How to Configure Windows Remote Desktop Users Group

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The most common way to remotely manage a Windows server is through Remote Desktop Protocol. By default, Liquid Web’s Windows servers only allow the members of the administrators’ group remote desktop access. However, the Remote Desktop Users group grants its members access to securely connect to the server through RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) as well.

This article will go over the basics of the Remote Desktop Users group. By the end, you will be able to add users to the group, understand permissions, and basic user management.

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How Do I Set the Path for Python in Windows?

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Python is a powerful programming language that is scalable and uses code that is readable and clear for all types of projects. Python is also available across a number of operating systems, making it a popular choice for developers. If you are using Python on your Windows operating system, you may need to adjust your System Environment Variables to simplify utilizing Python on your server. 

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How to Install PIP on Windows

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Pip is one of the best tools to install and manage Python packages. Pip has earned its fame by the number of applications using this tool. Used for its capabilities in handling binary packages over the easily installed package manager, Pip enables 3rd party package installations. Though the newest versions of Python come with pip installed as a default, this tutorial will show how to install Pip, check its version, and show some basic commands for its use. Watch the video below or review the following article for additional instructions.

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How to Upgrade PHP on Windows

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Performing an upgrade to PHP on Windows Server

Keeping your software and applications up to date is a crucial part of maintaining security and stability in your web hosting systems. Unfortunately, updating system components and back-end software can sometimes be a frustrating and a difficult process. However, thanks to Microsoft’s Web Platform Installer, upgrading PHP on a Windows server with IIS is as simple as a few clicks.

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Choosing Your Cloud Sites Technology Setup

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Standing behind our Liquid Web Cloud Sites product, are server racks full of both powerful and stable Linux and Windows servers which power well over 100,000 sites and applications. Every Windows-based package is served from these clusters that are built and optimized especially for Windows. All Linux-based packages are also served from these same brawny server clusters created and specifically optimized for Linux. We use advanced load balancing technologies to automatically detect the type of technology you are running and route each request to the proper pool of servers.

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How to Password Protect Folders in IIS and Plesk

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Introduction

When reviewing your servers security, it is critical for businesses to ensure that while building new sections of your website, that we do not leave it unsecured or visible to users while it is being built. With this in mind, there are several ways for you to “lock” a folder or domain while it is being developed. This will safeguard a folder or an entire site using the security feature built into IIS and Plesk called password protection. In today’s article we will see how easy it is to restrict access to a site or a folder.

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How to Install Apache on a Windows Server

Reading Time: 4 minutesWhen looking to host websites or services from a Windows server, there are several options to consider. It is worth reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of each server type to determine which one is most likely to meet your particular needs before you spend the time installing and configuring a web service.

Some of the most common web servers available for Windows services are Tomcat, Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Services), and of course the Apache server. Many server owners will choose to use a control panel which manages most of the common tasks usually needed to administer a web server such as e-mail and firewall configuration.

At LiquidWeb, that option means you’re using one of our Fully Managed Windows Servers with Plesk. Alternately, some administrators who need more flexibility choose one of our Core or Self-Managed Windows Servers. This article is intended for the latter type of server with no Plesk (or other) server management control panel.

Preflight Check

This guide was written for a 64-bit Windows server since a modern server is more likely to utilize that platform. There are also a few potential issues with Apache on a Windows 32-bit systems (non-64-bit) which you should be aware of and can be reviewed here.


Downloading Apache:

While there are several mirrors to choose from for downloading the pre-compiled Apache binaries for windows, we’ll be using ApacheHaus for our purposes.

Download Here:

Apache 2.4.43 with SSL

(This is the 64-bit version with OpenSSL version 1.1.1a included). If you would like to utilize an alternate version they are listed here: Available Versions Page

 

Install Apache on Windows

We will assume that you have installed all the latest available updates for your version of Windows. If not, it is critical to do so now to avoid unexpected issues. These instructions are specifically adapted from the directions provided by ApacheHaus where we obtained the binary package. You may find the entire document in the extracted Apache folder under the file “readme_first.html”.

 

Visual C++ Installation

Before installing Apache, we first need to install the below package. Once it has been installed, it is often a good idea to restart the system to ensure any remaining changes requiring a restart are completed.

  1. Download the Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package and install it.
    Note:
    Download the x64 version for 64-bit systems.
  2. Restart (optional but recommended).

Apache Installation

  1. Extract the compressed Apache download. While you can extract it to any directory it is the best practice to extract it to the root directory of the drive it is located on (our example folder is located in C:\Apache24). This is the location we will be using for these instructions. Please note that once installed you can see Apache’s base path by opening the configuration file and checking the “ServerRoot” directive).apache_extract
  2. Open an “Administrator” command prompt. (Click the Windows “Start” icon, then type “cmd”. Right-click the “Command Prompt” item which appears, and select “Run As Administrator.”)
  3. Change to the installation directory (For our purposes C:\Apache24\bin).
  4. Run the program httpd.exe.
  5. You will likely notice a dialogue box from the Windows Firewall noting that some features are being blocked. If this appears, place a checkmark in “Private Networks…” as well as “Public Networks…”, and then click “Allow access.”
  6. As noted in the ApacheHaus instructions:

“You can now test your installation by opening up your Web Browser and typing in the address: http://localhost

If everything is working properly, you should see the ApacheHaus’ test page.“

apache_test_page

To shut down the new Apache server instance, you can go back to the Command Prompt and press “Control-C”.

  1. Now that you have confirmed the Apache server is working and shut it down, you are ready to install Apache as a system service.
  2. In your Command Prompt window, enter (or paste) the following command:

httpd.exe -k install -n "Apache HTTP Server"

Output:

Installing the 'Apache HTTP Server' service
The 'Apache HTTP Server' service is successfully installed.
Testing httpd.conf....
Errors reported here must be corrected before the service can be started.
(this line should be blank)

apache_service

  1. From your Command Prompt window enter the following command and press ‘Enter.’services.msc

Look for the service “Apache HTTP Server.” Looking towards the left of that line you should see “Automatic.” If you do not, double-click the line and change the Startup Type to “Automatic.”

  1. Restart your server and open a web browser once you are logged back in. Go to this page in the browser’s URL bar: http://localhost/

Configure Windows’ Firewall

To allow connections from the Internet to your new web server, you will need to configure a Windows Firewall rule to do so. Follow these steps:

  1.  Click the “Windows Start” button, and enter “firewall.” Click the “Windows Firewall With Advanced Security” item.
  2. Click “New Rule” on the right-hand sidebar.firewall1
  3. Select “Port,” and click Next. Select the radio button next to “Specific remote ports:” Enter the following into the input box: 80, 443, 8080

    firewall2

  4. Click Next, then select the radio button next to “Allow the connection.”
  5. Click Next, ensure all the boxes on the next page are checked, then click Next again.
  6. For the “name” section, enter a description that is familiar enough that you will be able to recognize the rule’s purpose later such as: “Allow Incoming Apache Traffic.”
  7. Click “finish.”

    firewall3

  8. Try connecting to your server’s IP address from a device other than the one you are using to connect to the server right now. Open a browser and enter the IP address of your server. For example, http://192.168.1.21/. You should see the test web page.
  9. For now, go back to the Windows firewall and right-click the new rule you created under the “Inbound Rules” section. Click “Disable Rule.” This will block any incoming connections until you have removed or renamed the default test page as it exposes too much information about the server to the Internet. Once you are ready to start serving your new web pages, re-enable that firewall rules, and they should be reachable from the Internet again.

That’s it! You now have the Apache Web Server installed on your Windows server. From here you’ll likely want to install some Apache modules. Almost certainly you will need to install the PHP module for Apache, as well as MySQL. Doing so is beyond the scope of this tutorial; however, you should be able to find a variety of instructions by searching “How to Install PHP (or other) Apache module on Windows server,” or similar at your favorite search engine.

 

5 Android/iPhone Apps for IT Admins

Reading Time: 3 minutesAs administrators for many of our VPS servers and Dedicated 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”

How to Secure a Site in IIS

Reading Time: 6 minutesWhen investigating site infections or defacing on a Windows VPS Server, the most common root cause is poor file security or poor configuration choices when it comes to how IIS should access file content.  The easiest way to prevent this is to start with a secure site.

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How to Check Server Load on a Windows Server

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What Does Server Load Mean?

Checking a server’s load allows us to evaluate server resources and confirm they are sufficient for any running application. It enables us to troubleshoot slow performance and reliably pinpoint any server resource that may need attention.

While there are many tools and options available, today let’s focus on our Windows VPS Task Manager to help us quickly see what is going on, and interact with applications, processes, and services to identify the load. This article will also include an introduction to Resource Monitor as it can be opened from Task Manager to provide more detail.

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