Minimal How to Setup VPS Server

Virtual Private Servers (VPS) come pre installed with operating system. Debian Linux is used in this how to. Debian’s apt packages are real time savers and they require minimum work. First thing to do is to install firewall and ntp service. Make a SSH connection with PuTTY to your VPS to install the programs.



PicoFIREWALL is a Linux kernels iptable’s configuration script and it requires minimum work to install and configure. Add the following line in your file /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb sarge ethz_sed

Install picoFIREWALL:

apt-get update; apt-get install picofirewall

PicoFIREWALL is now installed and running, but aknowledge that with default settings picoFIREWALL prevents all incoming connections into the server, including SSH. And since you don’t have a console login for the VPS server you have to make some configuration to be able to login again. Edit /etc/picofirewall/open_log.cfg file and add:


This opens SSH port 22 connection to all ips. You could use your desktop client’s ip and add instead something like:,tcp,22

But remember that your internet connection’s ip might change. If you know any computer you have access and whitch ip is not changin, it might be good backup to add that ip as allowed. I don’t know what is the best solution if you only have a changing ip and you don’t want to make port 22 open to everybody. One might think that services like DynDNS is the answer, but these services don’t make different the fact that your connections ip is still changing and kernels iptables operates only on ip address layer and DNS layer is higher layer.

If and when you want to open the http port 80 edit /etc/picofirewall/open_log.cfg file and add:


After changing picoFIREWALL’s configuration run:

/etc/init.d/picofirewall start



There is no reason why you would not like to have a exact time in your server. So install ntp:

apt-get install ntp
apt-get install ntp-server

To set the time first time you have to stop the ntp service, set the time and start the sevice again:

/etc/init.d/ntp-server stop
/etc/init.d/ntp-server start

If you notice that ntpdate won’t change the time of the server, your VPS hardware is propably forcing Linux time synchronization and it is propably not the exact time. Then you have to edit /etc/sysctl.con file and add the line to disable forced synchronization:

xen.independent_wallclock = 1

More info about virtualization’s time synchronization.

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Minimal How to Install SSH Clients


PuTTY 0.58

Download PuTTY (putty.exe). You can also download PSCP (pscp.exe) from the same download page for coping files from command prompt. Copy both files into a folder in your hard drive. When you start the PuTTY, it will ask the login configuration. Default SSH port is 22.


WinSCP 3.8.2

Download WinSCP as standalone application (winscp382.exe). Copy the file into a folder in your hard drive. When you start the program, it will ask the login configuration. Default SSH port is 22. From WinSCP F.A.Q.: How do I change user after login (e.g. su root)?.

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Minimal How to Start a Blog


Desktop Client

Web Server

  • Choose a server platform: There are two major options for bloggin platform: to use a free service like Blogger or to have have a hosted service with your own domain. The latter option can be a hosted website, virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server. With a free service you have only littel control over your blog. Hosted website might be the best options for easy setup and maintainance but in vps is the best option having total control over your server and blogging software with usually reasonable price.
  • Order the hosting service: Choosing the hosting service possibly depends if you want to have it in your country or somewhere else. You can start looking options for example with Go Daddy.
  • Register the domain: Usually domain registeration is included in the hosting service.
  • Install and configure software: Linux, firewall, ntp, Apache, MySQL and PHP.

Blogging Software

  • Choose a software: For mainly blogging WordPress is a good choise and for content management system (CMS) there is Drupal. These are both php choises. There are also choises for other paltforms, but for this purpose I would say that php is a agile choise.
  • Install and configure the software: WordPress has a good documentation.
  • Choose or create the theme for the blog: WordPress Themes
  • Start blogging

This is a minimal how to start a blog list. More about them later, but with the list you are ready to go. There are many more things to learn and consider, like writing content, blog networks, search engine optimization (SEO), monetizing blog and so on. Also more about them later.

About topic planning there is not going to be more here for now because, as you can see, ProBlogger is an excellent resourse for that.

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