Autarchy of the Private Cave

Tiny bits of bioinformatics, [web-]programming etc

    Which Hosting Control Panel to use for a Debian server?

    27th September 2008

    To cut the long story short: for the final evaluation, I had this line of control panels:

    SysCP: looks good to me (though demo isn’t functional), has customer billing module. Unsure as to where it is used, but most probably sponsors are also the users of SysCP. Majority of support forums are in German.

    DTC: has no demo, only some screenshots. Has a set of packages for Debian lenny (which is a huge plus for maintenance and future upgrades). DTC is being developed by GPLHost, and is also used by GPLHost – so this is a live (used) distribution. Seems quite feature-rich.

    Virtualmin claims to be the “world’s most powerful and flexible web server control panel”. Virtualmin offers 4 means to control it: Web, mobile device, command line, and remote API. There are both screenshots and demo. Has both GPL and Professional versions. GPL version has a number of limitations, comparing to Pro version. From what I’ve read about Webmin (all three – Virtualmin, Webmin, Usermin – are just different “layers” of server control), it is a framework with a number of “interface scripts”, which allow to control various services. As such, it is easily extendible, but is not monolithic – in the sense of module inter-dependencies and action triggers.

    RavenCore was a promising CP.

    GNUPanel is a year-old control panel, but has a news item on the front page (dated August, 17) promising new, completely rewritten release somewhere in October. By the feature list, looks promising. However, I need the panel right now, and even in October, that will be quite a rough release, not really used/tested anywhere, so not a good option as well. But GNUPanel is a panel to check in half a year for progress.

    As the final choice, I had ISPConfig (which seems to be the best by people’s comments), and which is also quite widely used, and is easy to install onto Debian (at least the Perfect setup: Debian Etch says so), and DTC. I discarded Virtualmin (for the poor functionality of the GPLed version), RavenCore (for the lack of current descriptions and non-functioning demo), GNUPanel (which just isn’t ready yet), and SysCP (because ISPConfig seems better ;) ).

    As DTC has Debian packages (and will be easier to maintain/upgrade), I decided to try it first. I already have it installed (that’s easy, esp. if you first read the DTC Debian Express Setup). Later I might post my impressions from using DTC.

    Update: DTC is indeed easy and pleasant to use. I had problems allowing FTP and SSH access using MySQL authorization, but at least FTP was an easy one to fix (SSH access with MySQL authorization is still unconfigured, but that’s a low priority for me). There is a minor concern about the files and directory permissions setup, but thanks to chrooted environment that is only minor concern. Use of a single Apache installation for hosting admin and serving user sites might be a sub-optimal decision, but it works. Traffic and disk space accounting are plain superb! Server memory use for the dtc-toaster installation is troublesome, but for a powerful RAM-my server that is not a problem (I now have about 800-900MiB RAM occupied, but that includes the XCache’s cache, quite big MySQL cache, and loads of Apache and PHP modules).

    But I’m still willing to try other control panels. As I expected, GNUPanel hasn’t released anything yet; Ravencore‘s online demo is still unfunctional; ISPConfig has recently released RC (and their demo is working as it should and as it used to); SysCP is also up and running fast. If my little hosting service starts pouring in some cash, then I’ll try SysCP on my second server – to compare it with DTC, and choose one of them for further support/extension/localization.

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    Posted in *nix, Notepad, Software, Web | 17 Comments »

    Ukrainian web-portal bigmir.net switched from own free email service to gmail

    30th October 2007

    Just a minute ago, I was shocked after logging in to mail.bigmir.net: instead of the bigmir’s own, HTML-only email interface, I got redirected at the gmail’s “Terms and conditions”, after accepting which I found my emails in the classic gmail mailbox.

    First thing to think about: at least they did transfer all my emails to the new account.

    Second: hey, they had given up their own email interface! Are they leaving the web-portal market of Ukraine? Was the part of their team (which later formed MI6) too important to handle their exodus with no consequences? Is that just a desire to give customers “better” interface and not invest anything into development?

    I hope this won’t be a trend, for every service to have Google behind their servers. Or even just behind the name, to avoid extra complexity of having a server.

    Finally, I think I’ll get used. But it was only yesterday, that I read the Google anti-utopia, where Big Brother’s name is (evidently) Google, and it’s webcams and microphones and search history define each person’s future AND guilt. Scary…

    And I wonder which will be the next service of bigmir.net, “outsourced” like their email.

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    Posted in Misc, Web | No Comments »

    DNS troubles?

    1st October 2007

    Today my blog’s domain bogdan.org.ua isn’t resolving to IP address from several worldwide locations. The trouble seems to be with XName, as running nslookup using ns?.xname.org gives me this:

    DNS server handling your query: ns1.xname.org
    DNS server’s address: 87.98.164.164#53

    ** server can’t find bogdan.org.ua: SERVFAIL

    It’s rather strange that all the other domains I have on XName are functioning properly.

    I can’t figure out the reason behind the problem; will keep trying to resolve as soon as possible.

    Update: this is in fact XName-related problem: they are again under DDoS attack.

    The other domains I have at XName might have stayed unaffected thanks to the secondary nameservers; it might have been just the question of the difference in sync times, that caused bogdan.org.ua to expire earlier than other domains.

    It’s a great pity that DDoS attack organizers cannot (yet) be reliably tracked and then punished. Attacking a free web service cannot be explained other than by mental sickness or noticeable loss of profit by some entities…

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    Posted in Notepad | 1 Comment »

    List of free DNS services

    28th October 2006

    Information taken from: freedom.org.ru

    1. www.zoneedit.com; 5 names; A, MX, NS; mail forwarding, web forwarding
    2. www.everydns.net; 20 names; A, MX, NS; web forwarding, dynamic domains
    3. www.dnspark.com; 3 names; A, MX, NS; web forwarding, mail forwarding, backup MX
    4. www.domain-dns.com; unlimited names; A, MX; web forwarding, paid mail forwarding
    5. www.xname.org; no limit; A, MX, NS (I keep several domains there; quite good as for a free service)
    6. primaryns.kiev.ua (UA-IX only); unlimited names; A, MX, NS; primary only
    7. secondary.net.ua; unlimited names; secondary only
    8. ns2.trifle.net; unlimited names; secondary only
    9. FreeDNS.ws (suggested in comments; looks promising – I now have one domain there)
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    Posted in Links, Web | 8 Comments »