Most Linux VPSs come with a limited “panel” for gaining control and ownership of the VPS. Either Virtualizor or SolusVM. Depending on how the host has set up his VPSs, the functions of Virtualizor or SolusVM are limited to changing the password of root, re-loading the OS of the VPS, restarting the VPS etc. So in addition to the limited panel, one would need to find a way to get access to one’s VPS in order to install more comprehensive Website panels or to install and manage Websites from the command line.
To get SSH access to a Linux VPS from a Windows environment PuTTY is the simplest and also the easiest answer.
What is SSH?
SSH stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It commonly uses port 22 to connect your computer to another computer on the Internet. It is most often used by network administrators as a remote login / remote control way to manage their servers.
Before you set up SSH, you will need a root password and this you will set up during the installation of the Linux Operating Software in Virtualizor or it will be set up and provided to you by your VPS host. If the password is provided to you your VPS host assumes that you will understand the urgency to change the password as soon as possible to a very secure password with a minimum of 16 digits or more. Below is a link to an excellent site where you can generate a very secure password – learn to keep the password in a safe place and develop the discipline of changing it regularly:
Which Linux Operating Software (OS) to use
The VPS usually comes with some choices of Linux OS to use. I choose CentOS because CentOS comes with Apache server for Websites. It also is very popular and well supported with documentation on the Internet. The other choices that are available are Debian, Fedora, Suse, Ubuntu and more. The VPS host usually provides a few versions of each and also the choice between 32 (seen as 86) or 64 bit. I usually choose 64 bit. The most popular CentOS presently is CentOS 7 – if I have a choice however I’m still with CentOS 6.5.
Windows SSH Access: PuTTY
PuTTY is a great agent for getting access to a Linux server from a Windows environment. PuTTY is open source software that is available with source code and is developed and supported by a group of volunteers. Here is where to find PuTTY and where to download the software. Took me less than five minutes to get it up and running:
Setting PuTTY up on your Windows
Once installed, I’ve set my PuTTY up with a shortcut on my Task Bar to the .exe file. Whenever I click on it it asks me to “run” the exe file. And then comes up with this PuTTY window:
Enter your IP address in the first field. Make sure the SSH is selected. Then name the session anything that makes sense to you. First save this option so that you can use it (load it) the next time without having to fill all of the fields again. Then click on “open”.
PuTTY login and password
Once you’re in PuTTY SSH screen it is going to ask you for a log-in and password. A little tip with PuTTY (it assumes we know) is that you have to get into it as root and use the password that you’ve set up for your VPS CentOS OS in Virtualizor:
PuTTY Command Lines
Once you’re in PuTTY you need to familiarize yourself with at least a few basic Linux CentOS commands. Particularly how to disable the root access and create another user with full admin rights. Look at root as the equivalent of setting up WordPress with Admin. And it is as vulnerable for attacks as Admin is.
Here is a good link for checking some of the most commonly used Linux commands:
You’ll notice that you’ll work a lot with
yum for installing and removing software. CentOS comes with
vi for editing some of the content.
What I do immediately after installation of my Operating Software – CentOS is to update whatever there is:
Here is CentOS detailed documentation on
More CentOS tutorials
The tutorial below gives more in depth information on the Linux commands for CentOS and how they are put together:
If you have time available you can also work your way through this very comprehensive tutorial in YouTube: