discussions of our time.

Conclusion

The VPS and its varied uses have been described in this piece in a near exhaustive manner. It is good value for money and you should get one. Let this be the nudge that spurs you to get one today!

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