Getting Started with Linode

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Getting Started with Linode

Welcome to Linode!

Thank you for choosing Linode as your cloud hosting provider! This guide will help you sign up for an account, set up a Linux distribution, boot your Linode, and perform some basic system administration tasks.

If you’ve already created an account and booted your Linode, skip ahead to Connect to Your Linode via SSH.

Sign Up

If you haven’t already signed up for a Linode account, start here.

  1. Create a new account at the Sign Up page.
  2. 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.
  3. Select a Linode plan and datacenter location:

    Available Linode plans

If you’re not sure which datacenter to select, use 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 datacenters to determine which of our facilities provides the best latency from your particular location.

Provision Your Linode

After your Linode is created, prepare it for operation by setting up a Linux distribution.

Log 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 username and 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.

Deploy an Image

How to Deploy an Image

Once you’ve created a new Linode, click the name or Dashboard to open the Linode Manager Dashboard.

  1. Click on Deploy an Image to reach the Deploy page.

  2. Select a Linux distribution from the Image menu. You can choose from:

    If you’re new to the Linux operating system, consider selecting Ubuntu 16.04 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Select a swap disk size from the Swap Disk menu.

  5. 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. It must be at least 6 characters long and contain characters from two of the following categories:

    • lowercase and uppercase case letters
    • numbers
    • punctuation characters
  6. Click Deploy.

    You can use the Dashboard’s *Host Job Queue” to monitor the progress in real time.

    Note
    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.

Boot Your Linode

Your Linode is now provisioned with the distro of your choice but it’s turned off, as indicated in the Dashboard.

Boot the Linode

  1. Click Boot to turn on your Linode.

  2. 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.

Connect to Your Linode via SSH

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.

SSH Overview

  • 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 can be launched from Applications > Utilities.

  • Windows: There is no native SSH client, but you can use a free, open source application called PuTTY.

Find your Linode’s IP Address

Your Linode has a unique IP address that identifies it to other devices and users on the internet.

Find your Linode’s IP address from the Linode Manager.

  1. Click the Linodes tab.
  2. Select your Linode.
  3. Click the Remote Access tab.
  4. Copy the addresses in the Public IPs section.

    Public IPs.

In this example, the Linode’s IPv4 address is 96.126.109.54 and its IPv6 address is 2600:3c03::f03c:91ff:fe70:cabd. Unless your internet service provider supports IPv6, use the IPv4 address.

Log In

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.

Copy SSH Command with IP and Log in

  1. Enter the following into your terminal window or application. Replace the example IP address with your Linode’s IP address:

    ssh root@123.456.78.90
    
  2. 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 yes and press Enter to continue connecting.

      
    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)?
    
    

    After you enter yes, the client confirms the addition:

      
    Warning: Permanently added '123.456.78.90' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
    
    
  3. The login prompt appears for you to enter the password you created for the root user above.

      
    root@123.456.78.90's password:
    
    
  4. The SSH client initiates the connection. When the connection is completed the following prompt appears:

      
    root@li123-456:~#
    
    
    Note

    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.

    To reconnect via SSH, revoke the key for that IP address.

    For Linux and Mac OS X:

    ssh-keygen -R 123.45.67.89
    

    For Windows, PuTTY users must remove the old host IP addresses manually. PuTTY’s known hosts are in the registry entry:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SimonTatham\PuTTY\SshHostKeys
    

Install Software Updates

The first thing you should do after 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.

Ubuntu / Debian

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
Note
Ubuntu may prompt you when the Grub package is updated. If prompted, select keep the local version currently installed.

CentOS

yum update

Fedora

dnf upgrade

Arch Linux

pacman -Syu

Gentoo

emaint sync -a

After running a sync, it may end with a message that you should upgrade Portage using a --oneshot emerge command. If so, run the Portage update. Then update the rest of the system:

emerge --uDN @world

Slackware

slackpkg update
slackpkg upgrade-all

Set the Hostname

Your system’s hostname should be something unique. Some people name their servers after planets, philosophers, or animals. Note that the 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. If you want to assign your system a fully qualified domain name, see our guide on using your system’s hosts file.

Once you’re done, you can verify by running the command hostname.

Arch / CentOS 7 / Debian 8 / Fedora / Ubuntu 16.04 and above

Replace example_hostname with one of your choice.

hostnamectl set-hostname example_hostname

Debian 7 / Slackware / Ubuntu 14.04

Replace example_hostname with one of your choice.

echo "example_hostname" > /etc/hostname
hostname -F /etc/hostname

CentOS 6

Replace hostname with one of your choice.

echo "HOSTNAME=example_hostname" >> /etc/sysconfig/network
hostname "hostname"

Gentoo

Enter the following commands to set the hostname, replacing example_hostname with the hostname of your choice:

echo "HOSTNAME=\"example_hostname\"" > /etc/conf.d/hostname
/etc/init.d/hostname restart

Update /etc/hosts

The hosts file, located at /etc/hosts, creates static associations between IP addresses and hostnames, with higher priority than DNS. Open this file in a text editor and add a line for your Linode’s public IP address. You can associate this address with your Linode’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, 203.0.113.10 is the public IP address, hostname is the local hostname, and hostname.example.com is the FQDN.

/etc/hosts
1
2
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:

/etc/hosts
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 an “AAAA” record in DNS pointing to your Linode’s IPv6 address. For more information on configuring DNS, see Adding DNS Records.

For more information about the hosts file and how to configure it, see Using your System’s hosts File

Set the Timezone

By default, your Linode will be set to UTC time. You may want to change this to the timezone you live in, or where a majority of your users live, to make log file timestamps more sensible.

Debian / Ubuntu

dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Arch Linux and CentOS 7

  1. View a list of available time zones:

    timedatectl list-timezones
    
  2. Use the Up, Down, Page Up and Page Down keys to navigate. Find the time zone you want. Remember it, write it down, or copy it as a mouse selection. Then press q to exit the list.

  3. Set the time zone:

    timedatectl set-timezone 'America/New_York'
    

Gentoo

  1. View a list of available time zones:

    ls /usr/share/zoneinfo
    
  2. Write the selected time zone to the /etc/timezone file:

    echo "EST" > /etc/timezone
    
  3. Configure the sys-libs/timezone-data package, which will set /etc/localtime appropriately:

    emerge --config sys-libs/timezone-data
    

Check the Time

View the current date and time according to your server.

date
  
Thu Feb 16 12:17:52 EST 2018

Next Steps

Now that you have an up-to-date Linode, you’ll need to secure your server and protect it from unauthorized access. Read the Securing Your Server guide to get going.

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This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.