World’s Greatest Programmer and Admin

Just tested my Apache install using my IP address and got the testing page!

So, obviously, where I put the index.htm file is NOT where my little site will actually live … so, now I have some hunting to do … but at least it works.

Trying to use my domain name still results in “This site can’t be reached … DNS address could not be found.” But that’s okay–knowing that Apache is working and my little server is accessible to the public narrows down what I the problem(s) might be.

Also, I transferred my domain so my new host is also my registrar and that should, theoretically, make things easier.

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CentOS Does Things Differently

BTW, FYI, all of these new posts are living documents as I learn. Do not assume they are complete or comprehensive.

Thing #1

CWP (or, CentOS Web Panel) is a free alternative to, for example, cPanel. It looks very nice. I’m waiting to install and try it because I want to learn all the command line methods for doing all of this. My new host telling me that I must do everything via command line and do it myself when neither is true most significantly when something absolutely had to be done using the SolusVM and/or they say they won’t do something/anything and they do crap without telling me that overrides something I’ve already done means I have to be able to find do and fix things with no other tools or assistance. Also, it means I can follow and understand all those MySQL tutes that do everything via command line.

My wife says I should pay someone to take care of all this frustrating and confusing stuff that is slowing me down but, I tell her, then I’m not learning and I’m learning and doing all of this so that, someday, I can get a real job and paying someone else doesn’t meet that need.

Thing #2

CentOS uses yum not apt-get. And those two, so far, seem to work very differently.

Thing #3

Matt S, the world’s greatest (well, if not the world’s, definitely A2Hosting‘s greatest) tech support angel says Ubuntu is easier to use. I, however, must use it because the little library/script thing that is crucial to my web app needs CentOS.

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Mastering(?) My Domain Pt 2

Still trying to figure out the difference between namerservers and “a records” if there is any.

Reading DNS Management: Registrars and Nameservers, I found:

A domain’s nameservers … identify what set of servers … to obtain a domain’s DNS records. Your domain should have it’s nameservers pointed to wherever you … manage your site’s DNS records. For most people, their domain’s nameservers will point at their web host [or] anywhere that you can manage DNS. This means that if your domain’s registrar allows you to manage DNS with them, then you can point nameservers at your registrar’s nameservers and use their DNS management panel to set records.

At first I was all good. Nameservers point to DNS records. Your domain management and DNS management can be at separate places but I can set up my DNS stuff at my registrar (Arvixe is my registrar and has DNS management tools) … that sounds easy … My nameservers are Arvixe and so is my DNS stuff … but, of course, the phrase

you can point nameservers at your registrar’s nameservers

fucks with me. I point my nameservers at my registrar’s nameservers? WTF does that mean?

It seems like you can also register your own nameservers using your IP address so you’re creating a nameserver so your server/host can point to itself? Is it really just me or is this really, really stupid?

You can, apparently, install DNS software on your server so your server points to a nameserver (that’s in itself) which points to DNS records (that are also in itself). Yes, I think I just answered my own question — this is definitely stupid.

Many articles say to ask your registrar and such for assistance but the support people at Arvixe (registrar) are all completely incompetent and the support people at A2hosting (new host) are all dicks.

August 1, 2017 UPDATE: “Matt S.” is so not a dick. He is the King of All Support Peeps and has, as I just told him, completely and totally restored my faith in A2hosting.

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Libraries Roxor My Soxor

Now that it seems I’m finished arguing with support peeps at my new host, things are going much more smoothly. Well, they’re going smoothly — period.

It also seems that I’ve mastered using Overdrive to borrow eBooks via my local library. Just downloaded the following to my Kindle where I’ll have them for the next 21 days:

  • CentOS 7 Linux Server Cookbook 2nd Edition by Pelz & Hobson
  • Mastering CentOS 7 Linux Server by Bhaskarjyoti Roy


Seriously, if your library doesn’t have recent editions, recent topics, or the product/OS/whatever you need, check out their eBooks. You don’t even need a tablet or anything, you can read them online. You can get the Kindle app on any Android tablet or iPad (or phone) — you don’t have to use a Kindle.

LPT: Check the books out using a desktop browser then read them on your mobile device. Trying to use your library’s site and Overdrive on a tablet or phone will make you become a clocktower shooter in a few short minutes.

Now I can continue my mastering of my domain while my son is in youth group at churchy church tonight. We moved to the country so driving back home and then back into the big city isn’t an option I’m taking. Find a new church? No. The area to which we moved has a lot of Confederate flags hanging about. There’s a big church at the main intersection (near the feed store) and it has a whole separate building for their gift shop. They sell:

  • Sunday School supplies
  • Guns
  • Bibles
  • Knives

So, we’re still making the drive into town for our fellowship and worship and whatnot. It would be nice if they had stuff for adults on Sunday nights but our church has it’s own quirks that are frustrating. Great pastor though. Totally awesome.

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You Can’t Trust Anybody

I’ve mentioned before that whenever I get frustrated while learning something, I should remind myself that whoever wrote the tutorial or book might be incorrect — I shouldn’t always assume it’s me because I’m a relative newbie.

I can’t tell you how many times in the last few days customer support has told me something completely inaccurate.

My little VPS runs on CentOS 7. The instructions given to me (that I documented in a previous post) were for a much older version. Instead of editing /etc/sysconfig/network I should have (and just did) edit /etc/hostname.

Still can’t get it to remember the change after rebooting, however.*

*Update: This was due to the support orcs not doing what they said they needed to do on their end and giving me (first) incorrect instructions and (then) incomplete instructions for what I needed to do on my end.

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My First Windows Command

If you didn’t know this, doing real stuff on a Windows box is a completely different world from Mac or Linux. Including the Command Prompt. Merely out of curiosity, I opened the command prompt at work — I love that, in Windows, it’s an “accessory” — and learned that, in Windows, ls is not a valid command.

My heart was beating a bit fast because, as I said, I was at work and we’re not allowed to do so much as delete shortcuts from our desktop without an IT person with administrative privileges to help us. Then I realized, “Wait. My boss paid for a year of — including classes on this topic — I’m legitimately practicing my new skills!” So I fired up Windows Command Line Basics … which went on and on without teaching anything so I just googled “windows command line tutorials” while it played (to continue my justification) and learned that, in Windows, dir is the command I was looking for.

At work, I have access, I think, to only my personal storage space. It was empty. Because I had no idea I had this little directory. Long, boring story.

So I created a text file with notepad, dropped it in via Explorer, tried dir again and viola! I have one file.


The shell I opened previously had a line with 2015 in it … I wish I’d captured that because I’m curious as to what it was and why. I have a hunch. Now I’m curious why it’s gone.

I am the world’s most gifted and dangerous hacker.

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Security To Do

  • Create sufficiently unique Admin username and super-secure pw so I don’t need to or have to log in as root
  • Encrypt home directory
  • install security updates — I’m … wow … that I need to stay on top of this without someone doing it for me. Time to adult as an admin.
  • install latest OS security patches
  • Set authentication keys for SSH login (instructions here)
  • Disable FTP login and use SSH instead?
  • Other shizzle in McKerracher’s VPS Tutorial
  • Change port

Check out:

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