It can be nice to dream that running a VPS will be easy sailing and trouble-free. However, the unfortunate reality is that sometimes things go wrong. Unless you are experienced with the technical side of your VPS, solving any problems can take some time. Which is exactly why we’ll look at how to troubleshoot your issue and, if necessary, how to ask for help.
The first step in troubleshooting is establishing exactly what has gone wrong. Often the problem that you see is just a symptom of the larger issue. Searching the internet for your symptom may leave you scratching your head since the same symptom can result from different problems. So to figure out what your exact issue is, the best thing to do is to check the log files for the software you are using. If you have a problem with your website, check your web server logs for the time that the problem occurred. Similarly, for email problems, it is best to check your email server logs.
Once you’ve found the exact error message that relates to your problem, you can start looking for solutions. Copying and pasting the text of the error into a search engine will typically get you plenty of responses, especially if others have had the same problem.
If your problem is relatively rare, it’s often helpful to post help requests on forums for the software you are using. Other members of the community might have the answers you need. Make sure that you provide plenty of details about your problem – including the problem itself, what you were doing at the time it began, how you came to notice it and the log entries that you found for it. Include details of the links you found when searching for your problem and the solution steps that you have already tried. The more information you can provide, the easier it becomes for someone to help you and the faster you will a solution.
Unfortunately, not all problems are as simple as dealing searching for log files for error messages. For example, if you are having network issues between your server and your users, there may not be logged errors. To solve these problems, you may need to do some footwork to determine the source of the problem. In our network example, you may need to run traceroutes between your server and computer or MTRs.
Sometimes a problem may be something that you can’t solve by yourself and you may need to call in more help or contact your support team to solve the issue. You’ll need to provide as much information as you can about your problem and the results of any tests you have performed. Again, the more detail you can provide the easier and quicker it is for the support team to help you. If you simply ask without providing the additional information then you will most likely spend additional time providing this information later on in the conversation.
Hopefully, you never need to avail yourself of this advice and all your server management runs smoothly. If it’s not, then you now know the best way to go about solving your problems.
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