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I have a classified website which uses MySQL, PHP, Solr (java) etc etc...

I wonder where I should start after purchasing a VPS package from my provider.

There are first of all several packages, I am going with Linux because as far as I know it is the most stable system.

But I have never used Linux before! What is Ubuntu, and which version of it should I get? Whats 64bit Ubuntu then? How do I install php, javascript, mysql, java and all that?

What is debian, do I need it? What is apache, do I need that?

And most importantly, what applications do I need, that I must have? (I mean applications which a beginner would never know was needed, what do you recommend?)

After getting the vps, how do I even access it? Do I type in some kind of IP into the browser? Or is it by ftp program? How do I access the so called "terminal"?

Please guide me, I am completely new to Linux and VPS! Thanks

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Someone could start answering all your questions, but considering that you know nothing about administering a Linux system I'll go ahead and recommend that you get a managed VPS and have your hosting provider manage everything for you. Many people like to try things themselves and decide to Google Linux questions and follow steps to install something, until they come up with their first error and then they don't know what to do and might screw up the system.

Letting someone else handle it will also mean they will likely secure the system, though you should check what they are willing to do for you on a managed VPS before ordering so you don't have surprises.

You'll save time and keep your sanity, but you'll spend more per month for your VPS by going for a managed solution.

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+1. And it isn't just not knowing how to work things out when an error occurs that you know about. If you do not understand what you are installing and how to maintain it you are likely to end up with an insecure setup that gets hacked left right and centre at a later date. I recommend setting up a server at home (in a VM or on a spare physical machine) an playing with that to learn at least some of the ropes before trying your hand at it on a publicly addressable server or virtual server. – David Spillett Feb 11 '10 at 9:14
I, too, agree that running your own VPS without understanding the operating system is leaving yourself wide open to be hacked. However, if you must, keep on top of 3 things. 1. ensure you keep your packages up to date with apt-get or yum on a daily basis at first, then a weekly basis thereafter. 2. you MUST set up an iptables firewall for any interface exposed to the internet (see or any other iptables tutorial). 3. regularly run chkrootkit to aid in detecting if/when you have been hacked. – PP. Feb 11 '10 at 10:58
I disagree! Learning everything is alot better, besides you are talking about 'what if errors occur'. Then I would actually feel alot more safe if I knew how to fix it! You are talking as if it is the hardest thing in the world, it's just an OS. Anyways, thanks for your comments – pesar2 Feb 12 '10 at 7:42
I didn't say that learning it on your own is a bad idea, it just depends how much time you're willing to invest. If you think it will help you a lot in the future, go ahead and learn it, but if you just have one VPS, it might not be worth the time investment. It might be just an OS, but chances are you won't have a GUI to work with like on Windows, and instead be limited to a command line, so there's no more point and click. – gekkz Feb 12 '10 at 8:25

I found the following website tutorial on setting up a ubuntu based vps to be very useful:

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