Initial VPS server setup with Ubuntu 20.04

The Ubuntu operating system is based on Linux but is not exactly like most distributions. It is written using the Python programming language. The popularity of the system (about 20 million users worldwide) is due to its simplicity and ease of operation. Scope of application:

  • Virtual private and dedicated servers – VPS and VDS.
  • As an OS on your home computer.
  • As OS in computer networks of banking, educational, financial sphere. 

There are many documents available on the Internet that inform how to use the operating system, which is important for novice users. The advantages of Ubuntu:

  • Security. Ubuntu is considered the most secure of all Linux distributions. 
  • Free of charge.
  • Clear interface.
  • Stable, uninterrupted operation.
  • A wide set of applications (more than 20 thousand).
  • Quick and easy installation.
  • LiveCD mode. 

Version 20.04 (kernel 5.4) is positioned as a successful update until 2025. In Ubuntu 20.04 all operations are performed through the terminal using the SSH protocol. The Lockdown option improves the security of the operating system by preventing unauthorized access and modification of the kernel code. Even a user with root privileges cannot modify the kernel code. The presence of the WireGuard backport (encrypted private networking protocol) means that it is easy to use the VPN application. 

The minimum requirements for the installation of the operating system are CPU 1 core, RAM (RAM) 1024 MB, and 3 GB of hard disk space. Installation of Ubuntu OS is done with the help of an installer. Updating takes approx. 10 seconds in the background. Obtaining an IP address in automatic mode is performed via the DHCP network protocol. You have to fill in the fields during the configuration – the intuitive interface practically excludes any mistakes. If you access the Internet via a proxy server, you must enter it in the proxy address field. 

The installer will suggest a mirror option based on your physical location. You can continue with the suggested mirror, or you can choose your own. If you select the Use entire disk tab, the installer will place the files on the hard disk by itself. After completing the settings, select “Apply” and “Continue”. In the fields that appear, enter your user name and password. The user name can be anything except for root and admin

Setting up a VPS

Lease of private virtual hosting will help to solve such tasks as increase of security and data protection, fast installation and launch of applications of any configuration, increase of website speed. The first step towards increasing the efficiency and commercial impact of the website is the selection and rental of VPS. A reliable provider is a test period, 24-hour technical support, and sufficient resources. Step-by-step instructions on how to rent Hostzealot VPS Ubuntu server: 

  • Website Registration.
  • Data center selection.
  • Choice of Ubuntu 20.04 operating system.
  • Plan selection and payment.

After all operations are completed user receives an IP address and credentials (login, password) to login into the private virtual server. The next step is to configure VPS operation. The sequence of actions:

  • Login to the hosting with root privileges. The owner of the root rights gets the status of an administrator on Linux platforms. To log on to the virtual private server, you need to enter its IP address. If an SSH key is installed, which allows the computer to recognize the user’s access level, a password will be required. The SSH application allows remote management of the platform. Logging in is done as a root user. The $ ssh root@(server IP address) command is used to log in. 
  • New user. After logging in as an administrator, a new user account must be created. It is not recommended to use root privileges at all times, because they imply high privileges. This can result in serious changes in the operation of the software even during an unintended action. For better security, it is better to create a user with limited rights and privileges for day-to-day operations. To add a new user use the command # adduser (any name). 
  • Allocation of permissions. To give the new user some administrator privileges (ability to run instructions), they are added to the sudo group. The command # usermod-aG sudo(future member name) is applied. Members of this group can apply the sudo command, which indicates administrator rights and allows to perform actions in superuser status. 
  • Firewall configuration. Servers running Ubuntu 20.04 have the UFW program, which is a simple command-line tool for configuring and managing the firewall. In order for the application to access the VPS, you need to mark it in the list of allowed programs. This is accomplished by registering the application with the UFW. You activate the firewall with the command # ufw enable. To verify that the SSH connection is allowed, you must enter the command # ufw status. The message “status: active” will appear. After the firewall is activated, you can configure the firewall to restrict access to the VPS server according to the required parameters. For example, you can allow or deny access to the VPS from a specific IP address. Flexible settings allow you to deny connection to devices that attempt to connect more than 5 times within 30 seconds. To view the utilities in the UFW list, apply the command # sudo ufw app-list. 
  • Providing access for ordinary users. Logging in is done via $ ssh (user name)@(server IP address). If it is necessary to perform operations with administrator’s rights, sudo command is used. For each session, a password is required. An alternative option is to configure SSH keys. The use of keys eliminates the need to constantly enter the password, which is especially valuable when there are several servers. 

The final stage is downloading and configuring the software, which is needed to solve the VPS-hosting client tasks. 

Features of setting up a VPS with Ubuntu OS

When setting up the server, note that the root user is disconnected from the authentication system for increased security. 

Network interfaces are not configured in the familiar Debian directory /etc/network/interfaces, but in /etc/netplan/.

If necessary, you can remove components that are not needed for operation. Ubuntu activates some components on its own initiative. 


Nathaniel Villa
Nathaniel Villa