Basic VPS Maintenance
Posted by CTX Admin on 08 August 2014 11:23 AM

We recommend performing some simple upkeep to your VPS occasionally to make sure it's running in tip-top shape. Below are some guidelines and tips to help you get the most of your robust VPS.

Disk Usage

Keeping track of Disk Usage on your VPS is an important maintenance step. While your accounts use most of the space on your server, there are a lot of system files taking up space that go largely unaccounted for when tallying remaining space. While you may only have 10G of user accounts, you may be closer than you think to touching the disk quota... all due to those pesky system files!
To make sure you don't run out of space unexpectedly, and cause greater damage to important systems on your VPS (like MySQL), check your total server disk usage:

  1. Log in to WHM

  2. Search for 'disk' in the search field at the top left of the page

  3. Click Show Current Disk Usage, which populates on the left-hand side toolbar

    disk usage

You should see the total available size of your disk, the total used, and the total available. VPS accounts will only show two partitions: '/dev/vda1' is your virtual disk space (total available space on the server) and '/usr/tmpDSK' is your temporary system folder that stores temp files and is auto-cleared regularly.
Follow this process and check in here from time to time to stay apprised of how much space you have left. Checking disk usage can also be a great tool for catching errors. A sudden jump in disk usage can indicate a bloated error log that needs investigating, for instance.
If you have any questions about disk space, or are curious about where all your space is going, just give us a shout!

PHP Versions

PHP is an ever-evolving technology that can see frequent minor releases, so it's important to stay on top of updating it. To keep your server current and secure you must not fall behind with an outdated version! 
Luckily, A Small Orange is here to help. If you're curious about a recent update to PHP and would like to upgrade your server let us know. We're glad to advise you on how your server will be affected and if updating is right for you. We can even take care of the upgrade for you, if preferred.

Service SSL Manager

cPanel uses the same SSL technology to encrypt data sent over system services that businesses use to encrypt transaction data. The difference is that cPanel generates its own certificates that are not verified by a third party, which is why your browser gives you a warning when you access cPanel over SSL.
And just like normal business SSLs, these self-signed certificates only last for one year before expiring. But don’t worry about trying to remember; cPanel will send out a warning a month before they expire. You'll have plenty of time to reset them:
Log in to WHM

  1. Log in to WHM

  2. Search 'manage service' in the search bar near the top left side of the page

  3. Select the Manage Service SSL Certficates option that populates

    Manage Service SSL Certificates
  4. On the next screen click Reset Certificate for each system service in the table shown and follow the prompts

​And that’s it! You’re good to go for another year!

Shell Access for Accounts

Sometimes you’ll need to access shell as a specific user, either to install software as that user or to allow your hosted client's site their own shell access. By default, shell access is disabled for new accounts unless you’ve specified otherwise in the WHM package in which you've created the account.
To enable shell for an account:

  1. Log in to WHM

  2. Search for 'shell access' in the search bar near the top left side of the page

  3. Click Manage Shell Access from the options that populate

  4. Select which shell you’d like for each user

    WARNING Enabling normal shell access for a user account is highly insecure and should never be done unless you trust that user with your entire server! Always grant jailed shell access instead.

Mail Queue Manager

An important aspect of any hosting package is email, and with a VPS you’ll have more control over your mail than ever before. To check on mail currently queued for delivery on your server you can use the Mail Queue Manager in WHM:

  1. Log in to WHM

  2. Search for ‘mail queue’ in the blank search bar near the top left of the page

  3. Select Mail Queue Manager from the options that populate

    Mail queue manager

From here you can view all the messages currently in the queue, force delivery of messages, delete messages, or search for specific messages. It's very useful to keep tabs on the mail queue, as you can often catch Spam in the act by seeing the suspicious mails queued here before they are delivered.

Custom Nameservers

You might want to create additional nameservers for domains on your server. It's super easy, and the process works the same way it does as when setting up the original nameservers for the VPS. To get started:

  1. Create A records for the new nameservers in the domain's DNS zone

    Create A Records

  2. Register the A records at your registrar

Software Upgrades

cPanel will automatically update critical software for you, though there are some exceptions... some that you should request for us to upgrade for you.
Apache (default web server), PHP, and MySQL are all upgrades we can take care of for you via our easy peasy scripts. Just get in touch and we'll get started!

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