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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Questions about SSH

    I am running a Virtual Private Server (VPS) with my web host. Currently I have Plesk and it turns out that you can't do anything with it?!

    Someone told me that I need SSH in order to interact remotely with my Server and make changes to it.

    Is this true?


    Debbie

  2. #2
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    Again, noob alert here, but yes, that's basically the way to get things done on a server. I've recently had a try at using Terminal on the Mac, the native command line tool. It connects to the server by SSH (I believe). The commands are very weird and mystical, but it's unbelievable what you can do with it, and how easy it is. However, the language you have to use is tripple Dutch to me, so I am limited in what I can do to what instructions people give to me.

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    Hi,

    Plesk is a web utility for managing your VPS server - through this you can start/stop it etc.

    Through SSH you can connect to the terminal and that is where you can setup applications for web and email hosting, file hosting and so on. Do you need to setup a web server?


    notau

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    Certified Ethical Hacker silver trophybronze trophy dklynn's Avatar
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    DD,
    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    I am running a Virtual Private Server (VPS) with my web host. Currently I have Plesk and it turns out that you can't do anything with it?!


    Aw, that's just not true! Okay, I've been using WHM/cPanel for so long that I don't remember much about Plesk except that others have said that Plesk is the preferred tool for WinDoze boxes while WHM/cPanel is preferred for 'nix boxes. Since I won't host on a WinDoze box, I've learned what I need of WHM/cPanel.


    Someone told me that I need SSH in order to interact remotely with my Server and make changes to it.

    Is this true?


    I have a bridge I can sell you!

    Plesk (and WHM/cPanel) are TOOLS which assist you in performing tasks on the server whereas SSH is a protocol which can allow you to securely connect to your server to perform those tasks directly. IMHO, you have no business doing that (I KNOW I don't!) and should rely on Plesk (or your host's sysadmin staff) to make those changes.


    Debbie
    Regards,

    DK
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  5. #5
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    You can almost do everything in Plesk. Just to warn you, SSH is very difficult to jump into, also can be very risky if you don't know how to change things. But once you get the basic function and navigation down, it isn't to bad. Just before you start messing in SSH, make sure that you can not do it in Plesk.

  6. #6
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by dklynn View Post
    Plesk (and WHM/cPanel) are TOOLS which assist you in performing tasks on the server whereas SSH is a protocol which can allow you to securely connect to your server to perform those tasks directly. IMHO, you have no business doing that (I KNOW I don't!) and should rely on Plesk (or your host's sysadmin staff) to make those changes.
    I agree, but I've found that there are some things I can't do (don't have access to) via WHM/CPanel, so in those situations, using the command line is very handy (and necessary, it would seem) ... though I use it with great trepidation, for the reasons webexp mentioned.

    Recently, I moved from one host to another, and the only way I could find to moves the sites over was via SSH ... but it was amazingly quick and efficient. I've also had some problems with site permissions of late, and resetting them via the command line is unbelievably quick and easy ... so I'm really beginning to appreciate the power of this. There also seem to be certain Apache settings etc. that you can't change via WHM ... though that's all a very dark and murky are for me!

  7. #7
    Certified Ethical Hacker silver trophybronze trophy dklynn's Avatar
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    Ralph,

    I have Virtuosso under my WHM for when deeper tools are required - but I've not had a reason to resort to Virtuosso so I can't say that I have enough experience to be truly dangerous (yet).

    WHM has a very nice tool to move entire websites from one server to another (provided both are using WHM). As for permissions, I don't care for cPanel's File Manager and simply use FireZilla (FTP client) to alter those with ease. As for Apache settings, I recall that WHM does allow you to mess with parts (or the Apache2.conf?) and it's smartest to use WHM because the syntax should be correct.

    I agree, use the tools when available but have SSH in your back pocket when needed. It's always a case of the best tool for the job (which can be dependent upon which an individual is most familiar with).

    Regards,

    DK
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  8. #8
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by dklynn View Post
    As for permissions ...
    Yes, I made a mistake there. I also use the ftp program to set those. I meant "ownership", whatever that is. (I recently had troubles due to "ownership" issues after moving the sites ... such as not being able to delete certain files/folders on my host—via CPanel or the FTP client. Only way I could find to fix it was via command line.)

    WHM has a very nice tool to move entire websites from one server to another (provided both are using WHM).
    Hm, I read for weeks on the issue, and trawled the CPanel forums, but didn't find anything like this—or at least something I could understand. O well!

  9. #9
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    It depends on who you ask and what you're using you're using your server for really. I know my way around the command line pretty well (at least in Debian/Ubuntu and CentOS) and if I were to set up a dedicated server for just a few sites I'd do that without any panel (like cPanel/Direct Admin/etc). For servers that need tosupport multiple websites, which may come and go as they please it's a lot more convenient to have a panel.

    The reason I wouldn't want to use a panel for a single website server is because I can configure everything to my desire without it, and the panel doesn't add anything for me, except maybe another thing that can be hacked.

    Then again, it's not a good idea to use the command line if you don't know what you're doing as it's way too easy to screw stuff up. Trust me, I've been there
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast ideamine's Avatar
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    Hi Debbie,

    Plesk is a leading Server Control panel. Using Plesk you can manage your server very easily. SSH access requires some sort of *nix and command knowledge . Default port for SSH is 22 but for security reason it is good to change SSH port to any other than 22. For SSH, you can either use password based authentication or key based.

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    Certified Ethical Hacker silver trophybronze trophy dklynn's Avatar
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    ideamine,

    nmap can find the port in use for SSH so "hiding the port" is of little value. Do NOT rely on that!

    The answers above about using the correct tool for the job stands.

    Regards,

    DK
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  12. #12
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    Seriously people. Put your servers behind firewalls with VPNs. Barriers to entry are good.

  13. #13
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by wwb_99 View Post
    Seriously people. Put your servers behind firewalls with VPNs. Barriers to entry are good.
    Sounds good, but I have no idea what it means.

    (PS: I did look up "VPN" beofre making this fluff post ... but it was a bit over my head.)

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dklynn View Post
    Aw, that's just not true! Okay, I've been using WHM/cPanel for so long that I don't remember much about Plesk except that others have said that Plesk is the preferred tool for WinDoze boxes while WHM/cPanel is preferred for 'nix boxes. Since I won't host on a WinDoze box, I've learned what I need of WHM/cPanel.
    The way my Plesk is set up with GoDaddy, the above statement IS true.


    Quote Originally Posted by doubledee
    Someone told me that I need SSH in order to interact remotely with my Server and make changes to it.

    Is this true?
    Quote Originally Posted by dklynn
    I have a bridge I can sell you!

    Plesk (and WHM/cPanel) are TOOLS which assist you in performing tasks on the server whereas SSH is a protocol which can allow you to securely connect to your server to perform those tasks directly.
    I meant an SSH Client using SSH


    IMHO, you have no business doing that (I KNOW I don't!) and should rely on Plesk (or your host's sysadmin staff) to make those changes.

    Debbie
    Well, let's be realistic here and you tell me what my options are...

    - I am running a website that is also technically an e-commerce site, but I have no visitors
    - I built the site myself (and with LOTS of help from the awesome people on SitePoint!!!)
    - I have a VPS with GoDaddy
    - Some have said it is safer to run an e-commerce site on a Shared Host than on a VPS (but I don't believe them)
    - I don't have any real-world friends who are System Administrators
    - I have little to no $$$
    - GoDaddy charges $100/hour and you don't get much for that. Need an SSL installed? It might take 5-10 minutes, but will cost you at least $50!!
    - Even if I could find a System Administrator on-the-cheap I would be VERY SKEPTICAL of trusting someone from online
    - To have a world-class site, I need much more control than a Shared Plan at GoDaddy will offer
    - I do NOT have $1,000/month to pay for a Managed Server with Rackspace (Besides, from my research, they don't manage a whole hell of a lot?!)
    - The IT market and Job market are still abysmal in the U.S.
    - If I don't get my own business going then I'll never get back on my feet and out-of-debt (My contract just ended because the project I was on was over-budget, and they were out-of-money even though they liked me. So I am unemployed AGAIN.)


    Is trying to learn to be my own Linux System Administrator a gigantic undertaking and goal?! YES!!!!

    (But based on what I've said, you tell me what other options I have?!)



    If I look back at all I have learned about HTML, CSS, and PHP in the past 12 months I think it is impressive.

    Now I realize that Sever Administration can do much more damage than HTML, CSS, or even PHP but if millions of others do it reasonably well, then why can't I??

    Besides, I still subscribe to the rule that "80-90% of the Problems/Challenges can be Solved by 10-20% of the Tools/Approaches/Knowledge". (So far it has applied to HTML, CSS, PHP, and Web Security, and it is my hope that it can apply to my Linux VPS.)

    So THAT is where I am coming from and the true motivation behind this thread...

    Thanks,


    Debbie

  15. #15
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    Some have said it is safer to run an e-commerce site on a Shared Host than on a VPS
    That's weird. It may be cheaper, but not better.

    I do NOT have $1,000/month to pay for a Managed Server with Rackspace (Besides, from my research, they don't manage a whole hell of a lot?!)
    There are much more affordable managed VPS offerings in the US (for which I am very envious). Like $15-20 per month.

    But yes, there doesn't seem to be much "management" about a managed server ... but it's nice not to have to worry about what's happening in the background.

    I meant an SSH Client using SSH
    For which you can use Terminal on the Mac, as mentioned in post #2.

  16. #16
    Certified Ethical Hacker silver trophybronze trophy dklynn's Avatar
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    DD - see PM.

    Regards,

    DK
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    Sounds good, but I have no idea what it means.

    (PS: I did look up "VPN" beofre making this fluff post ... but it was a bit over my head.)
    Yeah, it is funny how little lots of good web people know about real network security. I have never, ever run a public-facing web server without having it behind a firewall only allowing the traffic we want through. Now, that makes it tricky to manage which is where the VPN comes in. A Virtual Private Network allows users to authenticate in some manner and then effectively places that user on the LAN side of that firewall, presumably with access to the stuff you aren't exposing to the public.

    @DD -- security costs money or requires expertise. Perhaps some cost-effective expertise in your case would be a third party code review and security review to see if there are any eggregious flaws that you weren't aware of. This won't be free but it will not cost $1000 a month.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wwb_99 View Post
    @DD -- security costs money or requires expertise. Perhaps some cost-effective expertise in your case would be a third party code review and security review to see if there are any eggregious flaws that you weren't aware of. This won't be free but it will not cost $1000 a month.
    Well, my Payment Gateway and Payment Processor expect me to pay for "Security testing" or whatever it is called.

    After I install Release #2 and get all of the obvious kinks out, I'll have to d that and see how I come out?!


    Debbie


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