Posts Tagged ‘I.T.’

(mt) MediaTemple migrated my Server and broke my LEMP stack. (Part 1)


First I have to  start by saying this is mostly my fault. (mt) MediaTemple has been good to me. They even emailed me to tell me that they where going to migrate my server to newer hardware. I should have taken the time to do it myself, but I am lazy. They also sent me an email telling me I had to do nothing. Luckily, support is very understanding and they lent me a free (VE) for 30 days to configure and migrate my configuration myself.


The Nitty Gritty

 After (mt) MediaTemple migrated my server I found all the web roots for the domains I managed changed. Blogs and php files would not load able to load properly. I also discovered that Apache was installed and Nginx was not started, although installed. I did try stopping Apache but there were still so many things going wrong I decided to start fresh. Plus it would give me a chance to upgrade my LEMP Stack to a more current version. I had two failed tries, the caveat being you had to load the stack in order. Installing Mysql before Nginx causes apt-get to install Apache. Before starting I had to secure my server by changing the /tmp directory and updating my root password. You should consider securing your server further.

I choose to break this up into two post because it would have been very long. Not to mention I took a nap in between.

Here were my steps:

    1. Install an OS. I chose Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.
      1. I ran into an issue were I received an error updating
        1. perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings ubuntu
          1. perl: warning: Setting locale failed. perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings: LANGUAGE = “en_US.UTF-8″, LC_ALL = “en_US.UTF-8″, LANG = “en_US.UTF-8″ are supported and installed on your system. perl: warning: Falling back to the standard locale (“C”). locale: Cannot set LC_CTYPE to default locale: No such file or directory locale: Cannot set LC_MESSAGES to default locale: No such file or directory locale: Cannot set LC_ALL to default locale: No such file or directory
      2. I had to install the English base language pack
        1. apt-get install language-pack-en-base
        2. export LANGUAGE=en_US.UTF-8
      3. Then I had to change to the version of English I was using.
        1. export LANGUAGE=en_US.UTF-8
          export LANG=en_US.UTF-8
          export LC_ALL=en_US.UTF-8
          locale-gen en_US.UTF-8
          dpkg-reconfigure locales
    2. Install Nginx
      1.  apt-get install nginx
    3. Install PHP
      1. You can just install the php5-fpm package, but I am going to do some other stuff later, so I installed more packages.
        1. apt-get install php5-fpm php5-cli php5-common php5-curl php5-gd \
            php5-mcrypt php5-mysql php5-pgsql php5-sqlite php5-tidy php5-xmlrpc \
            php5-xsl php5-intl php5-imagick php5-xdebug php-apc php-pear
        2. Default is fine for now, but my default config caused my server to spawn 50 processes and consume 80% of my memory. I had to tweak it but that will be a different Blog post.
    4. Install MYSQL
      1. apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client
      2. You are required to setup a root password. Choose something Strong.
    5. I then created all my users for managing the multiple domains I have hosted.
      1. adduser myuser
        1. I gave them all the same passwords
        2. Then set sudo privileges
          1. visudo
            1. # User privilege specification
              root      ALL=(ALL) ALL
              users     ALL=(ALL) ALL

I then took a nap because I still had to rsync all the Data from my old/newly migrated server. Like I said I failed the first couple times, Nginx wouldn’t bind one time and PHP wouldn’t load another. The server has to be reset to default, that takes time. Then the OS takes time to reinstall. Factor in having to accomplish this after I got off work that evening, I was pretty exhausted. I also have to mention that it took almost all day for the new (VE) Server to be provisioned when support said it would only take 15 minutes. Please check in for Part 2.

Moving your email to Google Apps

Working in I.T. for many years the biggest energy among all users is email. From my desktop support background I can assure you that I have had my share of email problems and solutions. My favorite email solution has to be Google Apps. Google Apps is a step just above your normal Gmail email. Both are free, but Apps allows you to use a domain name that you own or gives you the option to purchase one during setup for $10 a year. Included with Google Apps is Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, and much much more… I will go into more detail about the other services Google apps has to offer in later posts. Right now we’ll just be concerned with the initial setup of your domain and email.

You can sign up for Google Apps using the domain or website you already own, or purchase a new domain from one of Googles registration partners.

Lets get started?

  1. Go to Google Apps (for free) and click the big blue button to begin. If you are purchasing a domain you must first setup a Google Apps free account, even if you are trying to setup a Google Business Account. Google makes you get a free Apps account then you can upgrade to a free trial for Google Business. Google Business is also a great pay for service that allows you to use Outlook exchange services. $5 a year per user.
  2. Follow the instructions that appear to sign up your domain and create your Google Apps account, it is very self explanatory. The instructions are easy to follow, but there are a few things:
    • If you are setting up your own domain, you have to prove to Google that you own the domain or website. This requires that you have access to any one of the following: the domain’s or website’s DNS records (managed by your domain host or registrar), the server that hosts your domain’s web site (via FTP or SSH), or a Google Analytics account for your domain. For more details Verifying your Domain.
    • Next you need to create an email address at your domain where you’ll send and receive mail ( You are going to use this email and password to log in to your Google Apps account and manage the domain to add users, as well as access your own Google Apps services.
    • You have to provide an alternate email address that’s not in your Google Apps domain. I used a gmail address that you can easily setup fro free. This is incase you forget you password  and Google needs to send you new login credentials. This should continue to be a valid address.

After you sign up, we’ll take you to your Google Apps administrator control panel. Now you can log in to your new account, verify domain ownership (if you signed up an existing domain), and continue setting up services for your users. click on the Setup link in the navigation bar and you can use the setup wizard to add users and services.

If you’d like to see more details after that, please leave a comment, and I will consider updating this post with more detailed steps.


Updated CV

I have updated my Resume and CV. If you haven’t checked it out in awhile or ever please Click Here.

I have a new Blog post in the works about setting up your own domain to use Google Email and setting up Google Apps. Stay tuned.

Here is a video I am using to test the Youtube plugin Smart YouTube.



(ve) Project: LNMP (Linux Nginx MySQL PHP-FPM)


As you know, I work for (mt) Media Temple, a great web hosting company. Recently, I procured a (ve) 512 MB server to practice some server administrator tasks. I was looking for a project to really challenge me so I decided to provision a VPS and is as bare-bones as a VPS gets. My server came as a completely raw system with nothing installed but the operating system. No users except the root user, making it somewhat of a true VPS, for me to make whatever I want of it.

So for my challenge I decided to install a LNMP stack: Linux, Nginx, MySql, and PHP-FPM. At the time, I chose PHP-FPM over PHP. I wanted to do something I had very little knowledge about. I started using a few guides from several websites and Wiki’s. So I was able to limp this project along over the span of a few days and frustrations. I had seen a video from WordPress WordCamp 2011 where a co-worker held a presentation about Nginx(engine-X) as a web server, as apposed to a resource intensive Apache configuration. I only had a 512MB server, therefore, I didn’t want any rolling memory binges.

Having not that much knowledge of the differences between Apache and Nginx, I read that Nginx is significantly stripped down, in comparison to Apache. Nginx, which is asynchronous, keeps a low and steady memory-footprint — regardless of traffic . I was able to find plenty of articles, documentation, forums, and Wiki’s to assist me. I have a basic understanding of Linux, and I can use the command line. Nano/vim are my preferred command-line text editors, and I know how to SSH to a bash shell from a remote system using the Terminal application, on my MacBook Pro. I decided not to setup mail on my server, as it’s a hassle and can suck resources. Instead I’m going to setup Google Apps to handle my mail. (Post on that to follow later.)

I went with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid, as it’s an easy to use Linux distribution, and has a strong community following. LTS has more stable packages, and 10.04 includes the most recent software versions. So I started out with a fresh OS install and a root login. First thing I had to do was secure my server and create an administrator user. I gave my user sudo access, I didn’t disable root access till after I finished my task. I waited until the end of the config, in the small chance that I had to use root for some reason. Good thing, because I did. For security reasons, my (ve) server’s /tmp and /var/tmp directories are mounted as nonexec. However, this causes issues with apt-get/aptitude, as it uses /tmp as a “temporary” directory to pre-install scripts. To resolve this issue, I configured apt to not use /tmp and use /var/local/tmp instead. (I needed root to have permissions to write to the apt configuration directory) I could then update Unbuntu with apt-get. I then began to secure my server.

root@ve:~# adduser jabo
root@ve:~# visudo
jabo@ve:~$ sudo apt-get update
jabo@ve:~$ sudo apt-get -u upgrade

Once done, I installed Nginx using apt-get. Restarted, with no errors. I then checked my IP address and I got the happy Nginx ‘Welcome Page.’ Next, I had to prepare the web directory where my sites would be served from. Then add them to the www-data group, as well as my administrator user. I setup the Virtual Hosting of two more domains in Nginx. I then created a virtual host file for Nginx in the sites-available directory, essentially telling Nginx what ports to server traffic and the location of log files for each domain. Restarted Nginx again, and no errors. On to ‘M,’ for MySQL.

jabo@ve:~$ sudo apt-get install nginx
jabo@ve:~$ sudo /etc/init.d/nginx start
jabo@ve:~$ sudo usermod -a -G www-data user1
jabo@ve:~$ sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www
jabo@ve:~$ sudo chmod -R 775 /var/www

MySQL is easy. With Apt-get of MySQL, all I had to do was configure a root user and password. I also created two database users and two databases for my later install of WordPress. PHP was not so easy.

jabo@ve:/var/www$ sudo apt-get install mysql-server php5-mysql mysql-client

In my subconscious, I understood PHP-FPM to mean that I needed to install PHP first, then the PHP-FPM module. This is wrong. With a scratch install you should just go straight to PHP-FPM. I reinstalled my server three times, and changed operating systems. Luckily, I had made back-ups of all the configuration files, so the reinstall, or reverting my server back to default, was painless. Finally, I got it figured out and got the PHP5-FPM service to restart without any errors!

jabo@ve:/var/www$ sudo aptitude install python-software-properties
jabo@ve:/var/www$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:brianmercer/php
jabo@ve:/var/www$ sudo aptitude -y update
jabo@ve:/var/www$ sudo aptitude -y install php5-cli php5-common php5-mysql php5-suhosin php5-gd
jabo@ve:/var/www$ sudo aptitude -y install php5-fpm php5-cgi php-pear php5-memcache php-apc
jabo@ve:/var/www$ sudo service php5-fpm start

The last step in the whole process was to install WordPress and configure it to talk with the MySQL databases I had created earlier for my domains. After that I did a little bit of Nginx and MySQL tuning. However, I’m leaving that for a later post because I have had my fill of “geek-speak” for the evening. Please enjoy the new domain I created, .

Update: This Blog and the rest of are running on my (ve) 512MB Server.

Hello world!

Welcome to My Blog. This is my first post. I uploaded a bunch of Plugins to test the optimization of my Server. I work in the I.T. industry as a Customer Service Agent. I feel like I should tell you more about myself, but then you wouldn’t come back….

Stay tuned for Updates to myHome Page


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