Getting Started with Linode
Updated by Linode
Congratulations on selecting Linode as your cloud hosting provider! This guide will help you sign up for an account, deploy a Linux distribution, boot your Linode, and perform some basic system administration tasks.
If you haven’t already signed up for a Linode account, start here.
- Create a new account at the Sign Up page.
- Sign in and enter your billing and account information. Most accounts are activated instantly but some require manual review prior to activation. If your account is not immediately activated, you will receive an email with additional instructions.
Select a Linode plan and data center location
If you’re unsure of which data center to select, see our speed test to determine which location provides the best performance for your target audience. You can also generate MTR reports for each of the data centers to determine which of our facilities provides the best latency from your particular location.
Provisioning Your Linode
After your Linode is created, you’ll need to prepare it for operation by deploying a Linux distribution.
Logging in to the Linode Manager
The Linode Manager is a web-based control panel that allows you to manage your Linode virtual servers and services. Log in with the
password you created when you signed up. After you’ve created your first Linode, you can use the Linode Manager to:
- Boot and shut down your virtual server,
- Access monitoring statistics,
- Update your billing and account information,
- Request support and perform other administrative tasks.
Deploying an Image
After creating a new Linode, select it and you’ll be taken to the Linode Manager Dashboard.
Click on Deploy an Image.
You’ll be taken to the Deploy page.
Select a Linux distribution from the Image menu. You can choose from Arch Linux, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, openSUSE, Slackware, and Ubuntu to install on your Linode. If you’re new to the Linux operating system, consider selecting Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Ubuntu is the most popular distribution among Linode customers and one of the most well supported by online communities, so resolving any issues you may have should be simple.
Enter a size for the disk in the Deployment Disk Size field. By default all of the available space is allocated, but you can set a lower size if you plan on cloning a disk or creating multiple configuration profiles. You can always create, resize, and delete disks later.
Select a swap disk size from the Swap Disk menu.
Enter a root password for your Linode in the Root Password field. This password must be provided when you log in to your Linode via SSH and must be at least 6 characters long and contain characters from two of the following categories:
- lowercase and uppercase case letters
- punctuation characters
You can use the Linode Manager’s Dashboard to monitor the progress in real time as shown below.
When the deployment process is completed, your Linode’s configuration profile will appear on the Dashboard.
Use a StackScript to quickly deploy a customized Linux distribution. Some of the most popular StackScripts do things like install the Apache web server, configure a firewall, and set up the WordPress content management system. They’re easy to use. Just find a StackScript, complete the form, and deploy.
Booting Your Linode
Your Linode is now provisioned with the distro of your choice but it’s turned off, as indicated in the Dashboard.
Click Boot to turn on your Linode.
When booted, the Server Status will change from Powered Off to Running and there will be a successfully completed System Boot job in the Host Job Queue.
Connecting to Your Linode
Communicating with your Linode is usually done using the secure shell (SSH) protocol. SSH encrypts all of the data transferred between the SSH client application on your computer and the Linode, including passwords and other sensitive information. There are SSH clients available for every operating system.
- Linux: You can use a terminal window, regardless of desktop environment or window manager.
Mac: The Terminal application comes pre-installed with OS X and you can launch it from Finder > Applications > Utilities. You could also use the free iTerm 2 application. For a walkthrough of connecting to your Linode for the first time with OS X (which also directly applies to Linux), see the following video:
Windows: There is no native SSH client but you can use a free, open source application called PuTTY. For a walkthrough of connecting to your Linode in Windows using PuTTY, see the following video:
Finding the IP Address
Your Linode has a unique IP address that identifies it to other devices and users on the Internet. For the time being, you’ll use the IP address to connect to your server. After you perform some of these initial configuration steps outlined in the Linode Quick Start Guides, you can use DNS records to point a domain name at your server and give it a more recognizable and memorable identifier.
Here’s how to find your Linode’s IP address from the Linode Manager.
- Click the Linodes tab.
- Select your Linode.
- Click the Remote Access tab.
Copy the addresses in the Public IPs section.
In this example, the Linode’s IPv4 address is 188.8.131.52 and its IPv6 address is 2600:3c03::f03c:91ff:fe70:cabd. Unless your Internet service provider supports IPv6, you’ll want to the use the IPv4 address.
Logging in for the First Time
Once you have the IP address and an SSH client, you can log in via SSH. The following instructions are written for Linux and Mac OS X. If you’re using PuTTY as your SSH client in Windows, follow these instructions.
Enter the following into your terminal window or application. Be sure to replace the example IP address with your Linode’s IP address.
If this is the first time connecting to your Linode, you’ll see the authenticity warning below. This is because your SSH client has never encountered the server’s key fingerprint before. Type
yesand press Enter to continue connecting.
1 2 3
The authenticity of host '123.456.78.90 (123.456.78.90)' can't be established. RSA key fingerprint is 11:eb:57:f3:a5:c3:e0:77:47:c4:15:3a:3c:df:6c:d2. Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?
The login prompt appears for you to enter the password you created for the
The SSH client initiates the connection. You’ll know you’re logged in when the following prompt appears:
Warning: Permanently added '123.456.78.90' (RSA) to the list of known hosts. root@li123-456:~#
If you recently rebuilt an existing Linode, you might receive an error message when you try to reconnect via SSH. SSH clients try to match the remote host with the known keys on your desktop computer, so when you rebuild your Linode, the remote host key changes.
Revoking the key for that IP address will fix the problem. For Linux and Mac OS X:
1 ssh-keygen -R 123.456.789
PuTTY users must remove the old host IP addresses manually. PuTTY’s known hosts are in the registry entry:
Installing Software Updates
The first thing you should do when connecting to your Linode is update the Linux distribution’s software. This applies the latest security patches and bug fixes to help protect your Linode against unauthorized access.
Installing software updates should be performed regularly. If you need help remembering, try creating a monthly alert with the calendar application on your desktop computer.
Ubuntu / Debian
apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
CentOS / Fedora
emerge --sync emerge-webrsync
Slackpkg is the easiest way to update Slackware installations. See the Slackpkg documentation for installation and upgrade instructions.
Setting the Hostname
You’ll need to set your system’s hostname and fully qualified domain name (FQDN). Your hostname should be something unique. Some people name their servers after planets, philosophers, or animals. Note that the system’s hostname has no relationship to websites or email services hosted on it, aside from providing a name for the system itself. Your hostname should not be “www” or anything too generic.
Once you’re done, you can verify by running the command
If you’re unfamiliar with Linux, one of the first things you’ll need to learn is how to use nano, a text editor included with most distributions. To open a file for editing, type
nano file.txtwhere “file.txt” is the name of the file you want to create or edit. If the file is not in your current working directory, specify the entire file path. For example, open the
1 nano /etc/hosts
When you’re finished editing, press
Yto save the changes and
For a walkthrough of setting system’s hostname and timezone, see the following video:
Arch / CentOS 7 / Debian 8 / Fedora version 18 and above / Ubuntu 15.04
hostname with one of your choice.
hostnamectl set-hostname hostname
Debian 7 / Slackware / Ubuntu 14.04
hostname with one of your choice.
echo "hostname" > /etc/hostname hostname -F /etc/hostname
Check if the file
/etc/default/dhcpcd exists, and it’s contents.
cat /etc/default/dhcpcd | grep SET_HOSTNAME
If the returned value is
/etc/default/dhcpcd and comment out the
CentOS 6 / Fedora version 17 and below
hostname with one of your choice.
echo "HOSTNAME=hostname" >> /etc/sysconfig/network hostname "hostname"
Enter the following commands to set the hostname, replacing
hostname with the hostname of your choice:
echo "HOSTNAME=\"hostname\"" > /etc/conf.d/hostname /etc/init.d/hostname restart
/etc/hosts file. This file creates static associations between IP addresses and hostnames, with higher priority than DNS.
hostsfile should begin with the line
127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost, although the naming may be slightly different between Linux distributions.
127.0.0.1is the loopback address, and is used to send IP traffic internally on the system. You can leave this line alone.
Some distributions may also ship with a line for
hosts file. This is the loopback domain, and can be ignored in most cases.
Add a line for your Linode’s public IP address. You can associate this address with your Linoode’s Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) if you have one, and with the local hostname you set in the steps above. In the example below,
203.0.113.10is our public IP address,
hostnameis our local hostname, and
hostname.example.comis our FQDN.
As with the hostname, the domain name part of your FQDN does not necessarily need to have any relationship to websites or other services hosted on the server (although it may if you wish). As an example, you might host “www.something.com” on your server, but the system’s FQDN might be “mars.somethingelse.com.”
127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost 203.0.113.10 hostname.example.com hostname
If you have IPv6 enabled on your Linode, you may also want to add an entry for your IPv6 address, as shown in this example:
1 2 3
127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost 203.0.113.10 hostname.example.com hostname 2600:3c01::a123:b456:c789:d012 hostname.example.com hostname
The value you assign as your system’s FQDN should have an “A” record in DNS pointing to your Linode’s IPv4 address. For Linodes with IPv6 enabled, you should also set up a “AAAA” record in DNS pointing to your Linode’s IPv6 address. For more information on configuring DNS, see Adding DNS Records.
Setting the Timezone
By default, a Linode’s Linux image will be set to UTC time (also known as Greenwich Mean Time) but this can be changed. It may be better to use the same timezone which a majority of your users are located in, or that you live in to make log file timestamps more sensible.
Debian / Ubuntu
Arch Linux and CentOS 7
View the list of available time zones.
Page Up and
Page Down keys to navigate. Find the time zone which you want. Remember it, write it down or copy it as a mouse selection. Then press q to exit the list.
To set the time zone:
timedatectl set-timezone 'America/New_York'
All Other Distributions
Manually symlink a zone file in
View the list of available zone files.
Then create the link using the zone file you want.
ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/EST /etc/localtime ## for Eastern Standard Time
Checking the Time
View the current date and time according to your server.
The output should look similar to:
Thu Feb 16 12:17:52 EST 2012.
Now that you have an up-to-date Linode, you’ll need to secure your Linode and protect it from unauthorized access. Read the Securing Your Server quick start guide to get going.
This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 3.0 license.