Create a virtual private server

It is almost the end of February, so it is the perfect time for some new year’s resolutions: I am going to document a number of tasks that I have performed to my personal server that is connected to the world wide web.

The first task is arranging a platform to play with. In my case I ordered a Blade VPS L from the Dutch company TransIP. My VPS is about to be upgraded to a Blade VPS X4. With 4MB RAM instead of the current 1MB that is a lot better. TransIP also manage my domain names. So far I would recommend them without reservation.

The end-result of this exercise is a running VPS with a fully up-to-date, but bare, Ubuntu Server installation.

Here we go! I ordered a new VPS from TransIP:


Then start a new OS installation – Ubuntu 12.10 in this case:


After accepting the obligatory warning that all data on the VPS will be lost, we end up in the TransIP console and see the following window:


After selecting language (English), country (United Kingdom) and having the installer find out I have a keyboard with US layout, the installer starts loading components and after a while shows the next screen:


I name this test VPS “tele”. My original VPS is called “strat”. Something to do with guitars… Now Ubuntu wants us to add a normal user, which consists of a full name, a user name and a password:




I am not going to encrypt my home directory. If you do use encryption on the home directory, you have to take some extra steps when setting up SSH later on, as described here.


Then, select the time zone. Ubuntu suggests the correct one for me:


Then it is time to partition the disk. I choose “use entiry disk and setup LVM”. LVM is very necessary if I want to enlarge the disk later on without having to add a separate partition.


In the VPS there is only one disk to select:


After another confirmation:


… we get to confirm that we want to use the entire disk:



Then the actual installation starts:


This takes a minute or so.


I don’t need a proxy, so I leave it blank. The next step takes another minute.


Now we need to select what to do with updates. I choose to install security updates automatically and perform any other update manually:


Then the fun begins, as we get asked what software we want to install. At this point I only select the OpenSSH server:


The installer goes on:


After a shot while we get this:


Clikcing yes, causes GRUB to be installed and that is also the end of the first phase:


Ubuntu reboots and greets us with this:


Note that we are still running from the TransIP console.

Logging in with the user credentials we provided earlier yields:


Now is the time to manually get Ubuntu up to date by issuing the following commands:

$ sudo apt-get update

$ sudo apt-get upgrade

In my case an upgrade to a new kernel is held back. I do want to do a full upgrade so I type:

$ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

The sudo command is necessary because as a normal user I am not permitted to upgrade the system.

After upgrading to a newer kernel a reboot is needed. On Linux this is normally the only reason to ever reboot a system.

$ sudo shutdown -r now

The next step is to configure SSH so we don’t need the TransIP console again. That will be the subject of the next article.

Until then I will switch off the VPS.

The most important link for a more thorough explanation of what we went through:

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