When you first learn how to set up a VPS, you’ll probably be confused by all the different accounts, passwords and everything.
Put it this way: when you’re setting up a VPS, there are multiple levels. First, there’s the hosting company’s account. Then there’s the WHM (top-level) account. Then there’s the cPanel (second level) accounts.
Using the GoDaddy example (since that’s where I’m hosted), the first time you launch your VPS – in other words when you ask them to do the basic setup for you – you’ll be asked for a hostname, username and password.
- Your hostname can be anything you want, really. For example, this site’s VPS could be called myvps.setupmyvps.com or helpme.setupmyvps.com or chickenlegs.setupmyvps.com – or anything else that takes our fancy. Obviously it’s best to choose something that sounds cool.
- Your username and password will be used to access the hosting company’s stats and server info. The username isn’t normally used on the server itself but the password is.
Confusing? Yes. Learning how to set up a VPS is very confusing!
Once you’ve chosen a hostname, username and password, your hosting company will do the basics to setup a VPS for you – this usually takes a while (like 12 hours or so), though in slack periods it can be ready a lot quicker. You’ll get email confirmations of everything, usually along with a little user guide.
Your empty VPS is ready
Once your VPS is ready, you’ll need to log in using WHM. To do this, you’ll use the username “root” and the password you defined above. You use “root” as the login because, when you’re setting up a VPS, you need to be logged in at the highest possible system level… and that’s always called “root” (at least on normal servers it is).
Your hosting company will have sent you info on where to find WHM. In most cases, it’s on ports 2086 and 2087. You’ll need the VPS IP address (which will be in your notification email): for example, if your server’s IP address is 188.8.131.52, you’d type this into your browser’s address bar:
You’ll see a WHM login screen. Enter the username “root” and the password you chose when you set the hostname.
Since this is the first time you’ve logged in, WHM will run a wizard to help you set up. You’ll need to agree to the license agreement (yawn), then choose your contact details. Make sure you enter a reliable email address: this is where any warnings and notifications will go, so you need to make sure you get them!
You’ll also need to enter the Main Shared Virtual Host IP. Although it sounds scary, it’s just the same IP address you entered to get to the WHM login (184.108.40.206 in our example).
The hostname section needs a domain name. You don’t always have to change this (most companies set it to something unique) but, if you want to, set it to a domain you own, e.g. setupmyvps.com
The next bit is nameservers. You need two of these and the standard approach when setting up a VPS is to call them ns1 and ns2 (imaginative, huh?). So in the example, they’d be ns1.setupmyvps.com and ns2.setupmyvps.com. Don’t worry about how you register these so that the Internet knows where to find them – we’ll cover stuff like that in how to set up a VPS with a new domain name.
Next, you just hit “Save”, skip through the quota page (without waiting for it to finish), mark “Enable Nameserver” on the next page (on the right) and keep clicking through until you get to the MySQL root password bit. You’ll need to enter a password there before finishing.
Ready to roll!
And that’s it. Setting up a VPS – at least the basics – is not incredibly difficult as long as you don’t fret too much and use your head a bit. Make sure you write down all the usernames, passwords, server names and stuff for later reference and you’ll be fine.