How to Set Up Your Own Website Using VPS-Initial

As I mentioned in a previous article, I recently ditched shared web hosting and secured a virtual private server (VPS) account. I shopped around, as I encourage you to do, and chose Linode. The reason? They were reasonably cost, my co-worker recommended them and has been impressed with their service, and they have a very good knowledge base. I have yet to use their support, but I have heard their support is good as well. With setting up a VPS, support may be key. Whether it’s good documentation, a great user base, or tech support, being on your own can be a little scary, so make sure you get some feedback from trusted resources.

Logistics

Setting up an account with Linode was easy. I didn’t have huge needs so I went with their base package. At the time of this writing it consisted of paying $19.99 with a 10% discount per month for signing up for a year. My package has the following specs:

  • 360 MB RAM
  • 16 GB Storage
  • 200 GB transfer

I am going to set up sites for blogging and a low volume forum. So I’m not doing anything overly intensive. I can always upgrade if that’s the case.  Right now I have used 1GB of the 200.

After setting up my account with Linode, I had to choose a datacenter where my VPS would be located. I chose Dallas. Literally, New Jersey and Dallas locations were within a hundred miles difference to me, and Dallas is in the same time zone. I went with Dallas. You have to make sure there is one available in your location preference.  Apparently some locations may fill up and hosting in that datacenter may not be an option.

After giving them your credit card info and choosing a location for your servers home base, it’s time to consider your future set up. I got a site up and running only to start over again. Not a big deal unless you have a site that you’ve been updating for a couple weeks.  What I’m saying is, if you’re not overly invested in time, you can always nuke the server and start over no problem.

In this series of articles it’s important to know my specific situation because I am merely relaying my experiences to you; therefore, your situation and setup may be different and I can’t guarantee that all this will be as easy as it was for me.

Current Scenario

My registrar is Godaddy. At least 6 of my domains are administered through them.  Of those 6 domains, I have domain1 with .net and .com and domain2 with .net and .com. I have the two .com’s forwarded to the respected .net’s along with a third active website at domain3.com. The sixth domain is dormant and is not being used.

In short:

domain1.net (active) – hosting a drupal cms for online community portal

domain1.com (forward to domain1.net) => domain1.net

domain2.net (active) – hosting wordpress blog and phpbb forums in a subdirectory

domain2.com (forward to domain2.net) => domain2.net

domain3.com (active) – hosting drupal cms for blogging

End Objective

My end goal was to do the following:

  1. set up VPS server
  2. secure VPS server
  3. implement LAMP stack on VPS server
  4. transfer mysql database(s) from Godaddy shared hosting to VPS – for domain1.net & domain2.net
  5. transfer files from Godaddy shaed hosting to VPS – for domain1.net & domain2.net
  6. remove forwards of domain1.com and domain2.com – this will set them up as active sites
  7. delete files from domain1.net and domain2.net
  8. forward domain1.net to newly set up domain1.com
  9. forward domain2.net to newly set up domain2.com

Seems pretty easy, right? Doing this can cut down on down-time because we’re essentially duplicating domains, making sure they both work at their respected .com and .net locations at the same time, and then shutting the original one down. If the new domain doesn’t work right, or we screw something up, visitors will continue to see the original sites.

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