Setting up and maintaining a virtual private server (VPS) can be a daunting task for a beginner, but the proper software can take much of the headache out of the process. Traditional VPS control panels may be confusing, and it can take forever to learn all of the functions. However, many people who purchase VPS hosting are turning to Webmin VPS to better visualize VPS configurations.
This open-source control panel is powerful and simple to use, which makes it a favorite with both beginners and VPS hosting experts. The interface for the system is web-based, can be accessed through any browser and can be used remotely. Once it is installed, this simple control panel allows authorized users full access to the VPS without the need to manually edit the Linux configuration files through the command line which can be a daunting task. Multiple user accounts can be created, and the system includes over 100 standard modules that can be used with most Linux server distributions, including CentOS and Debian.
Using Webmin for VPS
The Webmin control panel is now installed with all new myhosting.com Linux VPS accounts that don’t include cPanel or Plesk. When the administrator logs in, all of the options are enabled. The administrator can also create additional login names and passwords. Each account can then be customized, and access to certain functions can be restricted. It is important to note that users of the control panel do not necessarily coincide with users of the server. Users must be created independently for access to the program.
Webmin VPS Sections and Modules
After logging in, a row of images is displayed along the top of the screen. These are links to the seven sections of the panel, and each section acts as a menu for the 113 modules that come with the standard configuration. In addition, over 100 third-party modules may be accessed here if they have been installed. Following are the seven sections and the major modules contained in each.
This section gives the user access to several important tools. It also provides the option of registering the server so that it can be seen by others, which is useful for those who are managing multiple VPS systems. Primary modules in this section include the following:
- Configuration backup tool
- Language and theme options
- User configuration
- Log files
This section contains the tools for configuring the server, including server users, boot-up and shutdown scripts, cron jobs and software packages. The major modules in this section are as follows:
- Password maintenance
- Disk quotas and network file systems
- File backup
- MIME programs
- Scheduled cron jobs and commands
- Users and groups
The Servers section allows users to manage server services, such as Apache, ProFTPD, MySQL, and Sendmail. Although these services can be accessed through the control panel, it is still necessary to know the commands required for configuring them. The modules in this section include the following:
- Apache webserver
- BIND DNS server
- CVS and DHCP servers
- Database servers
- Procmail filter
- SSH server
The Networking section contains several options. However, these options are only for advanced users and experienced Linux administrators. In addition, not all of the options work with every VPS. The useful modules in this section are as follows:
- ADSL Client
- Bandwidth monitoring
- IPsec VPN configuration
- Linux firewall
- Network configuration
- SSL tunnels
The hardware section is usually disabled for VPS systems, but it allows users to manage the actual server hardware, such as RAID configuration, boot-up, disk drive partitions and printers.
The cluster section is used to manage groups of servers. Users can copy files and cron jobs between clustered VPS systems and establish users for clusters. In addition, software packages can be installed simultaneously on multiple servers.
This section contains several useful tools, including a java based UNIX shell connection program, system monitors, a file manager and a file transfer tool. Custom commands can be created in this section, and Perl modules can be accessed here.
Webmin is quickly becoming popular in VPS environments. Unlike cPanel and Plesk VPS, it is more about VPS configuration and optimization than web hosting automation. In addition, it is free, open-source, and geared toward server configuration instead of website administration. Beginners are able to configure their servers easily through this control panel, and experienced users have tools for advanced configurations.