A virtual private server (VPS) is a virtual machine sold as a service by an Internet hosting service. The virtual dedicated server (VDS) also has a similar meaning.
A VPS runs its own copy of an operating system (OS), and customers may have superuser-level access to that operating system instance, so they can install almost any software that runs on that OS. For many purposes, they are functionally equivalent to a dedicated physical server, and being software-defined, can be much more easily created and configured. They are priced much lower than an equivalent physical server.
Get the cheapest VPS plan
Almost every renowned hosting company provides VPS plans for their customers. Also, the price ranges from $5 to hundreds based on the configuration of the virtual machine and the company.
While selecting a VPS plan, do not compare the price only. Make sure to compare the server configuration you are receiving in exchange for the money you are spending.
As of my research, many renowned providers provide VPS at just $5 per month. But, considering the configuration, Contabo is offering the cheapest virtual machines. They also have a bunch of VPS packages that you can choose based on your need.
Get the cheapest VPS here.
Choosing the operating system for your Virtual Machine
While making the purchase, most of the VPS providers support the automated provisioning of the system (installation of the OS and making the server ready for use). I’ll make this tutorial series with Contabo, and I’ll use CentOS 7 as the operating system.
You may set up your server with other available OS, but CentOS 7 is a very popular and stable operating system. Another benefit of this OS is that there are plenty of tutorials available on the internet.
How to access the VPS
Unlike the shared hosting plans, VPS doesn’t have any fancy control panel by default. Instead, it just gives root access to the system using an SSH client like Putty, and SFTP client like FileZilla.
You can execute commands using the command line on an SSH client. With an SFTP client, you can download and upload files to/from the server.
Are you worried about using a command line? No worries. Be assured that we will use the command line to get the system ready and install the control panel only. After that, we will be able to manage the server using the control panel (almost the similar experience you had with cPanel).
Download and install the SSH client and SFTP client from the following links:
Login to the VPS using SSH
- Open Putty
- Enter the IP of your VPS in the “Host Name (or IP address)” field.
- The default port number is 22. Leave that as it is.
- Click on “Open”
- The command line window will open. It will ask for the user ID.
- Your default user id is root
- Press enter
- Now enter your password. You can copy the password and paste it on Putty by pressing Shift+Insert button.
- Note that it will not show the password you typed or pasted.
- Press Enter
- If the ID and Password were correct, you would be logged in and see a window similar to this below.
- Now you can execute the necessary commands.
See the following screen flow for Putty:
Your First SSH Command – Let’s Update the OS
Keeping the OS updated gives huge security benefits to your system. However, updating the software will not make your CentOS 7 to CentOS8, but it will install the latest package of the OS you are using. That said if you are using CentOS 7, updating it will install the latest build of the same, not CentOS 8.
Enter following command and press enter to perform the update:
sudo yum update
It will ask for your permission to download the latest packages and install them: type y and press Enter.
Again, it will ask for your permission to set a digital fingerprint: type y and press Enter.
Within a moment, the update process will be finished.
Login to the VPS using SFTP
SFTP stands for Secure FTP using the SSH protocol.
- Open FileZilla
- Enter your server IP in the “Host:” field.
- Type root in the “Username” field
- Enter your password in the “Password” field.
- Put 22 in “Port” field
- Click on the “Quickconnect” button
- You’ll see the folder structure of your server in a moment.
The screen flow for FileZilla is given below:
In the next tutorial, we will learn how to set up the Swap memory for your VPS.
Please share your reflections about this tutorial in the comments below. Also, feel free to ask any questions if you have.