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  • Hi,

    I have several MODx domains on shared hostings.
    I'm looking in the direction of a small VPS like those from Vultr and DigitalOcean as this would allow lower web hosting costs, more freedom with packages that I want to use and possibly better speeds as the websites would not be hosted together with ressource hungry ones.

    However, I wonder how much time is required by the system admin tasks.
    I'm a regular user of Linux and I'm not scared about the console line.
    I also have some experience from Apache administration.
    However, I remember that operating a web server like Apache is not that easy when not done on an almost daily basis.

    The learning curve to install things like Apache, PHP, MySQL and RoundCube doesn't scare me too much as there are tutorials and taking time is worth if things were installed "once and for all".

    But what about maintenance and security?
    As there are regular upgrades of PHP and many softwares, how time consuming are these tasks?
    Do simple commands like "apt-get upgrade" suffice or will I need to fully reinstall/migrate the server when new versions of Apache / PHP / MySQL / PostgreSQL are published?

    Another fear I have is how can it be stressful when things go wrong.
    Should I use a low cost rescue web hosting together with a failover service?

    Has someone on the forum any experience with such VPS hosting and could he tell approximately how long does the first setup last and how much time per week or month is required for maintenance?

    Thank you very much.
    • Quote from: Jul at Aug 20, 2016, 12:04 PM
      Has someone on the forum any experience with such VPS hosting and could he tell approximately how long does the first setup last and how much time per week or month is required for maintenance?

      I have experience and think cPanel is still indespensable in cloud VPS scenario with 10+ domains - worth 10-15€ monthly for automated backups, security upgrades (CSF/LFD), monitoring (Munin), DNS handling, whole e-mailing stack configuration etc. Added bonus is seamless initial account migration from shared hosting.
      • It sounds like you're trying to do something like host one website per server, is this correct? So a small site gets a cheaper server while the larger site gets a more expensive server?

        If you go this route, the control panel is not as convenient as you might think. Instead of a single WHM to manage all the sites, you'd just have dozens of individual cPanels to log in to one by one.

        If you want a VPS with a control panel most like WHM but without the cost, then I would recommend CentOS Web Panel: http://centos-webpanel.com/. This one has a master admin login but then each account can have a more limited login for your clients.

        If you want multiple servers but control them from one interface, you might look in to Webmin. This is a popular server management panel but it has the ability to link multiple servers together. http://www.webmin.com/virtualmin.html

        Another nice panel I use for hosting multiple sites on one server is Vesta Control Panel. This one can have a master account and subaccounts for clients but you'll be hosting many sites on one server, or just one site, doesn't matter.

        My opinion:

        CentOS Web Panel: This has a ton of options, it's very similar to WHM/cPanel but it takes over the server, and you'll want to run it on CentOS most likely. Almost all server management will be in the panel, and it may move libraries and config files to non-standard locations.

        Webmin: This panel has an aged interface, but there is a nice theme called "Authentic Theme" that you'll want to install, it's pretty nice. This panel has many more features designed to administer a server, rather that just a web server. For example you can schedule arbitrary shell commands to run, or read logs, set up NFS or iSCSI or manage LVM partitions, do package updates, and much much more. It can also deal with web serving and virtual hosts and stuff, but that is not it's main focus. It is a general server admin panel that can do a lot of things and be expanded with modules.
        One thing I like about Webmin is that all the modules/libraries/programs typically install to their normal locations. You can edit config files and work in the system without harming the panel.
        As mentiond earlier, Webmin can be clustered with multiple servers, though I haven't played with this feature, it might be just what you are looking for.

        Vesta: This panel is minimalist and clean. It is mostly for controlling virtual hosts, databases, cron jobs, DNS, backups, etc. It can self-update and you can create "packages" for different virtual host configurations, with limited user logins. I tend to use this panel on all my "play" servers because it's just easy, clean, installs fast, it just works. And similar to Webmin, you can usually administer things in the file system without hurting the panel.


        So use CentOS if you want a type of WHM/cPanel clone. Use Webmin if you want a full server-administration panel. Use Vesta if you want a simpler panel for hosting a single website or just a few but want to do more server-admin stuff manually.

        Additionally, I think VULTR has a couple benefits that still put it ahead of DigitalOcean. And I would also recommend looking in to UpCloud. UpCloud could potentially perform better than both, but they have limited locations. Their only US-based location is Chicago. I haven't tried them yet.

        Good luck!
        • Thank you for sharing your experience.

          In fact, most sites that I plan to host are mine, as well as those of a few old and faithful clients.
          So, I have no need for one website per server, but only one server with multiple websites and databases.

          Basically, a multi sites shared hosting does the job, but I would appreciate more freedom, especially the ability to choose which PostgreSQL version to install, as well as the possibility to install non-web softwares.
          Hence the VPS.

          Most of my customers have casual edition needs and most of them only use the MODx editor and have no idea about phpMyAdmin and such tools.
          However it's perfect if they can have a more limited access like the one you mentioned for CentOS Web Panel, for instance to set an autoresponder when they go on holiday.

          Although I'm familiar with CentOS/Debian/Ubuntu and other distros, I hoped using Debian rather than CentOS, as it's easier to find recent binaries, also for non web softwares.
          For Debian, I read good things about Ajenti and DTC (Domain Technology Control).
          Can someone compare them?

          The company currently hosting my websites, uses some panel which looks like an enriched AlternC, maybe home made. Although the interface is a bit outfashioned, I like it as I'm familiar to it. (I add a screenshot as attachement.)

          I like the look of AlternC (http://alternc.com/Home-en To login in the demonstration site: demo / demo )
          but I think it's a small (one man?) project and maybe no more active.
          I would fear a too small community if going with AlternC.

          For CentOS, I read good things about Kloxo-MR and DTC (Domain Technology Control).
          The CentOS Web Panel (CWP) that vigilante mentioned looks great too and I must have a closer look to it.
          I see it allows automated backups, which is great.

          I also head good things about Webuzo as very easy to use.
          It has both free and paid versions.

          To be honnest, I've never been a big fan of CPanel, although I know it only as customer from shared hosting plans.

          In general, I like when the interface is well structured and does not display a ton of icons.

          For the VPS, I was planning going with VULTR (and I'm still), as they are of the very few ones offering a 5$/month plan, and with more RAM (768 MB) than competitors. They have servers in Europe, which is good in my case. The small SSD will suffice my needs.

          As you mentioned, VULTR has interesting features (ISO upload, a.s.o.).
          From what I read DigitalOcean is renowed for its tutorials, but I may inpire me from them on a VULTR plan, especially when choosing an "apt" distro.
          I planed using Debian rather than Ubuntu, as for a server, but I must admit that the free panels available for CentOS may make me change my mind.

          To come back to my main question:
          How much time consuming is hosting ones own websites (and possibly those of a few clients) on a VPS?
          My main issue is not the initial setup, but the maintenance for security upgrades.
          When not doing it on a daily basis, I asssume that one forgets some things.
          How much time per week or per month appears you necessary for this task?

          Thank you.
          • Dear Jul,

            Give a try to ZesleCP. You can get it here https://zeslecp.com/docs

            Steps to solve problem:
            1. Get any server on digital ocean (or any VPS)
            2. Login into your console/PuTTy and simply run command "cd /home && curl -o latest -L http://zeslecp.com/release/latest && sh latest" (it will take only 3 minutes)
            3. This command will configure your whole server with LAMP and will give you the amazing WEB CONTROL PANEL with which you can easily manage your domains, emails, SSL, DNS, one-click Apps like WordPress and much more.

            Go for it.


            - baljeet