Setup VPS for Linux Noobs!




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  • Post Last Updated: 24-Sep-13
  • Reason:
    1. changed package manager 'aptitude' to 'apt-get'
    2. clearer explanatory notes

// vpsBible.com … keeping your web server up-to-date

User-Friendly Linux - CLI Alias Shortcut image 1

The bashrc file is where we create aliases to shortcut those long CLI commands, plus functions to improve usability. In this tutorial, as well as setting locale, performing a software index update & a Linux upgrade, let’s configure it.

From the initial how-to guides in the Set Up Unmanaged Ubuntu-Nginx VPS 4 Noobs tutorial series, we’ve got a basic Linux distribution to work with and dead easy, secure terminal access to it, from our local Windows PC.

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.

Now, it’s time for a little house-keeping, adding some trim to create a more user-friendly Command Line Interface, and to update our core system and locale settings.

Video: Streamline Command Line Workflow

Watch the, er, guvideo for a better idea of how to do this.


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Log into the CLI, using your regular user name, and we’ll crack on…

Using bashrc to Create a User-friendly Command Line Interface

bashrc has got a funny name all right, but believe you me it is your friend.

As I say – and I freely admit to getting a bit excited with this lil bit of Tux – the bashrc file makes life easier and workflow faster. Let’s take a peek:-


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What you can do with this file is so cool. For instance, to open bashrc, instead of having to type nano ~/.bashrc, think how much easier it is to type an alias, like ebrc. Hey, let’s do that.

At the bottom of the file, type:-


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And close the file. To activate changes, after editing the bashrc file you type this command:-


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Now type:-


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OK. That was a basic example, but you get the picture. Pretty powerful. With the bashrc file open, let’s add a few more aliases, and a little functionality. You can just leave in the descriptive references because they’re commented and Linux ignores them. Copy and paste this lot:-


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Of course, you can play around with all the above, to suit you. After saving the file, don’t forget:-


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One bashrc File Per User

It’s rather easy to get confused when switching user to, say, root, and then wondering why certain bashrc aliases won’t work. The reason they aren’t working is because the other user has a separate bashrc file, so consider adding your aliases to both.

For example, if you escalate to superuser (typing sudo -i at the commmand line to act as the root user) then your user’s bashrc aliases and functions won’t work.

Like the guy said in Highlander, “There can be only one.” Of course, he’d have been more helpful, had he said “There can be only one bashrc file, per user.” But he didn’t, so I am.

Try this so you can see what I mean. Type sudo -i, add the password and the CLI text is all white again (which is really useful to warn you that you are in SuperUser mode), and aliases don’t work. To exit the root account, type exit, and you’re back to your regular user account.

You can edit root’s bashrc file by opening the file (nano ~/.bashrc) when logged in as root. Personally, and to reiterate an important point above, I prefer to leave it looking boring so I know I’m in privileged user mode and have to be serious for a change.

(Oh yes, and if you do add your aliases to the root user’s bashrc file, edit the commands to omit the now-defunct sudo.)

Set System Locale

Type this, replacing the country code as appropriate. Ie, for the UK, swap en_US for en_GB.


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Update the Software Index & Upgrade Linux

Using some of the aliases from above, let’s bring our system up-to-date. If you didn’t bother with the aliases, you can find the regular commands in the alias section above.

First, we’ll get the latest software repository indexes:-


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Then, a safe system upgrade:-


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…this is kinda like Windows Update. It may take some minutes.

What are Software Repository Indexes?

Pleased you asked that! Here’s the deal…

With Linux, the easiest way to install software is to issue a command at the CLI, with the software pulled from a central server, or repository. There are a bunch of these, some official and highly regulated, others unofficial which you can opt to use at your own risk.

So how does Linux know what software and versions are available? That’s where the indexes come in, which are held on your machine. They need updating every so often, and certainly before installing anything important, like system patches (upgrade) or a major component like a web server. Hence, our update alias.

At last, we have a lean ‘n mean virtual private Linux machine that is ready to be built into what we want, the fastest darned server in the world wide west.

Can’t Wait?

In the next couple of guides we’ll be concentrating on recording your domain to the web using that thing called DNS, then extending that to create your server’s email capability. Then we’ll look at PHP so you can serve those all-important pages before, at last, we’ll be in the thick of setting up the Nginx web server itself so that it works for your preferred content platform.

But hey, for me it’s beer o’clock, so just read the index…

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



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  • Samuel July 6th, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Hi!

    I’m following your great tutorials :)

    But at this point, the custom CLI prompt is not working for me.

    The line nº 27 of your code (export PS1=…) is only generating a prompt with that codes, not the color and info that means to be output :(

    I think that maybe you forgot to put some escape codes somewhere?.

  • the_guv July 6th, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    very odd that, Samuel .. can’t replicate error, all tests OK. sorry, headscratcher.

    anyone else had a problem?

  • the_guv July 8th, 2009 at 12:43 am

    apologies Samuel .. was a newly-installed plugin interfering with the syntax highlighter. sorted now. thank you for tip-off.

  • patrick August 5th, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Hello The_Guv great tutorial thanks for sharing the information and knowledge. I had a problem to copie the html code
    I was missing an point .bashrc and the “” give a problem.

    ###My Aliases
    #open bashrc
    alias ebrc="nano ~/.bashrc"

  • the_guv August 5th, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    @Patrick .. well, I say, that’s just not on! Thank you for drawing that to my attention. Code amended. Thank you again, very much appreciated.

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