Setting up a new VPS — looking for advice on server config and software stack

Kal

New member
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Australia
Hi everyone. I'm new to DirectAdmin, and this is my first post here.

For over 10 years I've managed a little VPS. We only host a dozen or so websites, running CentOS + Apache + cPanel. Most sites have extremely modest needs (using less than 1GB data), but we have one WordPress site that uses around 30 GB data per month. Recently, we've had some server crashes. Upping RAM from 3 to 4GB has helped, but today it crashed again. Support blames it on a sustained attack of some kind. I asked them if it's a DDoS attack on a certain site, but I haven't received a clear answer from them. The server was at one point down for many hours without anyone responding to support requests at all—not good enough when you're paying for 24/7 server management! So I'm looking for a new provider. And I thought it was the perfect time to take a fresh look at the whole setup, including the control panel. cPanel made the decision easier with its new licensing changes.

So, I've spent over a week researching everything—local VPS hosts, OSes, web servers, control panels and server management services. Security, reliability, speed and cost are the most important considerations. And I think I've finally come up with a plan, but I'd love some feedback from people with more expertise than me:
  • Purchase self-managed VPS with 2 cores and 4GB RAM (which can easily be upgraded to 4 cores and 8 GB if and when needed).
  • Install CentOS 8 + LiteSpeed (Enterprise Free Starter) + DirectAdmin (Trial or Personal).
  • Migrate my own website, test and deploy.
  • Assuming I'm happy with everything, upgrade software stack to CloudLinux + LiteSpeed (Enterprise Lite) + DirectAdmin (Lite).
  • Get a quote from the guys at MC2 to give the server a thorough once-over, hardening, optimising and advising on the best setup.
  • Migrate client sites across (after advising clients of changes).
  • Get MC2 to monitor for a month or so and advise if there is an attack and how to best deal with it.
  • Call on MC2 or Poralix for one-off support tickets if and when needed in future.

Another option I considered was to start with 4 cores and 8 GB RAM, and stick with CentOS instead of CloudLinux (the overall cost stays the same), but I'm leaning towards CloudLinux.

Currently, I also use third-party plug-ins, CSF firewall and Softaculous, and was thinking of continuing with these. (I've never tried Installatron, but it's another option.)

Any thoughts or advice before I jump in?

Kal
 

urgido

Verified User
Joined
Oct 28, 2008
Messages
342
It's sound good scenario. And @smtalk (MC2) it's your best choice.

Besfore start migrating from cpanel I did the same way(testing sites before full host) to my three dedicated and couple of vps.

Good luck!
 

Kal

New member
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Australia
Thank you @urgido. Good to know I'm on the right track. It's such a big decision, changing pretty much everything—VPS host, OS, web server and control panel. I really want to get it right!
 

ikkeben

Verified User
Joined
May 22, 2014
Messages
643
Location
Netherlands Germany
Also do some reading here on forum and websearch upfront for the differences CENTOS 8 could be handy and good to know.

Epel-repo installing and so on then powertools, rkhunter, htop and so more is somewhat different to and not as much as before.

NetworkManager for network.
And more serverwide crypto policies.

Are some of those changes.
Better not to go for depricated stuff if you can do with newer modern replacements, then having less warnings in logs... ;)

Advise is first starting to play and install several times a bare centos 8 server first on your vps and have a look in the CENTOS8 panel for firewall/ network and co, then the extra needed packages for DA, then do updates again and see log files and so on, then if all ok a DA control panel after that.
 
Last edited:

Active8

Verified User
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
232
1. Take a provider who has DDOS (free) protection (OVH , Centabo) and snapshot for if any updates go wrong
2. Start as said start with Centos 8 (we have Centos 8 servers with DA+Apache dont have experience with Litespeed)
3. Alex and/or Smtalk is your first choice with external support but the forums can help you also.
 

Kal

New member
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Australia
Thanks @ikkeben and @Active8. I was only planning to install CentOS as a first step, just to get started and test things… then convert to CloudLinux. Up till now, I've been using CentOS 6 (approaching EOL) but I figured, since I'm starting afresh, I may as well skip 7 and go with the latest. But I notice now that the CloudLinux help docs only talk about converting from CentOS 6 or 7. It looks like CloudLinux 8 is close to release, but not quite ready. So I guess I'll still go ahead with CentOS 8 for now, and just convert to CloudLinux 8 when it's ready.

Regarding DDoS protection, I did ask the VPS provider and they confirmed that it's 'dealt with by our upstream provider who have guards in place'.
 
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