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How To Stream MP4 Video Files From My VPS

This is a really good question and was actually the subject of a support ticket. I scratched my own head for a second and realized the solution was much easier than I thought.

What you need:

  • A virtual private server running Windows or Linux
  • A web server such as Apache, IIS, nginx, Lighttpd, etc.
  • Enough disk space for the operating system and video files
  • Enough bandwidth for your video files

Step One:
Install the operating system

This is relatively easy and I have to assume everyone has done this as there is nothing specific or special you need to install on your operating system except make sure it connects online.

Step Two:
Install the web server

For Apache, it’s relatively easy with most Linux operating systems.

Apache download pageApache for Windows
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Ubuntu: Install Webmin on Ubuntu VPS

This is easily accomplished with a few commands!

First step, get the requirements for Webmin

apt-get install perl libnet-ssleay-perl openssl libauthen-pam-perl libpam-runtime libio-pty-perl apt-show-versions python

Without these files, Webmin will not run. Next, we get the Webmin .deb file and install it:

wget http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/webadmin/webmin_1.600_all.deb
dpkg -i webmin_1.600_all.deb

Note: If you tried to download and install Webmin first, without the requirements, and have errors after you tried the apt-get install command in step one, type in apt-get -f install to force the install of the dependencies to meet Webmin’s dependency requirements.

Get:1 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise/main libnet-ssleay-perl i386 1.42-1build1 [184 kB]
Get:2 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise/universe libauthen-pam-perl i386 0.16-2build2 [27.9 kB]
Get:3 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise/main libio-pty-perl i386 1:1.08-1build2 [36.9 kB]
Get:4 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise/main libapt-pkg-perl i386 0.1.25build2 [82.2 kB]
Get:5 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise/universe apt-show-versions all 0.17 [32.9 kB]
Fetched 364 kB in 0s (416 kB/s)              
Selecting previously unselected package libnet-ssleay-perl.
(Reading database ... 45568 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking libnet-ssleay-perl (from .../libnet-ssleay-perl_1.42-1build1_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package libauthen-pam-perl.
Unpacking libauthen-pam-perl (from .../libauthen-pam-perl_0.16-2build2_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package libio-pty-perl.
Unpacking libio-pty-perl (from .../libio-pty-perl_1%3a1.08-1build2_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package libapt-pkg-perl.
Unpacking libapt-pkg-perl (from .../libapt-pkg-perl_0.1.25build2_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package apt-show-versions.
Unpacking apt-show-versions (from .../apt-show-versions_0.17_all.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up libnet-ssleay-perl (1.42-1build1) ...
Setting up libauthen-pam-perl (0.16-2build2) ...
Setting up libio-pty-perl (1:1.08-1build2) ...
Setting up libapt-pkg-perl (0.1.25build2) ...
Setting up apt-show-versions (0.17) ...
** initializing cache. This may take a while **
Setting up webmin (1.600) ...
Webmin install complete. You can now login to https://ubuntu:10000/
as root with your root password, or as any user who can use sudo
to run commands as root.

This tells you that Webmin is up and running!

We open up our web browser with https://vps-ip-address:10000

Please do not forget the https! We replace vps-ip-address and put in your VPS server’s IP address or even your domain/subdomain you have assigned to it.

We login with root and our root password.

I have not used Webmin much but I plan on doing so to learn more about it. It seems very simple to setup and use without purchasing a monthly license from cPanel. I like cPanel a lot and highly recommend it but could see where spending $15 per month on a license and requiring at least 1gb of memory for cPanel could be a problem to an individual with a small budget.

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How To Generate Random Passwords

This is a common question a lot of people are afraid to ask.

The easiest way I have found is through a utility called apg or automatic password generator. It’s available on most Debian and Ubuntu based operating systems by typing apt-get install apg -y and it will install for you.

If you have CentOS, you need to enable RPM Forge’s repositories.

rpm --import http://apt.sw.be/RPM-GPG-KEY.dag.txt

CentOS 6 – 32 bit, download here.
CentOS 6 – 64 bit, download here.

CentOS 5 – 32 bit, download here.
CentOS 5 – 64 bit, download here.

You install your appropriate package with rpm -i rpmforge-release-*.rpm

Once installed, yum install apg should install apg for you as apg is maintained by RPM Forge.

When you want to create a random password, you type in apg into the Terminal screen of your computer or your SSH client into your server.

# apg

Please enter some random data (only first 8 are significant)
(eg. your old password):>
Cabnobaj9 (Cab-nob-aj-NINE)
Omodand2 (Om-od-and-TWO)
erlErrorl4 (erl-Err-orl-FOUR)
Tedd8Knil (Tedd-EIGHT-Knil)
nebViObobs1 (neb-Vi-Ob-obs-ONE)
WoossOnyax7 (Wooss-On-yax-SEVEN)

I just type in random keyboard gibberish when they prompt me for random data.

For maximum password security, I would normally combine two passwords together such as Cabnobaj9Omodand2, Omodand2erlErrorl4, or nebViObobs1WoossOnyax7.

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Debian: Install Flash Plugin For IceWeasel

This is another quickie tutorial for the sometime difficult task of installing Flash Player for Linux.

For those who do not know, “IceWeasel” is Debian’s version of Firefox due to licensing reasons. I forgot the whole story but Debian got in some dispute and “unbranded” Firefox to fit into Debian’s software philosophy but it’s very easy to fix.

First, we install IceWeasel:

apt-get install iceweasel

Next, we install the Flash Player installer:

apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree

Finally, we install it:

update-flashplugin-nonfree --install

If you are running IceWeasel, close the browser and open it back up. You should be able to see Flash advertisements, do a speed test on Flash based Speed Test websites, and enjoy what Flash has to offer.

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My Debian VPS Can Connect To SSH But Not Apt-Get Update

This is a common problem with Debian VPS servers that I see probably one third of the time when reviewing VPS hosting companies. I think it’s just oversight on a template and not anyone’s fault but kinda annoying sometimes.

A VPS company will send you login details, such as an IP, root password and SolusVM info, but when you login via SSH you cannot apt-get update or ping Google’s website but somehow can connect via SSH.

This is because your VPS does not have any nameservers set.

You can issue the following command:

rm -rf /etc/resolv.conf
nano /etc/resolv.conf

Add in the following lines and press Ctrl+O to save, then Ctrl+X to exit:

nameserver 8.8.8.8
nameserver 8.8.4.4

The final command:

/etc/init.d/networking restart

You should be able to run apt-get update or ping google.com to verify a working Internet connection.

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Netselect-Apt, A Utility Some Debian Users Never Heard Of

I’ve been using Debian for quite a long time and most people just use the default mirrors that come with Debian’s /etc/apt/sources.list but if you live overseas, using the official Debian mirrors in the United States may be slow for you.

To resolve this, netselect-apt is an application that downloads the official Debian mirror lists and finds out which one is geographically closest to you and creates you a brand new sources.list for your /etc/apt directory.

Installation is easy:

apt-get install netselect-apt
netselect-apt
(wait for it to finish)
mv sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list
apt-get update

Now, you would have mirrors to the closest Debian mirror near you which would have the best download speeds. So, for instance, you try to do a huge apt-get dist-upgrade – this would make the download much faster.