Setup VPS for Linux Noobs!




new password?
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using ssh and bashrc for easy login

This guide steps out how to set up openSSH, complete with an authenticating key pair, so that you can access your Linux VPS host securely from your home or office-based Linux PC.

For a little more theory behind the secure shell (SSH) protocol you may care to take a peek at vpsBible’s parallel Windows-to-Linux connection guides at Set Up Command Line Interface (CLI) using PuTTY and Encrypt Data with OpenSSH & Auto-Login with PuTTY.

Using this method you’ll have:-

  • encrypted data/password transfer
  • password-free login
  • tighter server security ***

*** for this, we must also edit the sshd_config file. We’ll get to that in Harden the Secure Shell (SSH) & Create a Firewall.

USING WINDOWS locally? Then read this instead.

Setup Unmanaged VPS: The Ubuntu-Nginx Guide

Take your virtual private server from zero to hero

  .. from blank box to cute-as server ..  

with this easy-to-follow copy/paste guide.

22+ parts with video, here’s the index.

The SSH Protocol

The SSH protocol works by matching an authenticating key pair: a public one on your remote host and a private one on your local machine.

And What We’re Doing Now

We need to create those keys, upload the public one and connect remotely, password-free.

Access the Virtual Private Server

Open a remote connection from your terminal, KEEP IT OPEN in case of an error, so you can access remotely to correct the mistake. I’ll tell you when it’s safe to disconnect.


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.. swapping username for your newly created username and hostname for your IP address.

As requested, provide your password.

Create Authentication Keys

Logged in locally, type this:-


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.. you’ll be prompted where you want the keys to live: simply hitting return will create them in the hidden ssh directory in your ~/home folder. Alternatively, if when prompted you choose a bespoke filename without a path then they will be added to your ~/home folder so you’ll need to move them to your ~/home/.ssh folder, but first ..

Then you’re asked to create and confirm a passphrase. You can leave that blank but, IMHO, don’t. Make it original, several words long and mix up with some special characters for Fort Knox security. For example:


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.. or, to be just ridiculously safe ..


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So you’ve got 2 authentication keys, a nice pair. To copy the public key to the remote machine:-


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  • SCP is the program Secure Copy, which you can read all about here – Backup or Upload with Secure Copy SCP (Linux/Linux)
  • ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub is the public key file, which has been created in your home user folder, in the new .ssh directory
  • username is your remote host username
  • hostname.com is either your hostname, else the IP address
  • : tells SCP we’re about to detail a remote location
  • /home/username/ is the remote destination folder
Problems with SCP?

Most likely you can ignore this. But! Should you find you are having problems using SCP, read this ..

  • First, get clued up on SCP by reading that link I mentioned.
  • Failing that, bugger SCP! Do this instead:-

Logged in locally, let’s print the key on the terminal screen by pasting this:-


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.. copy that; your public authentication key.

Now, logged in remotely, paste it to a new file which we’ll create with SuperUser permissions, using the Nano text editor:-


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Right, whether using SCP or not, that’s your public key up on the server. No slacking, carry on ..

Just to back up a little, let me clarify. What we have done is to create those keys and pop one up to the server. But, er, it’s in the wrong place! Let’s sort that out.

On the remote server, create a new folder, then we’ll move that public key to it and set some file permissions:-


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  • mkdir /home/username/.ssh is the place for user-specific keys
  • mv so we move this key there
  • chown -R username:username and change ownership of user and group
  • chmod 700 ~/.ssh giving the owner read/write/execute rights to the .ssh folder
  • chmod 600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys and read/write permissions to the keys folder

Login Using Authentication Keys

So now we can login remotely, using those authentication keys:-


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You’ll be prompted for your passphrase (even if it says password), and asked if you want to store it (by your local machine, or is that just with thoroughly-friendly Ubuntu Desktop? .. I’m not sure.) If you store it, you’ll not need it again until you reinstall or buy a new rig. If you don’t store it, you’ll have to input the passphrase once per local session login.

After that, whenever you ssh into remote, depending on the passphrase storage preference, you’ll be logged in immediately without having to give any further details.

Now then. Tell me – as well as being secure and encrypted – isn’t just so darned cool?

Setup Unmanaged VPS: The Ubuntu-Nginx Guide

Take your virtual private server from zero to hero

with this easy-to-follow copy/paste guide.

“My local PC runs Windows” Show me for Linux/Mac

22+ parts with video, here’s the index ..

Manage Unmanaged VPS: Ubuntu-Nginx Administration

Already set it up? We’d best maintain it then.

Toggle to the ..  Ubuntu-Nginx Admin Index

Manage Unmanaged VPS: Ubuntu-Nginx Administration

Maintain your virtual private server with ..

.. cheatsheets, tutorials, tips & guides.

Head back to the ..  Ubuntu-Nginx Installation Index

Nginx Admin: In the Works ..

This lot’s marked for addition already:-

  • Setup or Edit DNS using Bind
  • Network Tools Troubleshooting Guide
  • The Comprehensive Permissions Guide
  • Configuring Nginx Rewrites
  • Custom Website Error Page
  • Setting up Cron Jobs
  • Rsync for Incremental Remote-to-Local Backup
  • Cron & Rsync for Automatic Backup
  • Cron & mysqldump for Auto DB Backup
  • Safeguard Bandwidth with Hotlink Protection
  • Block Access with Nginx’ IP Deny

Install openSSH guide generating & authentication keys to boost server security, encrypt data transfer & make login password-free from a Linux PC.




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