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Basic Management and Updating of VPS

Posted on 2011-09-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I inherited about two years ago a reseller account on a VPS (overseas network admin vanished).

I've been using it, learning as I go, the basics of setting up and managing accounts (I have approximately 12 virtually hosted accounts under it now (ie different domains) with some domains having a few sub-domains under them.  I run mostly Joomla 1.5 and now 1.7 sites on those accounts.

I have full (shell) access on the account.

At present, this VPS is running:

cPanel 11.24.5-R38506 - WHM 11.24.2 - X3.9
CENTOS 5.3 i686 virtuozzo on vps

I'm looking for some help on what basic maintenance and upgrade tasks I should be doing (for example, updating cPanel and WHM versions, updating PHP and MySQL versions, cleaning caches, shutting down and restarting services to 'freshen' things up, etc..  Also would like some hints as to which logs are typically monitored, why and how.

I realize this is a broad question but there must be some basic approaches to this.

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Question by:qeng
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by:crazedsanity
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This really is about basic administration of a server, isn't it?  For all intents and purposes, it doesn't really matter whether this is a virtual or physical machine: physical access is unavailable, so any sort up OS upgrade that requires console access may be unavailable.

CentOS 5.3 appears to be pretty old and unsupported, upgrading to 5.7 or 6.0 would be a far better option than trying to upgrade individual packages.  For that, I would suggest getting another server setup that has the new OS and scheduling migration to it; moving a PHP app from an old version to a newer version can be painful if not nearly impossible, so upgrading on the production server could easily lead to a nervous breakdown or other sorts of breaks from reality.

As a note: I have found that Debian-based servers (e.g. Debian 6, Ubuntu Server 10.04) are much easier to administer.  Updates, application installs, and pretty other things all can be performed on the command line using apt (e.g. "apt-get install <package>", "apt-get upgrade").
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by:crazedsanity
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Good things to know in regard to system administration: http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/top-linux-monitoring-tools.html
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by:qeng
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Thx for following me into this post.

 I'll start my digging and be back here for some guidance.
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by:LinuxGuru
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Regarding your questions,

I would recommend you to hire a cPanel Expert to do the basic maintenance on your system.

OR

You can perform the following steps. (Please note that I am just trying to give you an idea)

To update cPanel / WHM you can use the following script.

/scripts/upcp --force

To update PHP/Apache

/scripts/easyapache  (Please note that there are a variety of options available while upgrading php / apache. If you are not sure, please dont run the script as it will break all your websites. Please consult an expert before performing this steps)

Upgrade MySQL:

Its really not necessary to upgrade mysql each time because it may affect your existing databases. But f you require any particular version you can upgrade using WebHost Manager (WHM) via the following menu path:

WHM: Main >> Software >> MySQL Upgrade

Make sure to backup your database before performing mysql upgrade.

To shutdown/restart services you may use the following scripts or commands.

Apache: service httpd restart or /scripts/restartsrv_httpd
Exim mail server: service exim restart or /scripts/restartsrv_exim
MySQL: service mysql restart or /scripts/restartsrv_mysql

More services that can be restarted are located at /scripts/restartsrv_

Regarding the logs:

Apache logs can be monitored using the following command:

"tail -f /usr/local/apache/logs/error_log"

For old logs use "tail  -1000 /usr/local/apache/logs/error_log "

Exim Mail server log: "tail -f /var/log/exim_mainlog"

To check messages for a particular domain use " grep domainname /var/log/exim_mainlog"

FTP Logs: "tail -f /var/log/messages"

MySQL log: "tail -f /var/lib/mysql/hostname.err"

Hope above information is helpful.

Cheers !!!
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Also if there is a hack attempt, you should check the apache domlogs at the following location.

/usr/local/apache/domlogs/domainname
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