In this article, we will compare the similarities and differences of a cloud server vs a physical server. Every business has similar and different approaches in how they operate. The differences often relate to what is essential for that specific business: the clientele, the need to process information/orders, and how quickly market adaptation changes are needed.
Since almost every industry today has some type of online presence, hosting providers have adapted to offer products that solve many of the challenges that face todays businesses. One such hurdle a company must solve is which type of hosting infrastructure is best suited for their demands. These choices include both cloud servers and dedicated servers. Cloud servers and dedicated servers each perform distinct tasks based on use-cases, and can be a challenge to determine which environment will satisfy the requirements that a business requires.
In this article, we will be reviewing how to connect to your WordPress Optimized Template using SFTP as the connection medium.
SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is the most secure way to upload files to your WordPress Optimized Template site. This article is intended specifically for connecting to a WordPress Optimized Template site using the free, cross-platform FTP client FileZilla, but the connection details should apply to any FTP client.
Please note that this article is considered legacy documentation for an older account management system. The information, however, is current.
In this article, we will discuss how and why a server might block an IP address and how to resolve it.
When your company hosts a website or web app online, whether it’s an individual dedicated server or a whole server cluster, you naturally expect to have uninterrupted access at all times. However, it’s possible that in rare circumstances, your server could accidentally block your IP and prevent you from connecting and using the service.
If that has happened to you, this quick summary will provide you with all the essential information needed to verify the status of your IP. Additionally, we will offer some of the most common reasons for being blocked, as well as a few suggestions on how to unblock and whitelist your IP as quickly as possible.
In the second part of our review, we will be looking at the Web Server, FTP Server, SSH Server and lastly the Mail Server sections of the InterWorx main menu and comparing them to the available options in WHM. Let’s start with the System Services menu.
cURL is a Linux command that is used to transfer multiple data types to and from a server. It operates utilizing the libcurl library, which allows it to use the following protocols to move information:
Reading Time: 3minutes￼As administrators for our servers, we may find ourselves needing to do certain things while on the go. We may also not have a laptop or PC within reach. But one thing most of us have at all times is a cell phone. Whether we have an Android or an iPhone, most of us do possess a smartphone. One thing great about these smartphones is their constant connection to the Internet. Having that constant connection makes it simple to use various apps that assist with admin tasks through our smartphones. Here is a list of five applications available both on iPhone and Android. If you are interested in checking them out, click on your phone’s type next to the application name. You can also search for these applications by name in your smartphone’s app store. Continue reading “5 Android/iPhone Apps for IT Admins”→
This article is intended to give an overview of a chroot environment and configuring your FTP service for user isolation. This is done with a few lines within the main configuration file of the FTP service.
This article is also intended as a guide for our Core-Managed servers running CentOS or Ubuntu without a control panel. Our Fully Managed servers that utilize the cPanel software already have the FTP user isolation configured by default and also provide utilities for creating FTP users.
What is Chroot?
Chroot or change-root is the implementation of setting a new root directory for the environment that a user has access to. By doing this, from the user’s perspective, there will appear to be no higher directory that the user could escape to. They would be limited to the directory they start in and only see the contents inside of that directory.
If a user were to try and list the contents of the root (/) of the system, it would return the contents of their chroot environment and not the actual root of the server. Read more about this at the following link.
As there are many FTP options available, ProFTPd, Pure-FTPd, vsftpd, to name a few, this article will only focus on the use of ProFTPd for simplicity and brevity. This is also not intended to be a guide for installing an FTP service as it’s covered in our Knowledge Base articles below.
By default, ProFTPd will read the system /etc/passwd file. These users in this file are the normal system users and are not required to be created outside of normal user creation. There are many ways to create additional FTP users, but this is one way to get started.
Here are some typical entries from the system passwd file. From left to right, you can see the username the user and group IDs, the home directory and the default shell configured for that user.
To create these users, you would use the useradd command from the command line or whatever other methods you would typically use to create users on the server.
Create the user
useradd -m -d /home/homedir newuser
Set the user password
If you are setting up multiple users that all need to have access to the same directory, you will need to make sure that the users are all in the same group. Being in the same group means that each user can have group level access to the directory and allow everyone in the group to access the files that each user uploads. This level of user management is beyond the scope of this article, but be aware that things of this nature are possible.
ProFTPd User Configuration
To jail a user to their home directory within ProFTPd, you have to set the DefaultRoot value to ~.
With this set, it tells the FTP service to only allow the user to access their home directory. The ~ is a shortcut that tells the system to read whatever the user’s home directory is from the /etc/passwd file and use that value.
Using this functionality in ProFTPd, you can also define multiple DefaultRoot directives and have those restrictions match based on some criteria. You can jail some users, and not others, or jail a set of users all to the same directory if desired. This is done by matching the group that a user belongs to.
When a new user is created, as shown above, their default group will be the same as their username. You can, however, add or modify the group(s) assigned to the user after they are created if necessary.
Jail Everyone Not in the “Special-Group”
DefaultRoot ~ !special-group
Jail Group1 and Group2 to the Same Directory
DefaultRoot /path/to/uploads group1,group2
After making these changes to the proftpd.conf file you’ll need to restart the FTP service.
CentOS 6.x (init)
CentOS 7.x (systemd)
systemctl restart proftpd
User Isolation with SFTP (SSH)
You can also isolate SFTP users or restrict a subset of SSH users to only have SFTP access. Again, this pertains to regular system users created using the useradd command.
While you can secure FTP communications using SSL, this is an extra level of setup and configuration. SFTP, by contrast, is used for file transfers over an SSH connection. SSH is an encrypted connection to the server and is secure by default. If you are concerned about security and are unsure about adding SSL to your FTP configuration, this may be another option to look into.
SFTP User Setup
Create the user and their home directory just like with the FTP user, but here we make sure to set the shell to not allow normal SSH login. We are presuming that you are looking for SFTP-only users and not just regular shell users, so we add the restriction on the shell to prevent non-SFTP logins.
We need to make sure that permissions and ownership are set for the home directory to be owned by root, and the upload directory is owned by the user.
chmod 755 /home/homedir/
chown root. /home/homedir/
mkdir -p /home/homedir/upload-dir/
chown username. /home/homedir/upload-dir/
Hereby setting the ChrootDirectory to the %h variable, we are confining the user to their home directory as set up when the user was created. Using the ForceCommand directive also limits the commands the user is allowed to execute to only SFTP commands used for file transfers, again eliminating the possibility that the users will be able to break out of the jail and into a normal shell environment.
Subsystem sftp internal-sftp
Match User user1,user2,user3
Jail Multiple FTP Users to a Location
Alternatively, if you wanted to have multiple users all jailed to the same location, you can set them all to be in the same group, have the same home directory, and then use a Match Group directive within the SSH configuration.
Subsystem sftp internal-sftp
Match Group groupname
After making these changes to the sshd_config file, restart the SSH service. One of the following commands should work for you.
You or your developer may want to have access via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to the folders for the project or domain that is being worked on. FTP is a quick and easy way for someone to connect to their project, without having to have full access to RDP into the server. An FTP user will only have access to the folders that are designated to them, limiting them in their own environment so as not to accidentally change other user’s files and file structure on their project/domain. In this tutorial, we will cover how to utilize FTP on a Core/Self-Managed Dedicated or VPS Server, as well as a Plesk Server. Let’s jump right in!
Enabling FTP Services
The first thing that you need to check before creating an FTP user is to enable FTP on your server. To do that on a Core/Self-Managed server, we need to RDP to the server and open Server Manager.
Once the server manager is open, in the top right corner, there are a few options: Manage, Tools, View, and Help. We want to click on Manage, which will show a drop-down menu. At the top of the menu, click on the option Add RolesandFeatures.
Once you have the Add RolesandFeatures Wizard up, click Next until you are at the Server Selection.
Make sure your server is highlighted, by default, it should be. If so, you can click Next which brings you to Server Roles.
Server Roles are where you will find the features your server can have enabled separately, depending on your needs. We aren’t looking for anything but FTP at this time, so we won’t cover all of the features and services we find here. FTP services are going to be found under the role Web Server. Click on the carrot next to Web Server. There are 3 different options with checkboxes; WebServer, FTPServer, and ManagementTools. Dropping down the FTP Feature will show the available FTP features.
If all of these are already checked, you can skip ahead to the Adding and Assigning FTP Users section of this help article. However, if these are not checked, go ahead and check FTP Server and FTP Service. If your users plan on using ASP.NET services or IIS Manager, you will want to make sure you check FTP Extensibility.
Once you have the FTP features selected, click on Next a couple of times until you get to the Confirmation page. At the top, you will see an option to “restart the destination server automatically if needed“. For installing FTP Services, a restart is not needed. We can leave this box unchecked and click on Install. This install process shouldn’t take too long.
Adding an FTP User Account
Before we add an FTP site, we need to set up a user with some credentials. We do this by accessing Computer Management.
On Windows 2012 and up, we can do this by right-clicking the Start Menu button, and selecting Computer Management. Here, under System Tools, if we click the drop down carrot, we will see the Local Users and Groups section. Double-click on Users and a list of all the Local Users will formulate. On the far right of the Computer Management, once we have navigated to Users, we see a More Actions and will need to click on that to add a New User.
Clicking on New User will pop up a simple interface that asks for the user name, the user’s full name, a description for that user that serves as a description for you, the administrator, to recognize the purpose of this user. Fill out this information accordingly and type in a password for this user. Under Confirm Password, we see that by default “User must change password at next logon” is selected. Because this is strictly for FTP, we will uncheck that and check “User cannot change password” and “Password never expires”. Considering the FTP user will only have access to the destination you allow, it is not necessary to change the password.
Adding an FTP Site
Now that FTP Services are installed and a user is created, we need to head on over to the IIS Manager. This can be found in the Start Menu, or by clicking on Tools in Server Manager as we did before, but clicking on Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
Here is the IIS Manager, we need to create the FTP site that you will want this specific user to have access to. We do this by clicking on the drop-down carrot next to the server name, and then right-clicking on the folder that says “Sites“.
A menu will pop up, with the option to Add FTP Site. Enter the name you wish to give this FTP site. Select a Physical path, where you want the user for this FTP site to have access. Do this by either typing in the direct path, or selecting the 3 dots next to the entry bar and physically selecting the folder you wish to assign this FTP site.
Clicking next will bring you to Bindings and SSL settings. If you have any specific IP address that is assigned to a domain that is being used for this FTP Service, you need to make sure that the IP address is selected by dropping down the bar.
If all sites are taking advantage of Windows SNI (Server Name Identification) than you can leave this set to All Unassigned, if you wish to use a different port than the default FTP port, go ahead and type that in under Port. But if this is just a basic FTP instance for everyday purposes, go ahead and leave that port at the default 21. Next, you want to make sure that “Start FTP Site automatically” is selected. Unless of course, you want to manually allow the user to connect to their FTP site only when you designate by starting the page in IIS. Select No SSL and click Next for this FTP Site. In this tutorial, we will not be covering setting up an SSL for this specific FTP Site. If you do already have an SSL that you have added to the server for this purpose, you need to make sure that Allow or Require under SSL is checked, and select your SSL on the drop down bar labeled SSL Certificate.
Now we have been brought to the Authentication and Authorization section. Here at the top are two options for Authentication. Make sure that both boxes are checked. Finally, we have the Authorization section where we would select the groups or users we want to allow to be able to log into this FTP Site.
Setting Up the Windows Firewall
Now that we have the FTP site all set up and ready to go, we do need to set up the firewall rules. Open up your firewall by clicking on Start, scrolling to Windows Administrative Tools, and clicking on Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.
We need to set some rules on the Inbound Rules section, so click on that first. It’s in the top right corner. After clicking on Inbound Rules in the top right corner under Actions, you will see a section called Inbound Rules. Under that category should be New Rule.
You may have to click on the arrow next to Inbound Rules to see this. Click on the New Rule…
And you will be selecting the Rule Type. For FTP we will be using Port, so click on that and Next. Now you will see Protocol and Ports. For Protocol, use the setting TCP. For Specific local ports type 21, 5001-5051 and click on Next.
Now we have the Action section. By default, “Allow the connection” is selected. Keep this the way it is and press Next. Now you will be prompted for when this rule will apply.
We want it always to apply so keep each network connection type box checked. There are three: Domain, Private, and Public. Click Next, and you will be naming the firewall rule. We suggest just naming it FTP Connection or something of the sort.
You should be all set. Go ahead and log into another computer, use your favorite FTP client (such as Filezilla), enter the IP address as a host, and your newly created username and password, port number, and click connect. You are now connected FTP to your designated pathway on your server.
FTP on a Plesk Server
This process is a lot faster and much simpler. Here are a couple links in regards to setting it up on a Plesk Windows Server.
Installing vsftpd allows you to upload files to a server, the concept is comparable to that of Google Drive. When you invite specified users to your Google Drive they can create, delete, upload and download files all behind a secure login. Vsftpd is excellent for company’s looking for an alternative to Google Drive or for anyone who wants to create a robust server. This “Very Secure File Transfer Protocol Daemon” is favored for its security and speed and we’ll be showing you how to install vsftpd on an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS server.
Reading Time: 2minutesFTP (File Transfer Protocol) is one of the most popular methods to upload files to a server. There exist a wide array of FTP servers, such as vsftpd, you can use and FTP clients exist for every platform.
Essentially no matter what OS you use you can find an easy to use FTP client, so it makes for a great solution to transfer files. On CentOS based servers before you can connect via FTP you’ll have to setup an FTP server. Here we’re gonna setup vsftpd which is a great option since it has a focus on security and speed.