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I have two CentOS servers, one locally and another at a remote location. Both are running CentOS 5.6 but one is 32-bit and the other is 64-bit. I need to connect these servers together permanently so I can transfer files, execute commands, send/receive HTTP traffic, etc, securely at all times.

Should I be using a VPN or something else to achieve this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

How are the two sites connected to each other? Is there a WAN or dedicated site-to-site link, or are they both just connected to the Internet? If it's either of the previous two then the Internet won't be able to see traffic between the servers anyway, so your security concerns are greatly reduced.

If we're dealing with two separate but Internet-connected sites, then it's a little trickier, but you probably still don't need a full site-to-site VPN; some firewall/router rules to allow SSH/SCP and anything else you want to expose should do the trick. You can restrict access at both ends to only allow connections from the external IP addresses of the other site, assuming both sites have static external IPs.

EDIT (based on Reado's comment); Yes, it's possible. You can still do as I suggested in that second paragraph, although the data transmitted will still be in the clear and readable to anyone with network-level access to any point between server A and server B. If you want everything secure end-to-end, you're going to want either a site-to-site or server-to-server VPN tunnel. There are any number of VPN solutions that you could use; I'd suggest OpenVPN

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If one or both sites do not have static external IPs, you can set up something with a service like – cjc Aug 31 '11 at 15:03
Ok, site 1 (local) is a server on my LAN connected to the Internet via a router and it has an external static IP. Site 2 is a hosting provider and the server also has a static IP address. The idea of the VPN was to securely pass info between the servers such as HTTP, SQL, etc. I want something that's connected at all times so either server can access eachother. Is this possible? Thanks. – Reado Aug 31 '11 at 15:08

The simplest would be to put an SSL cert on the web server and only use https for the web traffic and to use ssh for secure command execution and file transfer, with public key authentication if automation is required.

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