VPS is great choice when you would like to learn about server management or after outgrew shared server service. Most of the time, you would like to reduce the cost as more as possible. For this concern, a cheap unmanaged vps server is your best choice. But how to keep your server in healthy state with high security? We have compiled a list of softwares that will help with easy server management and better security.
Centos is the most popular choice for linux VPS by webmasters because it's also used by most hosting groups for its high performance and great source list. You just need to send few commands to keep your system up to date and always in safe place. By default, it's created from pre-configured system templates that just come with basic web server service. We have to install other softwares by our own for production server purpose.
Before we start, we need to update the system software repositories so we can use "yum" commands directly for software installation easily. Please read this guide for tutorials on how to manage repository source. Please note all below operations are done through root login.
Mysql and phpmyadmin
Mysql is a must for your vps server, just send out "yum install mysql server5" to get the latest version mysql installed. You might don't feel good to manage all databases by command lines so you need to have phpmyadmin installed. just type "yum install phpmyadmin" to have it installed.
FTP is a must if you're going to upload/download files to vps server. We highly recommend to use Proftp for best performance and security. Full documentaion can be found on this article. You might also need to add extra users with different permissions. For better management we recommend ProFTPd Admin for webinterface administration.
phpsysinfo is an open sourced server resource usage monitoring tool which can show up your system usage in real time. This includes disk usage, CPU/memory usage. You can download it directly on sourceforge site, there's no installation required, just unzip to your website working directory and browse to it.
Email is important feature for any server. It's easy and quick to get it enabled on centos server. The most popular choice is postfix. Full documentation can be found on this krizna article. Once configured you can install any other webmail management scripts like roundcube for professional email service.
Kloxo control panel
Most of the time, you might not sure what to install for a professional and secure server setup. For such case, we highly recommend one of the most powerful and free control panel software "Kloxo". Kloxo is almost the same as some leading control panel solutions and supported by a large community. Fully introduction and installation guidance is available on this official page.
Basically you can configure any service via Kloxo control panel. You can use it for DNS server management, Mail server management, FTP and user management. You can also offer server space to multiple users using kloxo for hosting service providing. It's highly recommended service if you would like to keep everything managed centrally and professionally.
The MUST service for linux server firewall setup. All server end security rules can be defined by iptables perfectly. Documentation is provided on this centos wiki.
It might be little hard to understand various rules. However you don't always have to deal with command lines for professional firewall setup. There's a nice GUI tools provided on iptables.info site. There're multiple tools provided for firewall setup like fwbuilder, ipmenu, easy firewall generator etc. Using this service you can manage all security rules via GUI instead command line window.
Above listed softwares/services are currently configured on our own servers and so far so good for production usage. Of course, you may also need other services based your needs and you may subscribe to a managed vps hosting directly for guaranteed security and support. However, the unmanaged option is always good start to help with further understanding of your server.