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Woe using server-side statistics

Woe using server-side statistics

Server-side stats like Awstat uses web server log files to determine access from, date and time etc. Most control panels come with server-side stats.

You might not be using them but web statistics are important. You will never know if you ever need it. If you have a website, you make sure they are working. However, I recommend you to use free analytics tools from Google for example.

Why? It is about accuracy.  Do you mean the server-side stats is not accurate? Not exactly until you are using …A proxy service like Cloudflare, Sucuri or similar.

If you need web analytics I suggest you start using external service like Google analytics, As soon as your website uses a proxy service like Sucuri or similar, your visitors hit the proxy instead come directly to the web server.

Some worst situation. you forget to configure ‘x-forward’ to the web server configuration. Your web server is collecting your firewall or proxy IP addresses and not your visitors.

These proxies, they cache your content, in other words, your visitors did come to you but your web server will not able to detect them.

Basically, try not using the server-side web stats even you are not using any web application firewall. But we never know as web security has become very important for websites. I’m sure you do not want to read data from two different places.

About Plesk Onyx

About Plesk Onyx

Not long ago, we have briefly spoken on Plesk Onyx vs cPanel. There are pros and cons of these control panels. However, I like Plesk Onyx a little more.

In Chinese, we call it 先入为主 means the first impression. Honestly speaking, it’s easier to navigate on Plesk as compare to its competitors.

Recent years, Plesk Onyx is stable and reliable, it is not bug-free, actually, I haven’t seen anything like that. When I have encountered an issue, at most times I’m able to get a solution or at least a workaround from the knowledge base.

I felt that the support team has done a very good job. People like us prefer looking into the KB than writing an email to the support team. Basically, we want to solve the issue fast.

Other things I want to mention, it is their extensions. I’m overwhelmed by the extensions available. They do not cost a lot and there are many for different purposes.

If you are a Plesk Onyx user, I can see a few of them are useful. Like the Kernelcare, imunify360 and anti-spam from SpamExperts and MagicSpam. There are a few free extensions are useful too like the watchdog, Pagespeed etc.

In Plesk Onyx, you can switch on HTTP/2 when your Nginx is enabled. HTTP/2 is faster and more secure if you are not aware. I also suggest you use PHP-FPM for better performance, the PHP website performs better in FPM.

A few things to do on your control panel

A few things to do on your control panel

What do you do when you first received your hosting with Plesk or cPanel? It is common for you to set up a user account and uploads a website. I’m sure you do that. It’s nothing wrong if you are a shared hosting user. Actually, you are a tenant, is using part of the control panel, not the entire server.

However, things are different on a VPS and dedicated server. But most times, I’m still seeing the client neglected some of the settings I’m going to mention later.

Since VPS and the dedicated server is entire own by you, so as well the control panel if you are using Plesk or cPanel. The settings you will be doing it in prior to setting up your websites. Please take mote cPanel known as WHM for the server administrator, the root user.

a. Whether you are using WHM (cPanel) or Plesk Onyx, update your admin & root user’s default password. Do not use the default password.

b. Check the server hostname, make sure they are resolvable and PTR (rDNS) is set up.

c. Server time is correct where it is tallied to your time zone.

d. Your update is turned on and its frequency.

e. The RBL on your email service for anti-spam filtering.

f. Mod_security is switched on.

g, The strength of the password is set to ‘strong’ or above.

h. Monitor the space left on this server.

Actually, there are other things you might consider to go through and set them up. However, the above is the important task I suggest you do prior to start using your server.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plesk Onyx or cPanel?

Plesk Onyx or cPanel?

I would say this is a question for you when you are subscribing a web hosting. Some may have been using cPanel and some use Plesk. Whatever the case do you actually need them? The control panels are not free, they are selling in monthly or paid upfront yearly for a discount.

So, the question is do you need them? And which one? I have been dealing with many Linux and cpanelWindows servers, and my answer is yes. However, cPanel is limited to Linux only. If you have a Windows server, a control panel might not be necessary but it is making your life easier and save time on a Linux server.

It has to do with the operating system. In my opinion, this is the reason why you need it on a Linux server and it is not a must or you simply forget about it. So what to do with the operating system? On a Windows server, it offers a GUI and most items are manageable through the administrator’s interface.

plesk onyxUnlike a Linux server, you can operate a Windows server with little understanding. Just Google searches and navigate on a Windows server, you might find setting up your website is pretty straight forward, Thanks to the GUI, it is easy to understand the steps and what to execute.

Linux server uses a SHELL, and commands can be compleated. You might need customization for some hosted situation and these adjustments done on configuration are in text format. Any mistyped or misconfiguration can cause the service related refuse to start.

Each time you have made any changes to a configuration you need to reload to take effect. To set up a website like WordPress and install the required services and components, you will take more time on a Linux server than Windows server.

Especially to a novice, it is difficult to set up on a Linux server but the success rate is high on a Windows server. So that’s mean to say it a good idea to have a control panel on Linux server but you can dave if it a Windows server.

Now, we know high chance we will need a control panel if you own a Linux server, However, cPanel or Plesk Onyx works best for you? Actually, this control panel has targetted a different type of customers in my opinion. If you are a beginner and do not spend much time to understand each function, I suggest Plesk. However, if you want to dive deeper and better control on the server, goes with cPanel.

I personally like Plesk but sometimes I hate it when I want to do a bit more like changing the behaviour of my mail service, I always ended up in SHELL but it might not be the case for cPanel. One thing I’m sure is you will save plenty of time and it is much easier working with a control panel on a Linux server.

Most control panels work well with CentOS Linux distribution, thus it is popular.

All Support for version 11.30 Ends April 2, 2019

All Support for version 11.30 Ends April 2, 2019

Today cPanel told us; As of April 2, 2019, cPanel L.L.C. is dropping all support for cPanel & WHM version 11.30.

According to cPanel, there are still some servers running cPanel & WHM version 11.30 in use today! Version 11.30 reached End Of Life status back in January 2013 and has not received updates since that time.

cPanel wants you to know that with this action of ending support for 11.30, they will also end support for BSD, and anything not CentOS or RHEL. Please review these documents for more information:
cPanel & WHM End of Life Policy
cPanel & WHM Upgrade Blockers

Please also note that support for cPanel & WHM version 11.32, which reached End Of Life status back in August 2013, will be dropped, next. Our data tells us that there are servers still running on that tier as well.

So, if you are still using 11.30, need to act fast. Vastspace is cPanel NOC Partner.

Modsecurity in cPanel

Another great feature in WHM/ cPanel easily neglected is the modsecurity. It is useful you have not got any web protection like Sucuri Firewall Pro. Users did not enable this feature to protect their open sourced website like WordPress, Joomla etc. This module is enabled by default but there is no rule to process. So it is as good as it is disabled.

Go to modsecurity to install vendors, I use OWSAP commonly. And remember to enable to process the rules in configuration. The rules will stop common attacks and viabilities of your website. This is important feature to those do not have ant web protection.

Transfer Tools in WHM/ cPanel

This is a very useful tool in WHM/ cPanel. But many server admin or users have neglected this. Either it is not often used or the control panel has many features and too clustered. But nevertheless, today I’m showing you these tools found in WHM/ cPanel.

transfer tool in cpanelThere are 2 transfer tools might be handy if you are moving to another host. The Restore a Full Backup/cpmove File and the transfer Tool. So both do the same job but the processes are different. You must know these tools in case one has an error. Restore a Full Backup/cpmove File is kind of semi-migration tool. You go to the website via cPanel of the source server and do a Full backup, The backup will be in certain formatted name recognised by cPanel as a restoration when it has completed. The backup file will be located in your home directory. You can either use rsync if you have the root access or use FTP to the source server. Place the backup file in the backup home directory of the destination server, and you use Restore a Full Backup/cpmove File to restore a backup file.

On a full backup, you can also use FTP 0r SCP remotely dump the backup file to the destination server also. But I found that rsync is more reliable. It is a personal preference, o it is about transfer a file from the source to a destination server.

transfer toolThe other is the transfer tool. The tool migrates the desired accounts or websites from the source server to the destination server. So the transfer tool might be suitable to an intermedia user. You need root or sudo users to access, to migrate the accounts. After you have initiated a transfer, you do not need to stare or watch them.  You can safely close your browser, and the session is still active. You can come back to review the entire transfer process later. Most are self-explanatory, I will not further elaborate.

These 2 migration tools have a high success rate. Even you are migrating a website from another control panel, which limited to the ‘Transfer Tool’. They have saved us plenty of time and effort.

CSF and WHM/ cPanel

This is commonly found in a WHM / cPanel VPS or dedicated server. Actually, CSF is effective and it is free. A lot of server admin will install them as soon as they have received it. But seriously speaking, how many users know how to tweak and optimise the performance. Honestly, very few and I always see people left them in auto-pilot mode and full stop. So what is CSF? Yes, it is a firewall and it is software based. It is installed onto the server.

There is nothing wrong to install a piece of free and useful software. Wait for a second, did I just say it was useful? In certain extent, it is a Yes. But I have seen many cases, CSF is added burden to the user.

I have seen many as I have said, they simply install and turned on the firewall. If you are doing this, you might accidentally block good users or in the worst situation, you are blocked. When such a thing has happened, may have treated the service is not available and it can be frustrating especially it has happened often. There is the case, like packet loss when you are pinging the server IP or domain name. This is because of CSF. Simply turn it off and everything is back to normal.

Don’t get me wrong, CSF is useful but you need to know how to use it. Without, it can be a hassle for you. So I never buy an idea like installing a software firewall on the server. Actually, if the attacks come, the firewall will eat up the resources on the server and eventually the server performance is affected. But a web firewall like Sucuri Firewall Pro does not install onto the server, it has offloaded the server and because of many distributed points, it helps to speed up a website if you are staying further from the source of the website.