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 and access Linode’s Cloud Manager, a browser-based control panel which allows you to manage your Linode virtual servers and services.

From there you’ll 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 connecting to your Linode using SSH.

Sign Up

First, you need to create a Linode account to start using our services. If you already have a Linode account, you can skip to the next section.

  1. Create a new Linode account. Sign up today and receive a $100 credit. This credit will be applied to any valid services used during your first 60 days.

    Newly created Linode accounts have restrictions on ports 25, 465, and 587. If you’d like to send email from a Linode, review the Running a Mail Server guide, then open a ticket with our Support team.
    Newly created Linode accounts have restrictions on ports 25, 465, and 587. If you’d like to …
  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.

Create a Linode

  1. Log in to the Cloud Manager with the username and password you created when signing up.

  2. At the top of the page, click Create and select Linode.

    Getting Started Add Linode

  3. Select the Distribution, Marketplace App, or Image you would like to use.

    Note
    Use a StackScript to quickly deploy software platforms and system configuration options to your Linux distribution. Some of the most popular StackScripts do things like install a LAMP stack, VPN, or WordPress. You can read more about Stackscripts and how they work in our Automating Deployments with Stackscripts Guide.
  4. Choose the region where you would like your Linode to reside. If you’re not sure which to select, see our How to Choose a Data Center guide. You can also generate MTR reports for a deeper look at the route path between you and a data center in each specific region.

  5. Select a Linode plan.

    Getting Started Create Linode

  6. Give your Linode a label. This is a name to help you easily identify it within the Cloud Manager’s Dashboard. If desired, assign a tag to the Linode in the Add Tags field.

  7. Create 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. The password must meet the complexity strength validation requirements for a strong password. Your root password can be used to perform any action on your server, so make it long, complex, and unique.

    Getting Started Create Linode 2

  8. Click Create. You will be directed back to the Linodes page which will report the status of your Linode as it boots up. You can now use the Cloud Manager to:

    • Boot and shut down your Linode
    • Access monitoring statistics
    • Update your billing and account information
    • Add additional Linode services, like Block Storage
    • Open a support ticket and perform other administrative tasks
  9. Be sure to bookmark the Linode Status page or subscribe to our system status updates by email.

Network Helper

Network Helper is a host-side service which automatically sets a static IPv4 address and gateway for your Linode. It is enabled by default. However, it can be enabled and disabled globally, and per-Linode.

  • If you disable Network Helper globally on your account, and you want it enabled for a single Linode, you will need to enable it for that Linode.
  • If you enable Network Helper globally, every new Linode you create will have it enabled upon creation; you can disable it for single Linodes if desired.
Note
If Network Helper is unable to determine the operating system during boot, or if you boot an unsupported operating system, Network Helper will not attempt to write any new configuration files. See the Network Helper guide to learn which distributions it supports. Be aware that Network Helper configures only IPv4 addressing; your Linode’s IPv6 address is assigned by SLAAC.

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 client application on your computer and the Linode, including passwords and other sensitive information. There are SSH clients available for every desktop operating system.

Find your Linode’s IP Address

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

  1. Click the Linodes menu item in the Cloud Manager’s left hand navigation.

  2. Find your Linode, click on it’s name and navigate to Network.

  3. Your IPv4 and IPv6 addresses appear under the IPv4 and IPv6 sections.

    The Network settings tab for your Linode

    You can also quickly reference your Linode’s IP addresses from the Linodes page:

    IP address from the Linodes page

Log in Using SSH

Once you have the IP address and an SSH client, you can log in via SSH. The following instructions are written for Linux and macOS. If you’re using PuTTY on Windows, follow these instructions.

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

    ssh [email protected]
    
  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 '198.51.100.4 (198.51.100.4)' 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 '198.51.100.4' (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.

    [email protected]'s password:
  4. The SSH client initiates the connection and then the following prompt appears:

    [email protected]:~#
    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 macOS:

    ssh-keygen -R 198.51.100.4
    

    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 packages. This applies the latest security patches and bug fixes to help protect your Linode against unauthorized access. Installing software updates should be performed regularly.

CentOS/RHEL Stream and Fedora

This includes CentOS Stream (and 8), other RHEL derivatives (including AlmaLinux 8, and Rocky Linux 8), and Fedora.

dnf upgrade

Ubuntu and Debian

apt update && apt upgrade
Note
You may be prompted to make a menu selection when the Grub package is updated on Ubuntu. If prompted, select keep the local version currently installed.

Other Distributions

Alpine

apk update && apk upgrade

Arch Linux

pacman -Syu

CentOS 7

yum update

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 -uDU --keep-going --with-bdeps=y @world

OpenSUSE

zypper update

Slackware

slackpkg update
slackpkg upgrade-all

Set the Hostname

A hostname is used to identify your Linode using an easy-to-remember name. Your Linode’s hostname doesn’t necessarily associate with websites or email services hosted on the system, but see our guide on using the hosts file if you want to assign your Linode a fully qualified domain name.

Your hostname should be something unique, and should not be www or anything too generic. Some people name their servers after planets, philosophers, or animals. After you’ve made the change below, you may need to log out and log back in again to see the terminal prompt change from localhost to your new hostname. The command hostname should also show it correctly.

Most Distributions

This includes Ubuntu 16.04 (and newer), CentOS 7 (and newer), other RHEL derivatives (including AlmaLinux 8 and Rocky Linux 8), Debian 8 (and newer), Fedora, OpenSuse, and Arch.

Replace example-hostname with one of your choice.

hostnamectl set-hostname example-hostname

Other Distributions

Alpine

See Update Your Systems hosts File.

Gentoo

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

Slackware

echo "example-hostname" > /etc/HOSTNAME
hostname -F /etc/HOSTNAME

Update Your System’s hosts File

The hosts file creates static associations between IP addresses and hostnames or domains which the system prioritizes before DNS for name resolution. 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, example-hostname is the local hostname, and example-hostname.example.com is the FQDN.

File: /etc/hosts
1
2
127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost
203.0.113.10 example-hostname.example.com example-hostname

Add an entry for your Linode’s IPv6 address. Applications requiring IPv6 will not work without this entry:

File: /etc/hosts
1
2
3
127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost
203.0.113.10 example-hostname.example.com example-hostname
2600:3c01::a123:b456:c789:d012 example-hostname.example.com example-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 IPv6, you should also set up a DNS “AAAA” record pointing to your Linode’s IPv6 address.

See our guide to Adding DNS Records for more information on configuring DNS. For more information about the hosts file, see Using your System’s hosts File

Set the Timezone

All new Linodes are set to UTC time by default. However, you may prefer your Linode use the time zone which you live in so log file timestamps are relative to your local time.

Most Distributions

This includes CentOS 7 (and newer), other RHEL derivatives (including AlmaLinux 8, and Rocky Linux 8), Fedora, and Arch. These instructions also work for most Ubuntu, Debian, and OpenSuse distributions, though other methods may be preferred in those cases.

  1. Use timedatectl to output a list of available timezones.

    timedatectl list-timezones
    
  2. Use the arrow keys, Page Up, and Page Down to navigate. Copy the time zone you want as a mouse selection. Then press q to exit the list.

  3. Set the time zone (for example, America/New_York).

    timedatectl set-timezone 'America/New_York'
    

Ubuntu and Debian

The instructions under the Most Distributions section above (which outlines the timedatectl command) are valid. That said, both Ubuntu and Debian come with a more friendly tool called tzdata, outlined below.

  1. Open the tzdata tool.

    dpkg-reconfigure tzdata
    
  2. Select the continent of your choice using the arrow keys and press Enter.

  3. Select your region using the arrow keys and press Enter.

Other Distributions

Alpine

  1. Use the setup-timezone command to initiate the timezone selection process:

    setup-timezone
    
  2. Enter the timezone you are located within. If you aren’t sure of the timezone string to use, enter ? to display a list of available timezones

  3. If you selected a region with sub-timezones, enter ? again to see a list of available sub-timezones and then enter the sub-timezone you are located within.

Gentoo

  1. View a list of available time zones.

    ls /usr/share/zoneinfo
    
  2. Write the selected time zone to /etc/timezone (for example, EST for Eastern Standard Time).

    echo "EST" > /etc/timezone
    
  3. Configure the sys-libs/timezone-data package, which sets /etc/localtime.

    emerge --config sys-libs/timezone-data
    

OpenSUSE

The instructions under the Most Distributions section above (which outlines the timedatectl command) are valid. OpenSuse also has a more friendly way to select a timezone, discussed below.

  1. Open the YaST2 timezone selector tool.

     yast2 timezone
    
  2. Use the arrow keys to select your region within the Region pane.

  3. Press tab to switch to the Time Zone pane and then use the arrow keys to select your time zone or sub-region.

  4. Press F10 to save the changes. Alternatively, press tab until the [OK] text button is highlighted. Then press enter.

Slackware

  1. Run the timeconfig tool.

    timeconfig
    
  2. Select NO Hardware clock is set to local time.

  3. Select a timezone.

Check the Time

Use the date command to view the current date and time according to your server.

[email protected]:~# date
Thu Feb 16 12:17:52 EST 2018

Next Steps

Now that you’ve learned the basics of using the Cloud Manager and working with your Linode, secure it and your Linode account from unauthorized access. See the following guides to begin:

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