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Getting started with a VPS

Find out the first steps of using a VPS

Last updated 16th March 2021

Objective

A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a virtualised dedicated server. Unlike Web Hosting plans (also referred to as "shared hosting"), which are managed on the technical level by OVHcloud, you are fully responsible for administrating your VPS.

This guide provides some basic information for getting started with a VPS.

OVHcloud is providing you with services for which you are responsible, with regard to their configuration and management. You are therefore responsible for ensuring they function correctly.

If you encounter any difficulties performing these actions, please contact a specialised service provider and/or discuss the issue with our community on https://community.ovh.com/en/. OVHcloud cannot provide you with technical support in this regard.

Requirements

Instructions

Log in to the OVHcloud Control Panel, go to the Bare Metal Cloud section and select your server from the list in the left-hand navigation under Virtual Private Servers. This dashboard contains important information about your service and allows you to perform essential operations. It will appear differently, depending on the product range of your VPS solution.

  • If you have recently ordered a VPS, its reference name will look like this: vps-XXXXXXX.vps.ovh.net (where X can be a number or a letter).

  • If you are managing an older VPS, you will notice that the reference name is structured differently: vpsXXXX.ovh.net (in which X stands for a number).

For the current VPS range, please continue with the next section, First steps (current VPS range). For an older VPS model, skip to First steps (older VPS range) in this guide.

First steps (current VPS range)

Connecting to your VPS

At the first installation or when reinstalling from the Control Panel, a user with elevated permissions will be created and you will be sent an email containing the login credentials. The username will be chosen according to the operating system, for example "ubuntu" or "debian".

You can now connect to your VPS via SSH with username and password. (SSH is a secure communication protocol. Find out more in this guide about SSH on dedicated servers). You can access your server through a command line terminal (Linux or MAC) or through third-party software on Windows (we can recommend PuTTy).

Using PuTTy for example, simply open the application and enter the servername or its IPv4 address to establish a connection. You will be prompted for username and password and then you can proceed with the command line interface (CLI).

puttyconnect

Once you have opened the terminal, type the following command to log in to your VPS with the information provided in the email (username and IPv4 address):

ssh username@IPv4_of_your_VPS

Since you are now logged in with elevated privileges (a sudo user), you can enter commands to perform administrative tasks. It is recommendable to first change your password:

~$ sudo passwd
New password:
Retype new password:
passwd: password updated successfully

Note that passwords are not displayed. Next, switch to the "root" user and set your admin password:

~$ sudo su -
~# passwd
New password:
Retype new password:
passwd: password updated successfully

Enabling root logins

Connecting with the "root" user is disabled by default as a security measure. If you need to permit these connections, refer to the instructions in this guide.

Restarting your VPS (current VPS range)

A reboot might become necessary in order to apply updated configurations or to fix an issue. Whenever feasible, perform a "soft reboot" via the command line:

reboot

However, you can carry out a "hard reboot" at any time in your OVHcloud Control Panel. From the Home tab, click on ... next to "Boot" in the Your VPS box, then click Reboot my VPS and Confirm the action in the popup window.

Reboot

Installing or reinstalling your VPS

You can carry out any reinstallations directly in your Control Panel. From the Home tab, look for "OS/Distribution" in the box Your VPS. Click on ... and then on Reinstall my VPS.

VPSnewreinstallation

In the popup window, you will be asked to choose:

  • an operating system from the drop-down list
  • an SSH Key (optional)

VPSnewreinstallation

Some proprietary operating systems or platforms such as Plesk or cPanel require licences which generate additional fees. Licences can be managed from the OVHcloud Control Panel: go to the Bare Metal Cloud section, then click on Licences in the left-hand navigation.

In order to have a Windows operating system running on a VPS, it has to be selected in the order process. A VPS with another OS installed cannot be reinstalled with Windows in the described way.

A progress bar for the reinstallation will appear in your Control Panel - please note that installation can take up to 30 minutes.

First steps (older VPS range)

Connecting to your VPS (for older ranges)

When you install (or reinstall) your VPS, you will be sent an email containing your password for root access. Root access lets you connect via SSH to your VPS. SSH is a secure communication protocol. You can access your server through a command terminal (Linux or MAC) or through third-party software on Windows (we can recommend PuTTy).

Using PuTTy for example, simply open the application and enter the servername or its IPv4 address to establish a connection. You will be prompted for username and password and then you can proceed with the command line interface (CLI).

puttyconnect

Once you have opened the terminal, type the following command to log in to your VPS, replacing the text after the @ symbol with the information required (IPv4 address or VPS reference name):

ssh root@IPv4_of_your_VPS

Or:

ssh root@your_VPS_reference_name

Restarting your VPS (for older ranges)

A reboot might become necessary in order to apply updated configurations or to fix an issue. Whenever feasible, perform a "soft reboot" via the command line:

reboot

However, you can carry out a "hard reboot" at any time in your OVHcloud Control Panel. From the Home tab, click on Reboot my VPS, then click Confirm in the popup window.

Reboot

Installing or reinstalling your VPS (for older ranges)

You can carry out any reinstallations directly in your Control Panel. Simply click Reinstall my VPS in the "Home" tab:

Reinstalling the VPS

A window will open, and you will be asked to choose:

  • your operating system from the drop-down list
  • the language
  • an SSH Key (optional)

Reinstallation menu

Some proprietary operating systems or platforms such as Plesk or cPanel require licences which generate additional fees. Licences can be managed from the OVHcloud Control Panel: go to the Bare Metal Cloud section, then click on Licences in the left-hand navigation.

In order to have a Windows operating system running on a VPS, it has to be selected in the order process. A VPS with another OS installed cannot be reinstalled with Windows in the described way.

A progress bar for the reinstallation will appear in your Control Panel - please note that installation can take up to 30 minutes.

Securing your VPS

As explained in the "Objective" section of this guide, you are the administrator of your VPS. As such, you are responsible for your data and its security.

Please refer to the guide on Securing a VPS for some basic advice.

Attaching a domain

Making your VPS available on the web usually includes attaching a domain name to it via DNS. If you manage your domain at OVHcloud, you can refer to our guide on Editing your DNS zone for instructions.

Securing a domain with an SSL certificate

Once you have configured your VPS, you may want to secure your domain name and your website as well. This will require an SSL certificate, allowing the website to be accessed via https as opposed to http only.

You can install this SSL certificate manually, directly on the VPS. Please refer to the official documentation of your VPS distribution.

For a more automated process, OVHcloud also offers the SSL Gateway solution. Please refer to the product page or our guide documents for further information.

Go further

Introduction to SSH

Securing a VPS

Join our community of users on https://community.ovh.com/en/.


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