If you are using a VPS, you are most likely using it with Linux.
While Windows is by far the most popular OS on desktop systems, the case is exactly the opposite in the world of servers. This is why we will be creating a series of articles showing you how to get around in a Linux based operating system. We will keep these articles short (5 min reading tops.) and straightforward. After all, our goal is not to make you a full-fledged system administrator, but to show you the most important ropes on how to handle the Linux based operating systems.
Part I: Basics of the system, the console
When you got your Linux based VPS you will get the SSH access codes to it. This is usually a username and an associated password. While I don’t wish to go into the details about SSH right now, in short, it is a common service in Linux based systems which grant remote access to the desired computer. The traffic is encrypted of course.
Most of the time windows users will use some kind of program like Putty (Free ssh client with a graphical frontend.) to access the remote system. In our knowledge base, you will find the direct commands for doing it directly from a console. (Of course, in this case, the system needs to have SSH installed.)
If your login was successful, then you arrive in the console of your system. Most people think of the console as a black void where magical keywords go. In reality, the console is a so-called shell. A program if you will, that understands input from the user in the form of commands. These shells also can be „scripted”, meaning you can create simple or more complex command series that you can execute later or at a given time using Cron, a scheduler.
The most common shell types are Bash and Zsh. These shells are command processors as mentioned before. In these shells will you write and execute your commands. In our knowledgebase, you will find the most important commands you may need or come across when using a VPS trough an SSH console. Don’t be afraid though, while at first, the console might seem unintuitive, I can assure you that when you get used to it you will be able to do things way faster than on a graphical frontend. (Not to mention you save resources and processing power for your VPS.)
With each login, you create a new session. You can have multiple users logged in to the same system at the same time, contrary to Windows, where if you wish to achieve the same effect you have to install (And of course pay for the service.) the server version. In each session, the shell logs the command history to easily access the commands you gave and gives you the ability to control just about everything in the system. Launch programs, control services, browse the filesystem, install or remove programs, reboot or shutdown the system, etc.
Of course, you can only control what the administrator allows you through permissions. If you are the administrator you are the master of your system!
That’s it for now. We hope you found this article useful.
You can always find out more about Linux commands in our Knowledgebase.
Stay tuned for the next article!