Purchasing your first VPS can be quite a daunting and confusing experience, with a lot to learn during the process, such as how to configure your VPS and install the necessary software. Servers generally come with just an operating system installed, often Linux or Windows, or sometimes a control panel such as cPanel. While your VPS control panel provides a console to allow you to control the server, this isn’t as good as the server’s own management systems and is best used only in emergencies.
So how do you configure your server?
For a Windows server, the configuration is done using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). From a Windows computer, this is easily done by pressing Start and then typing in “mstsc.exe”. The search should then show you the option for “Remote Desktop Connection”. Press Enter to launch it. You will then see a prompt for a computer to connect to, either your server’s IP address or domain name. Once you have typed the IP or domain, hit Enter (or click the connect button), and your computer will connect to the server and present you with a login Window similar to your own computer’s. You can then log in using the credentials provided for your VPS in your VPS.NET control panel. The window will then change so it shows you the desktop on the server, which can then be controlled in the same way that you do a regular Windows PC.
Configuring a Linux server
A Linux server is a little different. Linux uses a protocol called Secure SHell (SSH) for management purposes. Windows does not support this as standard so you’ll need to install an application to talk to the Linux servers. A good example for this is PuTTY, which is freely available for you to install and run on Windows from https://chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/. With PuTTY installed, running it from the start menu will present you with a configuration screen which you can use to connect to your server. The main screen for this will contain a field for a “Host Name” with a radio button underneath selected to connect using SSH. Enter your VPS’s IP address or domain name into the “Host Name” box, then you can hit Enter or click open to begin connecting. You’ll then see a black window with a green cursor appear along with a warning that the server’s host key is not cached in PuTTY’s registry. The host key is a way of the server identifying itself. This warning will appear the first time you connect to any server, and clicking yes will save the host key and PuTTY will only warn you in future if that key changes. You will then be prompted on the black screen with the text “Login as” at which you can then enter the username for your account as given in the control panel (normally root). You will then be prompted for a password, which will be on your VPS control panel for the server. Once logged in, you will be at your Linux server command prompt, all configuration is done at a command line using a text-based input.
If you selected a control panel on your server, then you normally connect to those in a web browser. cPanel as an example of one you may connect to by entering your VPS’s IP address into your web browser’s navigation bar followed by “:2087”, for example: “https://192.168.0.50:2087“. This would present you with a login screen asking for a username and password. Similar to before, you would use the credentials given on your VPS.NET control panel’s page for your server. Once logged in you’ll be presented with a screen that presents the various options for the things you can do to manage your server using the control panel.
From this point, you should be ready to move on with your new VPS.NET server and use it for its intended purpose. Happy hosting!
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