While common practice of setting up and managing a hosting server or in this case is VPS is using server-side installed Control Panel like cPanel, Kloxo, zPanel, Webmin, Webuzzo, etc, there is another alternative offering easier, quicker and more secure way to set your server up as well as to manage it all along with your other servers.
Meet ServerPilot, shortly saying it is a centralized remote hosting control panel for your Ubuntu servers. Two keywords here: Ubuntu and servers. This control panel currently supports Ubuntu OS only and it is capable to manage many servers via one place. That’s not all, just like many other control panel software, ServerPilot also allows its users to install and configure a webserver, PHP and MYSQL.
What Does ServerPilot Really Do?
First, ServerPilot deploys complete LAMP stack on your server and that’s including world’s most used web server Apache, PHP5, and MYSQL. To make it even super, ServerPilot also installs and configures Nginx in front of Apache to achieve unbeatable speed and scalability.
Secondly, ServerPilot will secure your server with a firewall. To make it even secure, it will also update your server’s packages and make sure they stay updated all the time to avoid even single bug caused by outdated package.
Thirdly, ServerPilot also offers a premium feature to monitor real-time stats of your server’s performance including CPU, memory, disk space, and more.
What Does ServerPilot Not Do?
Meanwhile Serverpilot does not provide features related to installing, configuring and managing email and DNS. In this case you may need third-party DNS server to be able to point your domain to your VPS. Need recommendations? Try CloudFlare, PointHQ, NameCheap, etc.
Also, ServerPilot does not manage your server running other than Ubuntu.
Is ServerPilot Free?
Ahaa! That’s why I post about it here. I won’t post about paid control panel in this blog unless I change my mind 🙂
Anyway, using its free plan you can add as many servers you like to your account at ServerPilot and manage them all from there. But however if you want more like: SSL deployment, real-time stats, log viewer, email notifications and priority supports, you can simply upgrade your plan. For me, its free version is more than enough to manage all my low end servers.
How to Use ServerPilot?
This shinny new control panel solution should work fine with any VPS or Dedicated servers. However, its developer stated that it works flawlessly on Cloud, Xen and KVM VPSes while OpenVZ may have compatibility issue related to old kernel used by host server.
So, in this article I will show you how to use ServerPilot for the very first time so you can have your server ready in no time. For your information, as usual, I use my test server, a 512MB droplet on Digital Ocean, world’s cheapest cloud server provider so far.
Step 1 – I created a 512MB Ubuntu Droplet on DO.
Step 2 – Then I launched up Putty and SSH to my newly created VPS as root. Please do remember that ServerPilot need a shinny new server with no web server, no PHp and no MYSQL installed. If you did have all or one of them installed, go ahead to reinstall your server’s OS.
Step 3 – Next, I signed up for free account on ServerPilot via this link: https://manage.serverpilot.io/#signup/free.
What’s so interesting during the signup process is its simplicity. All I need to do was entering my email and password, ticking the ToS Agreement and clicking the Create Account button. FYI, ServerPilot team give 14 free trial of Business plan to all new free users.
Step 4 – Once clicked, my account was created logged in automatically. The first page displayed was a very simple not-bloated welcome page with a link to connect a server and a warm greeting from their team.
Step 5 – Then I clicked on that “Connect your first server” link to add my newly created droplet. In the next page, I had to give the server a name. Basically we can give it any name we want but to make it easy to remember for me, so I gave it a name as my droplet’s hostname.
Step 6 – So I also clicked the blue “Continue with setup” button. Next, another page appeared displaying four lines of commands to deploy ServerPilot agent along with some other information.
*click image to view full size.
Step 7 – Next, I copied all those commands and went back to Putty to execute the command.
Step 8 – Once done, I got this message saying “ServerPilot agent installation complete“.
Step 9 – As soon as the installation done, that previously displayed page in ServerPilot also changed. I could notice immediately that my server’s connected already.
The best part, I could also see my server’s performance stats including Disk space used, Memory usage, CPU usage, Disk I/O and Network.
Step 10 – Because I was curious, so I clicked another menu which that time was Apps but couldn’t see anything there. I should give it a try so I clicked the tiny +Add App link in the right-hand side of the screen. I nearly did not see that link and ServerPilot should probably make that link a button instead.
Step 11 – Next, I had to enter my App Name, Domain Name, choose PHP version, and to chose which server. As I only had 1 connected server, so that’s my only choice.
Step 12 – Next, I clicked the Create App button and what happen next was amazing. My server’s setup in no time.
Step 13 – That’s it. Now I have Apache + Nginx, PHP 5 and MYSQL installed in my server. What’s next to do? First, to upload my blog’s files to the server and secondly to create database.
Step 14 – Uploading file via FTP is just straight forward as usual. I prefer using FileZilla. In ServerPilot, the FTP username is “serverpilot” but users need to create their own FTP passwords by clicking that username.
then create password:
I won’t explain again about how to use FTP to upload files to your server coz I assumed you knew that already.
Step 15 – Creating new MYSQL database is also super easy. Simply click the Databases tab then click +Create Database link.
Step 16 – In the next page, all we have to do is simply to enter Database name while MYSQL user and password will be automatically generated and assigned full privilege.
Voila!!, now your server is ready to use for serving your website / blog.
Saying again, following above guide allows you to install Apache web server, Nginx as front-end proxy, PHP5 and MYSQL. Having Nginx running in front of Apache allows your server to have sleek, fast, and light performance compared just with Apache alone but you can still have all Apache awesomeness including mod_rewrite and .htaccess support.
You can test your server by typing its IP on your browser and it should show something like this:
ServerPilot is really a great choice of free, remotely hosted and centralized control panel solution for anyone who want to easily deploy LAMP stack with Nginx running in front plus all necessary stuff to deal with your server’s security. What I like is their simplicity and unlike any other, there are no bloated stuff there. Keep the good work guys..