VPS for OpenSim, Part 2: Houston, we have contact!

I hope you had a good nights sleep since reading part 1 of this serie of blog posts. I also hope you had the time to look at some of the offers out there. Maybe you even decided to try this out for your self and did make an order for your own VPS. If so you should have received a letter looking like this one below:

Please note that i have done some editing of the facts in the letter and also removed some irrelevant information. I really don’t want to invite the nasty people out there to play any of their dirty tricks… they can play with themselves ;o)

So now you are sitting in front of your screen and keyboard and knows that through the Internet your are connected to a VPS provider somewhere on the planet. Mine are in Paris and in Seattle. How do we get in contact with that server and how do we “persuade” to behave the way we want. As always there are different methods but I have chosen a mix that is relatively easy and that only uses the already built in tools in the Ubuntu Linux server already installed on my VPS. There are 4 methods of communicating with the server.

1. SSH Terminal. SSH = Secure Shell, is a text only safe protocol that let you pretend you are sitting in front of the VPS terminal window. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Shell

2. VPS control panel. This is the web tool from the VPS provider that gives you the possibility to restart your VPS, view statistics, change settings and even reinstall the operation system of your choice.

3. FTP. FTP =  File Transfer Protocol, is a protocol for handling transfer of files and directories between your desktop and the VPS. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FTP

4. Viewer. When everything is setup correctly you will of course be able to connect to your OpenSIM with Imprudence, Singularity or any other viewer of your choice… but not yet…lol

The tools needed for these 4 methods of communication with the server are all available as open source tools. In some operating systems they are included (like Mac OSX och Linux) and in Windows you have to download them that i will provide links to.

Lets start with the most easy way to connect. Look at the letter above and spot the link to the VPS Control Panel (CP). Just click on that and use the login name and password provided. Depending on what brand of CP (mine is a low cost version based on SolusVM http://www.solusvm.com/) you might get something like this:

Just click on the hostname in the middle or use the drop down menu to the left and select your server and you should get something like this:

Don’t do anything here yet! We will examine this CP later and use it to some extent but for now just look at what the possibilities are and log out again. Maybe you will observe that there is no tools here for installing anything else but the operating system. That is where the next tool comes handy!

That is the SSH terminal. On Windows there is a simple and free tool is called Putty and you download it from http://the.earth.li/~sgtatham/putty/latest/x86/putty.exe. if you are on a Linux desktop you will get it in the terminal by: sudo apt-get install putty

My desktops is either Linux or OSX and I only run Windows as a virtual machine on them, but that way I can at least show you what Putty looks like on Windows XP. Later on I will only use snapshots from OSX, but then you will know the difference. When you start Putty on windows it looks like this:

Right, totally boring, just a form to fill in with a lot of confusing stuff. Now look at the letter you got from your VPS provider and search for the SSH specification. Did you find the IP- address? Well this is the only thing you need to fill in this form at the marked field and press <Enter>.

Bang! Up jumps a scary warning sign. Remember I told you SSH = Secure Shell and it will not let you connect to any unsecured source. So for every host you try to connect to you will get this warning sign that you have to approve. If you say it is safe to connect SSH will create a fingerprint of that and remember your decision until the next time. So if you trust me… just click Yes.

Now your VPS will respond and ask who you are. Login as root and with the password you find in the email from your VPS provider. Root is a kind of super user with top rights on a Linux computer, and must be used for some of the tasks we will do tomorrow.

Well nothing dramatic really happens, but please don’t be disappointed… you are just presented with the prompt from your VPS. It just says “root: At your service, please give me your commands:”  But this is the first important step! We have started Putty at our desktop computer and connected to the VPS server somewhere else in the world and logged in there. If you just want to see that the VPS is alive you can type this command:

ps -lax <enter>  and you will be presented with a list of what is going on in your  VPS at just this moment. I know… it looks like gibberish…  ;o)  Never mind, your server is there and it obeys you…

Now just type logout <Enter> and you will return back safely to your desktop computer.

On Mac OSX it is of course a lot easier as a SSH-enabled terminal is already installed on every computer. Just open the terminal and type:

ssh -l root xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx   (where the xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx should be replaced with the IP number you have in the email). Log in the same way as from Putty on Windows and don’t forget to logout as well.

So to sum this up! Today we have looked at two of the ways to connect to the VPS but still have not done anything useful. Well don’t be impatient, these preparations will come handy when things are exploding tomorrow!

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  • vps,windows vps, vps hosting  On April 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm

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