Notes on setting up a cloud server.

May 21st, 2018

I’m moving a server that is on very old hardware to a Linode instance with Ubuntu Linux 18.04, Apache, MariaDB, and PHP 7. I know that I am going to have some migration issues since the current server is running Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS.

Setting up Apache and PHP were straightforward, but I ran into problems with MariaDB. I turns out that even if you harden the installation and set a new password for root, you can’t log in with the new password. It uses the password for the root login on the machine. Once I figured that out, I created a user for myself and then installed phpMyAdmin.

Two problems occurred with that installation. First, apparently PHP7 does not include mcrypt, but the newest version of phpMyAdmin do not require it.

Second problem is that the conf file was not installed. I made a symlink to its location and restarted Apache.


username: /etc/apache2/conf-available $ sudo ln -s /etc/phpmyadmin/apache.conf phpmyadmin.conf
sudo systemctl restart apache2

Notes on migrating user accounts to a new server

May 21st, 2018

I found this link that was useful in moving my users to a new machine.


export UGIDLIMIT=1000
awk -v LIMIT=$UGIDLIMIT -F: '($3>LIMIT) && ($3!=65534)' /etc/passwd > /root/migrate/passwd.mig

awk -v LIMIT=$UGIDLIMIT -F: '($3>LIMIT) && ($3!=65534)' /etc/group > /root/migrate/group.mig

awk -v LIMIT=$UGIDLIMIT -F: '($3>LIMIT) && ($3!=65534) {print $1}' /etc/passwd | tee - |egrep -f - /etc/shadow > /root/migrate/shadow.mig

tar -zcvpf /root/migrate/home.tar.gz /home
tar -zcvpf /root/migrate/mail.tar.gz /var/spool/mail

cd /
tar -zxvf /path/to/location/home.tar.gz

cd /
# tar -zxvf /path/to/location/mail.tar.gz

There is one manual step that I needed to do. The procedures above create new groups but do not update the users in existing groups. To find out the current groups for the users run this command:


groups (admin_name)

I only need to do this for the handful of admin users on the system, so I didn’t bother to automate it.

Reboot to see your changes.

Interesting Odometer Reading

April 19th, 2018

Lots of interesting combinations of numbers on the odometer lately. I noticed this one just before I turned off the car.

Updating table with values from another table

January 19th, 2018

I have a database of interesting words on my server that has pronunciations and definitions. On another server, I want to create a database of boring words. Since there is some overlap, I thought I would save some time and populate the new database with pronunciation and definitions from the old one. It is fairly straightforward, just remember to put in the commas to separate the where conditions. I’m using phpMyAdmin and while I don’t think the backtics are required, I go in the habit of using them from writing PHP code. Even though you are only updating one table, you need to put both in the update line.


UPDATE `boring_words`,  `interesting_words` 
SET `boring_words`.`pronunciation` = `interesting_words`.`pronunciation`,
    `boring_words`.`definition` = `interesting_words`.`definition`,
    `boring_words`.`comment` = `interesting_words`.`comment`
WHERE `boring_words`.`word` = `interesting_words`.`word`;

Notes on creating a droplet

January 17th, 2018

I created a new Digital Ocean droplet and mostly followed the tutorials to get things up and running. A couple of things that I need to do to get the environment the way it is on other machines.

I had a bit of trouble with using Public Key Authorization. I think that I was selecting the key by triple clicking until everything was highlighted and then copying. I believe that I got a line feed a the end of the key that was messing up my login attempts. Carefully highlighting just the key seems to have done the trick.

I also was stymied for a while when my site didn’t display. First, since I turned on the firewall I needed to add either www (sudo ufw allow www) or Apache (sudo ufw allow Apache) to the rules. And then verify with sudo ufw status.

When I created the droplet, I destroyed the previous one so I needed to find the DNS records and change the IP address. Unlike other services, DO puts that in Networking.

I need to copy my .bash_profile file over to my home directory and add the line
. ~/.bash_profile to my .profile file.

Reload the profile with source ~/.profile

I also want all of the files in the www directory to be created with the admin group. That way, no matter who created them, I’ll be able to edit them.

You can change the default group for all files created in a particular directory by setting the setgid flag on the directory (chmod g+s _dir_). New files in the directory will then be created with the group of the directory (set using chgrp <group> <dir>). This applies to any program that creates files in the directory. mark4o

The default location for web files is /var/www, which is different than the setup on my older machines. (probably because the default location varies across distributions and over time). I put a symlink to it in the root. sudo ln -s /var/www/ www

I don’t want people to be able to view the directories, especially the images directory, so I disabled that ability by removing the word Indexes from the option line.


<Directory /var/www/>
  Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
  AllowOverride None
  Require all granted
</Directory>

I covered this in earlier posts, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat it. I make a few modifications to the apache config file to keep people from seeing things on the server. I added these lines after the section on .htaccess.


# We don't want people to see .inc files
<Files  ~ "\.inc$">
  Order allow,deny
  Deny from all
</Files>

# Do not allow .git version control files to be viewed
<Directorymatch "^/.*/\.git+/">
  Order deny,allow
  Deny from all
</Directorymatch>

# We don't want people to see .svn files, mainly in Wordpress installs
<Directorymatch "^/.*/\.svn+/">
  Order deny,allow
  Deny from all
</Directorymatch>

On my older servers I have lots of sites and their names end in .com, .net, etc. but on this version of Apache, the a2ensite requires files to end in .conf.

I also had some trouble with the https code that was added to the site by certbot. I took them out after reviewing the output of sudo journalctl -xe.

To install the certbot certificate I went to the page for my setup and followed the directions. I have a .com and .org version of this site and allow access using www and without so I need the certificate to work for all four of these. Rather than getting four certificates, I got one for the name I will use most, the .org, and then added the ones for www and .com.

Unfortunately, at the moment there is a security vulnerability so the normal method does not work.

Instead I had to stop Apache and run


sudo certbot --authenticator webroot --webroot-path /var/www/ACOV/ --installer apache2 -d example.org

sudo certbot certonly --cert-name example.org -d example.com,www.example.org,www.example.com

service apache2 restart

I had some problems at first because I had not set up the DNS records at Digital Ocean correctly. I typed the whole domain into the add a record field, when I should have just typed www. It added www.example.com.examp instead of www.example.org. After I fixed that it created the certificates and I checked them.

Unfortunately, something else is not right because Apache is not serving up the SSL connection. I’ll update the post when I figure it out.

Well Golly


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