How To Install VestaCP and Set Up a Website on Ubuntu 14.04
Warning: On April 8th, 2018, a vulnerability was discovered in VestaCP that allowed attackers to compromise host systems and send malicious traffic targeting other servers. As a result, DigitalOcean has disabled port
8083 and VestaCP has taken down installation files until the issue has been patched which will affect new and existing installations. To find out more about ongoing developments and learn how to mitigate this issue, read the Community question about this vulnerability.
The Vesta Control Panel is a free, open source website control panel with website, email, database, and DNS functionalities built in. By the end of this tutorial we will have Vesta installed and running on Ubuntu 14.04 with a working website and email account.
The following are required to complete this tutorial:
This tutorial uses
example.com as the example hostname. Replace it with your domain name throughout this tutorial.
- An Ubuntu 14.04 server
- A registered domain name pointed to this Droplet. You can read this series on hostnames for more information.
- An A record pointing
example.comto your Droplet’s IP
- An A record pointing
ns1.example.comto your Droplet’s IP
- An A record pointing
ns2.example.comto your Droplet’s IP
- An A record pointing
panel.example.comto your Droplet’s IP
- A CNAME record pointing
- Filezilla or another FTP client installed on your computer
- A non-root user with sudo privileges (Initial Server Setup with Ubuntu 14.04 explains how to set this up.)
Unless otherwise specified, all the commands in this tutorial should be run as a non-root user with sudo access.
Step 1 — Installing Vesta
The first step is to download the installation script. The installation script requires direct root access, so make sure you are the root user before executing the commands in this step.
- curl -O http://vestacp.com/pub/vst-install.sh
Then, as root, execute the installation script:
- bash vst-install.sh
When asked if you want to proceed, enter
y. You will then be asked to enter a valid email address, enter your email address and press
ENTER. Now you will be asked to enter a hostname. This can be whatever you want, but generally it’s a domain name, like
Note: Whatever domain name you enter when installing Vesta will be used for the URL of the Vesta control panel. For example, if you enter
panel.example.com, https://panel.example.com:8083 will be used to access Vesta. If you are using Vesta to setup a website for
example.com, do not use
example.com during the installation process. Use
panel.example.com and then setup the
example.com website domain using the Vesta control panel.
The installation process will begin. It claims to take 15 minutes but I’ve found it to be around 5 with SSD and Gigabit Internet speeds, like on DigitalOcean Droplets.
This installation script will install the control panel and all its dependencies to your server. This includes:
- Nginx Web Server
- Apache Web Server (as backend)
- Bind DNS Server
- Exim mail server
- Dovecot POP3/IMAP Server
- MySQL Database Server
- Vsftpd FTP Server
- Iptables Firewall + Fail2Ban
- Roundcube mail client
It will also change your hostname to whatever hostname you entered at the beginning, however it will not change the hostname in your DigitalOcean control panel. I recommend you change that hostname as well for Pointer DNS records to match your domain, which will at the very least help emails sent from your server not to get sent to spam.
After the script finishes its work you’ll have some information displayed on your screen, which will look a bit like this:
======================================================= _| _| _|_|_|_| _|_|_| _|_|_|_|_| _|_| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _|_|_| _|_| _| _|_|_|_| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _|_|_|_| _|_|_| _| _| _| Congratulations, you have just successfully installed Vesta Control Panel https://panel.example.com:8083 username: admin password: v6qyJwSfSj
This should conclude basic installation of your control panel. We can now continue to the web panel.
You no longer need to be logged in as the root user. Go back to your non-root sudo user now. For example:
- su - sammy
Step 2 — Setting up Vesta
Now we will set up your Vesta control panel. Go to the URL given to you at the end of the install. In my case it was
https://panel.example.com:8083/, but yours will vary based on the hostname you entered at the beginning. You will get an SSL warning, like shown below:
This is completely normal because it is using a self-signed certificate. It is completely safe to continue. Click to proceed anyway. The exact steps vary by web browser. For Chrome, click
Advanced and then click
Proceed. Once you’re at the login screen, enter the two credentials displayed in the server console after the installation finished. These credentials were also emailed to you using the email you entered at the beginning of the install.
The first thing we’ll do is change the admin user password. In the top right-hand corner of the web panel click the admin link:
In the Password field, enter any password you’d like, or click Generate to make Vesta generate a secure password for you.
While you’re on this screen, you can optionally change other settings as well such as name and language. Additionally, at the bottom of the screen, you should set Nameservers for your server. These will be subdomains of your own domain, and you will point future domains you want to set up on Vesta to them. Generally you would choose
Press Save at the bottom of the page when you’re finished.
Step 3 — Setting up a Website
Now we can set up your first website. On the homepage of Vesta, click WEB at the top.
Then click the green + button. In the Domain field on the next screen, enter the domain you’d like your website to be accessible from, or the one you registered to point to this Droplet’s IP address such as
example.com. Also in some situations you may have multiple IP addresses under the IP Address dropdown, usually if you have Private Networking enabled. Make sure the IP address listed is your public IP address for your Droplet. Now click the Advanced Options link. Under Aliases enter any subdomains you also want this website to be accessible from, such as
www.example.com. You can also choose webalizer as a statistics option under Web Statistics for server side analytics. This option will give you accurate analytics for your website.
You should also choose Additional FTP so you can easily upload files to your hosting. Enter a Username and a Password in their respective fields. Note that whatever you enter in the username field will have
admin_ added as a prefix (entering example will result in admin_example).
Be sure to click Add at the bottom of the page after making any configurations you’d like.
Note: FTP connections are not encrypted. The username, password, and any files sent over an FTP connection can be intercepted and read. Use a unique password and do not send sensitive files over this connection.
On your computer, you now need to connect via FTP to your Droplet:
- ftp your_droplet_ip
Alternatively, you can use a program such as Filezilla to connect to your website via FTP.
There will be a bunch of files in the directory, but we only need to worry about the
public_html directory. That’s where all the files that are web accessible are stored. You can edit the
index.html file to whatever you’d like, or upload your own. Anything uploaded will be instantly available at
example.com. Be warned, any files you upload with the same filename will overwrite existing files on your server. Otherwise, by default, your website landing page will show up like this:
http://example.com now to make sure it works.
If you want to make changes to your domain later, click *WEB at the top of the Vesta control panel. You will see the domain you just created and the domain name for the Vesta control panel, such as panel.example.com.
Step 4 — Setting Up an Email Account
Now we can set up an email account, something personalized like
email@example.com. In Vesta, click MAIL at the top of the screen. On the mail screen hover over the domain you’d like your email on and click ADD ACCOUNT when the button shows up. On the following screen, enter a username in the Account field and a password for the account in the Password field. You can press Add now or check out the Advanced Options. In those options you have three fields.
Quota allows you to set a mailbox size limit. This is useful if you want to conserve disk space or you’re making an account for another user. You can press the infinity symbol also to give it ‘unlimited’ storage.
Aliases allows you to add other email addresses that forward to that main account.
Forward to allows you to enter an email address to forward all this email to. For instance if you have an email account on another service and you want to keep your emails there, you can enter that email, so emails from
firstname.lastname@example.org. If you use this option, it might be good to check the Do not store forwarded email checkbox as well, to make sure storage isn’t wasted on your server.
The email you just set up can be easily accessed from
http://panel.example.com/webmail/. Simply login on that screen with the username and password you just set up. It’s important to note you need to include the domain in the Username field. If your account name was
hello you should enter
Congratulations, you now have a fully functioning web and email server installed on your Droplet. You can repeat Steps 3 and 4 to add more websites and emails. Also check out the Vesta documentation if you have any issues. Or if you need further help, ask a question at DigitalOcean’s great Community Q/A center.