In this tutorial, we will go through everything you need to do in order to setup your new CentOS VPS.
Even though you can start using your server immediately, there are many additional things and tweaks you can do to get the most out of your new server and improve its security.
This getting started guide is for a CentOS VPS. If you got an Ubuntu VPS, you can follow our Ubuntu guide. If you dont want to do any of this by yourself you can get a Managed VPS and let us set up, configure and secure your server for you, all for free.
1. Connect to your VPS
The first thing you should do is to connect to your server via SSH. You will need to know the IP address and the SSH port of your server.
There are different ways to connect to your server, depending on the operating system you use.
For Windows, you can use a free open source application called PuTTY.
For Linux or Mac, you can use the Terminal.
For a more in-depth guide on how to connect, you can check out our, Connect to your Linux VPS via SSH tutorial.
2. Update your server
The next step, after successfully connecting to your server, is to update your server. On CentOS you can do this with the following command:
This will update the already installed packages on your system and install the latest security updates.
You should regularly update your server. Try to set up a reminder for yourself to do it at least once a month or optionally you can enable automatic updates, so you don’t have to do it manually.
3. Secure your server
Securing your server properly is one of the most important steps you need to do after getting a new VPS.
If you are a beginner and you are not familiar with CentOS servers, you can get a Managed CentOS VPS from us and our expert Linux admins will secure the server for you.
Use strong passwords
No matter how many defensive mechanisms you use to secure your server, nothing can protect your server if you are using weak passwords.
So the most basic and simple way to secure your server is to use strong passwords.
Here are some general guidelines you should follow when creating a new password:
– make sure the password is at least 8 characters long
– use a combination of both lower and upper case letters
– use at least one numeric and/or special character signs (#,$,%, etc)
You can even generate a password through the command line.
Secure SSH Access
Usually, a password authentication is used to connect remotely via SSH. You can harden your SSH access by using SSH keys instead.
To learn how to generate a public/private key pair and use them to connect to your server, check out our guide here.
Set up a firewall
One of the most important and crucial steps you can do to secure your server is configuring and setting up a firewall. You can check out our detailed guides on how to properly configure a firewall on your CentOS server using iptables or FirewallD.
In order to further protect your server from brute-force attacks, you can additionally install Fail2ban.
From here, you can start using your server for any purpose you want.
You can set up a LAMP or LEMP stack and use it as a web server to host your websites.
You can set up a mail server.
You can set up an FTP server.
And many other things. You can check our blog and find many additional tutorials, tips, and tricks that you can use to further customize your server for your needs.