Earlier, I’d written about when to move from shared hosting to a VPS. However, migrating to a VPS from shared hosting is no easy matter. You need to know what you’re getting into if you intend to manage the VPS independently. Even with a fully managed NameHero VPS, there’s no escaping the tasks you need to perform to keep the VPS secure and running smoothly. Here are the four skills you need to manage a VPS.
1. Being Comfortable with the Command Line
While there are plenty of GUI tools to help you manage your server, in the end, there’s no substitute for learning how to use the command line. And that means familiarity with Linux concepts like basic navigation, editing files, root permissions, installing and uninstalling packages, and more.
You will drop into the command line no matter how good your web admin panel is. There are too many commands, settings, and flags for any graphical interface to replicate accurately. So before you jump into hosting a VPS server, take a crash course in the Linux command line. It’s intimidating, but you’ll find it easier to pick up than you might think.
2. Hardening your Server
Even though the NameHero Managed Cloud service is fully managed, there are many things you need to do on your own to keep your server secure. For example, one of the first things to do is disable root logins via WHM or the command line.
Another example of hardening your server is to change the default SSH port to something other than 22. You’ll find the NameHero knowledge base very useful, with all kinds of tutorials with screenshots on how to achieve this step by step. But you’ll have to decide which steps to take, which requires a basic understanding of how a server is set up.
3. Firewall Management
A NameHero VPS comes with the excellent ConfigServer firewall tool that lets you manage what kinds of connections are allowed into your server. Often, you’ll need to modify this to allow or disallow specific services. For example, #2 above, if you want to change your SSH port, you need to allow connections through the new one, and for that, you need to open the port in ConfigServer.
ConfigServer also allows you to monitor your log files, but it comes with only a few ones by default. Ideally, you also want to include your traffic logs so you can see when something goes wrong, and for this, you need to follow the tutorial on adding log files to CSF.
As you grow more experienced with handling your server, you’ll realize what needs to be done and find tutorials online on how to accomplish those tasks.
4. Backup Management
The NameHero managed VPS service takes regular backups of your server in case something goes wrong. But these backups are stored on the server itself, which means that if your entire installation is compromised, you might lose access to everything. So you should always have offsite backups in addition to the backups that NameHero generates for you.
There are 3rd party services like DropMySite that do this for you (though DropMySite is no longer available for ordinary customers). You can also store your backups on Amazon’s S3 or, more recently, Cloudflare’s R2 service. There are plenty of configurations, and you need to find the one that works best for you.
Bottom Line: A VPS Requires Different Skills
You probably didn’t have to think of all this while you were on ordinary shared hosting. With a VPS, you have to worry about configuration optimizations, security, backups, packages you want to install, and much more. A VPS is a potent tool that will turbocharge your website. Just make sure you’re prepared to operate the beast!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!
Among Us says
Command Line is the hardest part of managing a VPS.
WE are trying to set up a web page but wished to send in HTML5 pages and not use the companies web set up page which we usually found had limited ability
But evetime we contact a company about sending in HTML5 document everyone says he must have which your article explained I do not have. Is there any other choice than VPS
John Kirkpatrick says
If you’re a current NameHero customer, we’d be happy to see if we could look into this further with some additional detail, Paul!