Setting Up Your Own Virtual Server With Slicehost

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 16 2009

I have been working with Linux and web development for over seven years and in this time I have used several hosting companies as well as set-up some development servers at home in order to host and develop my websites. I had recently decided to take the plunge into getting my own virtual server account so I would have a live environment where I would have full control.

I chose Slicehost as my provider as I have used them in the past at work and found them to be reliable and the control panel and service to be exceptional. As with this type of virtual host you are given a completely new install with bare services running. This means that as a web server you need to manually install everything from Apache, MySQL and PHP manually. Also you will probably need to install a mail service.

The tough part for me was installing and configuring the mail. This is not something I do with my dev boxes at home. This was a bigger learning curve than I imagined but very rewarding. The greatest part with virtual hosts is that if you completely screw up, you can easily choose to rebuild your slice and start again from scratch.

Also through the slice manager you can easily configure DNS for any domains and subdomains hosted on the server.

Anyway, some of the best things I have learnt from the experience are:

  • Setting up a mail server with encryption and smtp authentication for imap accounts using mysql.
  • Setting up the firewall using iptables.
  • Learning how to login over ssh without passwords.
  • Setting up a Subversion server with SSL encryption.

It has been very satisfying to step away from the traditional hosting companies and have full control over my hosting. I recommend anyone else with Linux experience who is thinking of getting a virtual host with full root access to give it a go. There are some good ones about and the experience gained are better than I would have hoped.