General documentation?

mkniskanen

Verified User
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
79
Location
Lieksa, Finland
I have not (either) found any general document that could (possibly) answer a few questions like:

1) Does DA update itself regularly (automatically). How do I know it?
2) How do I update Apache, PHP and others or does DA do this automatically?
3) What are the "do's" and "do-not's"
4) Is there a list of dependencies anywhere? (related to #4)

There is plenty of information about the mostly obvious things like adding users or resellers but I have not yet found answer to the two first questions.

And - I do not want to spend time in the forums searching for information that should be in standard documentation.
 

nobaloney

NoBaloney Internet Svcs - In Memoriam †
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Messages
26,119
Location
California
1) Does DA update itself regularly (automatically). How do I know it?
No; you need to update DirectAdmin yourself, through the control panel.
2) How do I update Apache, PHP and others or does DA do this automatically?
DirectAdmin doesn't do it; the way you'd do it would be dependent on whether you use custombuild or customapache.

Jeff
 

mkniskanen

Verified User
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
79
Location
Lieksa, Finland
No; you need to update DirectAdmin yourself, through the control panel.

DirectAdmin doesn't do it; the way you'd do it would be dependent on whether you use custombuild or customapache.

Jeff
Whew. Sorry to say, this did not help much. So I understand I have to update the beast manually. Well. I suppose there are no restrictions as to updating ANY software then?

The installation thing is a horrible mess. If one wants to stick to prehistoric versions I suppose everything is ok. Other than those the result seems to be the "best guess" and the aftermath of that is the "Zone" I am very cautiously walking around.

So If I am correct DirectAdmin ONLY installs "kind-of-latest" versions of web software and then leaves the rest to the owner? Right? What are the things one should not tamper with directory-wise? Are there any? Where can I find DOCUMENTATION? (And I do not mean the GUI manuals)

The thing I am so annoyed about it the TOTAL LACK OF DOCUMENTATION. I feel like walking in a mine field. Is this a real company or just a bunch of hobbyists? I am sorry I cannot be more diplomatic. This just is not the way things are done in the business world. (Business=people who pay for a product)

I really do not have the time to RTFF thing (the last word being "forums" as there are no manuals).
 

gaw

Verified User
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
55
I agree the DA documentation could use major improvement (mostly pruning out the legacy stuff), but maybe I can help.

What I did not realize at first is that there are 3 major players in maintaining your server. Your operating systems package manager, the DA build system of your choice, and the DA application. The first two will require at least a little time at a SSH prompt.

I use Centos32, so that is all I can speak for. In my case, the DA installation modifies the yum exclude list so that you have complete control over the mission critical components (Apache, etc) on your system. Everything else gets updated from the OS repository via yum (I use a daily cron to check for changes and update as necessary).

I use custombuild 1.1 for the build mechanism. Print the FAQ from this board and forget everything else. The configuration files give you a lot of control over version and options at the expense of building most pieces from source. Custombuild takes care of downloading the pieces from the DA repository, verifying the downloads, and executing all the 'make' steps. Think of this as a super build script because that is what it is. Unless you have very unusual requirements, custombuild should work for you out of the box - you picks your options and let er rip.

The actual DA part is an application that uses flat-file data in conjunction with template files to generate the system configuration files. This is just an application, so its evolution is separate from other system components. Version information is found at:

http://www.directadmin.com/versions.php

and the web based interface includes a link to update the application. You may need to tinker with a template file (and again the documentation is not spot on) but it really isn't rocket science and you should be able to figure it out. If you have deeper needs, the flat file info is pretty easy to reverse engineer.

And there is always this board - which can be helpful at times...
 

mkniskanen

Verified User
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
79
Location
Lieksa, Finland
I agree the DA documentation could use major improvement (mostly pruning out the legacy stuff), but maybe I can help.
Thank you, gaw, that was MOST helpful! Your short reply told me more about the dependencies than I succeeded in finding anywhere in the documentation. I am using CentOS-5.2-64 in a Xen virtual machine and know the package systems well enough and now I know where to start.

One of the problems with the image was that some essential things like logrotate had not been installed by the Xen image dropper. I was curious to know whether the DA had something to do with it but it seems to be an error in the Xen image (or whatever they call it).

I chose DA simply due to lack of time - I had in mind to write my own extensions to an open source project called IspConfig but chose DA instead. I find DA far from a perfect product but I suppose one can live with it.
 

nobaloney

NoBaloney Internet Svcs - In Memoriam †
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Messages
26,119
Location
California
I've watched ISPconfig for years and I'm still with DirectAdmin ;).

The problem with logrotate is definitely in your Xen image.

We're a third-party company and I support lots of servers, but many more DirectAdmin users (many, many more, including absolute newbies) successfully manage and support their own.

I tried to get some interest in creating a wiki style documentation handbook for DirectAdmin; for various reasons including my own lack of time, it always fell through.

Interested in helping :) ?

Jeff
 

tlchost

Verified User
Joined
Apr 4, 2007
Messages
381
I am. Let's do it.
Jeff had put a wiki up at
http://wiki.daguru.net/index.php/Main_Page

There was a fair amount of discussion about the wiki at
http://directadmin.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21755&highlight=wiki

It takes effort and knowledge to have an effective wiki. I started one for
users of a specific type of amateur radio...the wiki worked because of a small number of folks who devoted time and energy to monitor it, make suggestions and insure that the information posted was accurate.

I'd like to see one for DA...it would be a great help to folks like myself that don't know a lot, but need a good reference.
 

floyd

Verified User
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
5,310
To update DA automatically run as a root cron job every day:

Code:
echo "action=update&value=program" >> /usr/local/directadmin/data/task.queue
I really do not have the time to RTFF thing
If you don't have time to do it right the first time how will you find time to go back and fix it?

But seriously it seems you want to take shortcuts and not take the time to learn how things work. That is a recipe for disaster if I ever saw one.

I agree the docs could be better but all the answers are either here in the forum, the knowledgebase or the site-helper.com site. I rarely see any new questions I have not seen discussed here before.
 

floyd

Verified User
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
5,310
Also all the documentation is available before making a purchase so the lack of documentation is no big surprise.
 

floyd

Verified User
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
5,310
If one wants to stick to prehistoric versions I suppose everything is ok
That is very interesting. Let's use Apache as an example CentOS 5.2 rpm is at 2.2.3 Custombuild which comes with DirectAdmin will install 2.2.9 which is the latest. Interesting that you would call the latest prehistoric.

CentOS 5.2 rpm for php is 5.1.6 but Custombuild will install 5.2.6.
 
Last edited:

gaw

Verified User
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
55
If you look at the entire DA website, you won't even find a mention of CustomBuild outside of the Forum and Knowledge base! IMHO, CustomBuild is one of the better parts of the DA environment but I think it is asking a lot to ask a new DA user to discover that on his own.

There are other great DA features that would also be a complete surprise to anyone without a live installation. Take site specific HTTPD configuration for an example. Yeah there is stuff scattered in the forum and knowledge base but you won't find any definitive listing of template tokens or much on template specifics, so when push comes to shove you end up just guessing. Based on how rational the rest of DA is, it was not a big problem in the end, but it was certainly not a confidence builder either.

Maybe a user-build wiki would do the trick, but we all have other things to do and I am not all that optimistic.
 

mkniskanen

Verified User
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
79
Location
Lieksa, Finland
But seriously it seems you want to take shortcuts and not take the time to learn how things work. That is a recipe for disaster if I ever saw one.
Well I have been learning how to do things in IT for 27 years now and I always start from documentation. Always.

If I cannot find the obvious things in documentation I use another method (like forums). Now I find that documentation is missing and the forums become the primary source of documentation. And they are a lot slower to use no matter how experienced one is when searching for phrases.
 

mkniskanen

Verified User
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
79
Location
Lieksa, Finland
That is very interesting. Let's use Apache as an example CentOS 5.2 rpm is at 2.2.3 Custombuild which comes with DirectAdmin will install 2.2.9 which is the latest. Interesting that you would call the latest prehistoric.

CentOS 5.2 rpm for php is 5.1.6 but Custombuild will install 5.2.6.
Yes, but only if you are using CustomBuild as you said. I was referring to "prehistoric" with the standard installation alternative (which was described as "more mature" or "stable" or something like that. It would have installed Apache 1.x, MySQL 4.x and PHP 4.4 ).

As for the rest most of the stuff is running pretty well now. Just a couple of questions left I am a bit uncertain about. Well, I'll write one of them here right now:

Background:
1) My main domain is "myownserver.com" (not really :)
2) I understood from CustomBuild script that I need to use some other server name and I chose "admin.myownserver.com"
3) The user "admin" was created into the unix system. Fine.
4) Now all the admin messages are sent to admin@admin.myownserver.com and bounced as the script did not actually create aliases or anything.

What is the best practise here to get the emails to the correct address (admin@myownserver.com)? I feel like walking on thin ice again as I do not know how DA behaves if I make the wrong changes....

I think this is the last major thing that needs to be sorted out.

Markku
 

mkniskanen

Verified User
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
79
Location
Lieksa, Finland
If you look at the entire DA website, you won't even find a mention of CustomBuild outside of the Forum and Knowledge base!
IMHO, CustomBuild is one of the better parts of the DA environment but I think it is asking a lot to ask a new DA user to discover that on his own.
You are correct. And I have found nothing about the fact that DA is a 32-bit executable even when in a 64-bit system and needs 32-bit shared compatibility libraries!!! This fact must be told after or during the installation process.

Yes, custombuild is the way to go, absolutely. That is exactly why its functionality and documentation should be enhanced a lot. Plus hopefully a character-based GUI of some sort for less experienced users (well, I do not need it but I know people who might like it).

Maybe a user-build wiki would do the trick, but we all have other things to do and I am not all that optimistic.
As a joint project it might be worth trying, anyhow. I have been involved in a couple of internal mediawiki projects (plus my own here at the office) and for a purpose like this a user-contributed wiki might work pretty well.

Markku
 

floyd

Verified User
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
5,310
but I think it is asking a lot to ask a new DA user to discover that on his own.
It is "discovered" when the user does the install.

1: customapache: older, more tested. Includes Apache 1.3, php 4 and frontpage.
2: custombuild 1.1: newer, less tested. Includes any Apache version, php 4, 5, or both in cli and/or suphp. Frontpage not available.
There is a link to Custombuild from the main page of the forum. When clicked you get the a link to Custombuild FAQ at the top of the list. The FAQ contains all the documentation on Custombuild.

For most normal users you don't even need any documentation to get started other than following the installation instructions. When I first started using DA over 3 years ago it took about an hour to install it. In another hour I had clicked on every link in it and figured out the essentials. Surely somebody who has 3 times more experience than I do can do the same.

4) Now all the admin messages are sent to admin@admin.myownserver.com and bounced as the script did not actually create aliases or anything.
There is no way we can know without seeing the bounced message.
 

mkniskanen

Verified User
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
79
Location
Lieksa, Finland
There is no way we can know without seeing the bounced message.
Okay, instead of digging into the mail logs let me put it this way: I want to send the message to admin@myownserver.com instead of admin@admin.myownserver.com. Can I simply make the following changes in setup.txt and restart DA:

hostname=admin.myowndomain.com ==> myowndomain.com
email=admin@admin.indeedsir.com ==>admin@myowndomain.com
mysql=xxxxxyyyyy
mysqluser=da_admin
adminname=admin
adminpass=xxxxyyyxxx
ns1=ns1.myowndomain.com
ns2=ns2.myowndomain.com
ip=11.22.33.44.
netmask=255.255.255.0
uid=1234
lid=98765
services=services_es50_64.tar.gz

or will I possibly break something?

Once this is done I am very happy indeed. A customer (with a standard user account) already created his site, database and emails so I can say that from the user's point of view DA works just fine.

Markku
 

floyd

Verified User
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
5,310
instead of digging into the mail logs
Why would you have to do that? Don't you have the returned email?


I want to send the message to admin@myownserver.com
Have you added myownserver.com to the server in your user level? The hostname admin.myownserver.com doesn't have anything to do with the regular domain myownserver.com.

If we had the real domain then we could check to see if it is set up properly and it would be a lot easier to diagnose the problem.

See here

EDIT: I see the domain now - indeedsir.com

Was indeedsir.com added under the admin User Level or did you create a new user and add it under that new user?
 
Last edited:

mkniskanen

Verified User
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
79
Location
Lieksa, Finland
Sorry about all this, I am feeling pretty confused now...

Why would you have to do that? Don't you have the returned email?
When I create a new site DA sends the mail using this sender name. From the Exim mainlog I can read:

Code:
2008-09-24 11:57:00 1KiSzM-0003my-KO <= diradmin@indeedsir.com U=diradmin P=local S=2089 T="Creator Duplicate: Your account for blaablaa.fi is now ready for use." from <diradmin@indeedsir.com> for admin@admin.indeedsir.com
2008-09-24 11:57:00 1KiSzM-0003my-KO ** admin@admin.indeedsir.com F=<diradmin@indeedsir.com>: Unrouteable address
So this is the problem. DA is sending email to the admin and I can see this from the exim log.

I have added indeedsir.com at the user level so it really does exist. I also have a real virtual mail user admin@indeedsir.com. So I suppose I can simply change admin@admin.indeedsir.com to admin@indeedsir.com.

And the admin.indeedsir.com does not need to be a real subdomain, right?

Once this is sorted out I will both help in building and possibly provide the space for the wiki - I am one of the few people who enjoy the benefits of having 28 hours per day :)


Markku
 

nobaloney

NoBaloney Internet Svcs - In Memoriam †
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Messages
26,119
Location
California
I am. Let's do it.
Please contact me by my email address, below in my sig.

I'll reset this up (while the subdomain still works, I no longer own the domain name daguru.net, but I have other DirectAdmin related domains).

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks.

Jeff
 
Top