Security Risk in Cloud Server?

November 20, 2013 2.5k views
I am switching from shared hosting to virtual server. I have no experience in server administration but the tutorials here are easy to understand. My main concern is the risk involved in running own server. What are all the security breaches and server related information a novice user should have before running its own server ?
4 Answers
by Etel Sverdlov
This tutorial covers how to login with root, how to change the root password, how to create a new user, how to give the new user root privileges, how to change the port, and how to disable root login in. This tutorial is written for Ubuntu. When you first create your server, this tutorial explains the first steps you need to take. This tutorial is written for Ubuntu 12.04.
You may wish to consider using a panel, either Cpanel or one of the others, if you do not previously have experience with maintaining your own server. Cpanel is unfortunately not free, but having worked with it at a prior job, it comes with a few features that could be useful including cphulkd that blocks brute force attempts, and provides a fairly easy to use interface.

However, without a panel, I would suggest minimizing the amount of services that you may be running, and the services being exposed on the outside internet. What those panels do well, at least Cpanel, is that it bundles all the usual services for DNS, mail, http servers, into one coherent package. If you are not fully familiar with exim or postfix, for example, you would probably want to ensure that those services are off when you are not using them, in case the configuration may be allowing open relay access or something similar. Familiarizing with iptables, and other utilities such as fail2ban (https://www.digitalocean.com/community/articles/how-to-protect-ssh-with-fail2ban-on-ubuntu-12-04) may also be helpful.

From my own experience, it is generally "learn-as-you-go". On my own setup, I had actually setup most of it on a local VM at home, unexposed to the outside, before transferring the configuration to my server.

Great point re: testing things out locally (or, at a minimum, on a different cloud server) b/f deploying something to your production server. As a recent shared-hosting-convert myself, I learned this all-important principle the hard way.

On that front, I highly recommend a Vagrant box inside of VirtualBox (both of which are free).

For an overview on how Vagrant can be used to develop your WordPress site, locally, check out: Why & How-To Set Up a WordPress Local-Development Environment With Vagrant.
by Pablo Carranza
Learn a bunch about setting up a WordPress local-dev environment with Vagrant.
Thanks Pablo of vD and mist1024. The information you provided are pretty helpful.
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