VPS

Introduction to VPS

- What is a VPS?

Most servers that have one purpose (or dedicated servers as we call them) are woefully underutilised. For example, an Exchange Server which exclusively looks after email may work at 60% capacity during the working week but the rest of the time it’s idling at closer to 20%. By installing ‘virtualisation software’, it’s possible to trick a single physical server into working like multiple machines. This can turn an expensive single dedicated server into many virtual private servers which can share the physical resources of the former much more efficiently.

Buying and setting up a VPS from scratch though is even more expensive than a dedicated server, which is why you can buy a ‘hosted VPS’.

- Why would I need a VPS?

Customers looking at a VPS may want some of the features listed below:

Secure environmentA VPS includes full root or administrator access which gives you total control over the server. As the VPS is also a private environment, you will have greater security than in a shared hosting/cloud environment.

Complete remote controlYou can stop, start or even reinstall your VPS with the click of a button, meaning you can instantly restore the server to its original state, as well as take instant backups that can be restored at any time.

Manageable Cost - VPS are charged on a monthly basis with discounts for annual or 24 month contracts. Resources can be added to the VPS, which means the VPS can be upgraded and downgraded as you require.

- Uses of a VPS?

VPSs are typically used for non-resource intensive applications, such as accounting programs, intranets and CRM databases, that won’t run in a shared environment as they require administrator access to configure. VPSs are also excellent at hosting complex, or high traffic websites.

- VPS vs Cloud

Which one do I need? – TIPS for SMEs to decide

Cloud hosting provides similar functionality to VPS but the main difference is that resources can be provisioned on-demand. The most common cloud hosting is Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) made up of many virtualised machines that can share the same underlying resources. Cloud hosting can also scale based on your resource usage and offer utility style billing on a per hour basis.

At the end of the day the choice between VPS and cloud platforms depends on your business needs; it may well be that you opt for a mixture to get the right blend of flexibility, security and cost.

  • Take advantage of ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) cloud solutions for accounting, CRM and other office applications – it is probably the most flexible and cost effective way of starting a business on a small budget.
  • Use a web host or VPS for hosting custom applications and websites. This will give you most control over your site at a predictable monthly cost.
  • If you are concerned about data security, keep all customer information on a VPS and details about prospects on a cloud application.
  • Always research your hosting provider and find out ‘where’ their VPS / cloud environments are physically located – if you can’t find this information easily then there’s a good chance they’re using the cheapest / least reliable data centres (and probably not in the UK)

- What is a host name?

A hostname is a label that is used to distinguish one server from another. A person's name, for instance, comprises a set of alphabetic characters that allows a person to be individually addressed. Computers are also named to differentiate one machine from another and to allow for such activities as network communication, these often use a mixture of letters and numbers.

- How to choose a good host name?

The official good-practice rules about choosing a hostname:

  • A text string consisting of the letters A through Z (upper or lower case), digits 0 through 9, the minus sign (-), and the period (.)
  • No spaces are permitted as part of a name
  • The first character can be an alphabetic character or number and the last character must not be a minus sign or period

Today host names tend to refer to the domain name and its purpose.

 

Top tips:

  • Use the domain name it is associated with
  • Use words/names that describe the use of the machine
  • Use theme names
  • Use real words
  • Don't worry about reusing someone else's hostname
  • There is always room for an exception

e.g. I am going to buy 3 VPSs for a European marketing project for 4D Hosting. I would recommend naming them:

France.4dhosting.com
Germany.4dhosting.com
Switzerland.4dhosting.com

- What is a nameserver?

A nameserver is a type of server which controls the DNS (or domain name system) for a domain. DNS is the protocol on the internet that turns human-comprehensible website names such as 4dhosting.com into addresses understandable by machines. It allows you to decide which hosting company controls your webhosting space and email.

- How do I find out what my nameserver details are?

Your nameserver details will be provided by your web host. If you are using 4D Hosting, these are:

NS1.TRUEDNS.CO.UK

NS2.TRUEDNS.CO.UK

- What is a firewall? (Hardware and software versions)

A firewall can be either software or hardware-based and acts as like the lock on your front door or your intruder alarm preventing a burglar from entering your house. Firewalls can be simple or complex depending on your security needs and the potential threat your server will come under from malicious attack.

Firewalls prevent hackers and types of malware from attacking your PC over the internet or across a network.

A firewall works mainly by limiting the types of traffic that go to and from your server, a little like a bouncer in a night club. The stricter the rules the less unknown/potential harmful traffic will be able to access your server.

These rules can be used to restrict which IPs are able to connect through the firewall and which ports they can connect on, ensuring as much as possible that only the traffic you want on your network can pass through.

- What types of firewall are available for a VPS?

We offer a standard firewall with our VPSs. This is accessible through “My Services”:

Click “View Details”.

This will show your account details.

Click “Virtual Machine Settings”

Click on "Firewall"

Here you can view and make changes to your firewall rules: 

- What firewall settings are recommended for a VPS (Windows)?

If your VPS is only to be accessed from your business offices, only allow traffic from the office IP addresses:


If only services such as remote desktop and web access are required, you can restrict access to just those ports (secure web access using SSL would be port 443):


- What firewall settings are recommended for a VPS (Linux)?

If your VPS is only to be accessed from your business offices, only allow traffic from the office IP addresses:

If only services such as remote desktop and web access are required, you can restrict access to just those ports:

- What is a virtual private network?

A virtual private network (VPN) is a network that uses the internet to provide users or offices which are not in the same location with secure access to their organization's network.

A VPN works by using the public internet, but maintaining the privacy of the traffic that runs through it by implementing security procedures and tunnelling protocols such as the Layer Two Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP). These protocols encrypt the data at the sending end and decrypt it at the receiving end. The data is seen to be sent through a "tunnel" that cannot be "entered" by any external data that is not encrypted in the same way. An additional level of security involves encrypting not only the data, but also the sending and receiving network addresses.

- How many IP addresses do I get with a VPS?

Each VPS comes with a single IP address.

 

Getting Started

- How do I order a VPS?

To order a VPS, start at the VPS section of the 4D Hosting website: http://www.4dhosting.com/vps/ Select the type of VPS you require from the categories listed on the page:

  • Start-up
  • SME
  • Enterprise

Other options are available. For more information, please contact our Sales team on 020 7183 3655.

You can then either continue with your order over the phone, or continue to select your desired package at the bottom of the page and click “Buy now”:

On the next page, you can select your preferred billing cycle and initial configuration for your VPS (the configuration can be changed later):

You can then review your selections and complete the checkout process.

- How do I set up a VPS?

When ordering a VPS over the phone (for advanced orders): Your VPS is created for you manually by our 4D Hosting team, under your 4D Hosting account.

When ordering a VPS via the 4D Hosting website: You will need to configure the VPS via your VPS control panel. This process usually takes around 15-20 minutes. Log in to your account and click Services>My Services:

Click ‘Configure Server’:

This will bring up the VPS configuration page.

Here you will need to provide your hostname in the format example.com (or .co.uk etc). You will then need to provide your name server prefixes and a root password for the VPS (this is the initial local administrator password). You can also add a memorable name for your VPS at the bottom of the form:

Click ‘Save Settings’ to set up your VPS.

You will then be taken to the VPS information page. At the top you will have an overview of your VPS details including billing cycle, IP address and specification:

If you scroll down, you will see the server management section, where you can perform tasks such as: starting up, shutting down and rebooting your VPS, rebuilding it, opening the console and managing the firewall, IPs, disk and backups:

Finally, if you scroll to the end of the page, you can view the activity log for your VPS and monitor the build progress:

Note: Some Windows VPSs will reboot once or twice after the ‘Configure Operating System’ stage is complete. This usually takes an additional 5-10 minutes to complete.

- How do I set up a cPanel VPS?

When ordering a cPanel VPS over the phone (for advanced orders): Your VPS is created for you manually by our 4D Hosting team, under your 4D Hosting account.

When ordering a VPS via the 4D Hosting website: Purchase your VPS following the “How do I order a VPS” FAQ, selecting the “CentOS 6.3 cPanel x64” OS Template:

Once you have completed your purchase, you will need to configure the VPS via your VPS control panel. This process usually takes around 15-20 minutes. Log in to your account and click Services>My Services:

Click ‘Configure Server’:

This will bring up the VPS configuration page.

Here you will need to provide your hostname in the format example.com (or .co.uk etc). You will then need to provide your name server prefixes and a root password for the VPS (this is the initial local administrator password). You can also add a memorable name for your VPS at the bottom of the form:

Click ‘Save Settings’ to set up your VPS.

You will then be taken to the VPS information page. At the top you will have an overview of your VPS details including billing cycle, IP address and specification:

If you scroll down, you will see the server management section, where you can perform tasks such as: starting up, shutting down and rebooting your VPS, rebuilding it, opening the console and managing the firewall, IPs, disk and backups:

Finally, if you scroll to the end of the page, you can view the activity log for your VPS and monitor the build progress:

Once complete, the support team will apply your cPanel license automatically. This process can take up to 30 minutes. If for any reason this doesn’t happen, please log a support ticket and this will be addressed.
Your cPanel VPS will now be ready for use.

- How do I cancel a VPS?

You can cancel a VPS via “My Services” in your 4D Hosting account:

Click “Request Cancellation”. This will cancel your VPS service at the start of your next billing cycle. Alternatively, you can delete your virtual machine, by first shutting it down, then visiting “My Services”:

Click “View Details”.

This will show your account details. 

Click “Virtual Machine Settings”. Click “Shut down Virtual Machine”:

 Then click “Delete Virtual Machine”:

This will delete your VPS and give you the option to create a new one:

 

- What options are available for control panels?

4D Hosting offers the following control panels pre-installed on request. 4D Hosting can purchase licences for these control panels on your behalf, but will not support these products:

Linux

  • cPanel 
“cPanel is a graphical web-based control panel that helps you quickly and easily manage your website and hosting account. cPanel software gives you complete control over a vast amount of functions, streamlining useful processes such as: 
    • creating databases 
    • managing website files 
    • setting up email accounts and auto responders 

cPanel has grown to become the most popular web hosting control panel, running millions of websites around the world. cPanel was created to give server and website owners control over their properties. Whether you’re managing one, or hundreds, of servers and/or websites, cPanel software’s user-friendly point-and-click interface allows you to customise your web hosting experience to fit your needs.”

  •  Plesk 
“Parallels Plesk Panel 11 provides everything you need to host websites and web applications, from one to thousands. Parallels Panel is ideal for shared web hosters, web designers, IT professionals, and small businesses who want to manage email and hosting needs in-house. Integrated add-ons from Parallels include Power Pack, Web Presence Builder, Customer & Business Manager, and a Hoster Management Pack.”
  • DirectAdmin 

“DirectAdmin is a graphical web-based web hosting control panel designed to make administration of websites easier.”

  • ISPmanager 

“ISPmanager is one of the leading web server control panels on the market. The control panel allows you to manage your entire web server through a user-friendly and comprehensive multi-language web interface. With the click of a mouse you can manage users, hosting packages, mail boxes, databases and much more from one centralised location in a simple and intuitive way.

ISPmanager Server Control Panel provides multi-level access to administrative features for increased management flexibility. The multi-level system makes ISPmanager suitable for business web hosting and personal use.

ISPmanager is available in two versions: Lite and Pro. It enables you to meet different challenges at affordable prices.”

  • Cherokee 

“Cherokee is an innovative, feature rich, lightning fast and easy to configure open source web server designed for the next generation of highly concurrent secured web applications.”

Alternatively, you are welcome to install the control panel of your choice on your VPS.


Windows

For Windows, a number of control panels are available, which you can download and install onto your VPS. 4D Hosting can purchase licences for these control panels on your behalf, but will not support these products:

  • Enkompass 

A web hosting control panel for Windows servers, based on cPanel.

  • ZPanel 

“ZPanel is a free and complete web hosting control panel for Microsoft® Windows™ and POSIX (Linux, UNIX and MacOSX) based servers. ZPanel is written in PHP and uses several open-source (or freely available) software packages to provide a secure web hosting system.”

- How do I access my VPS control panel?

To access your VPS control panel, visit “My Services”:

Click “View Details”.

This will show your account details.

Click “Virtual Machine Settings”. You will then be presented with the virtual machine control panel:

- How do I reset my control panel username?

To reset your control panel username, first go to “My Services”:

Click “View Details”.

This will show your account details. 

Click “Virtual Machine Settings”.

Click “Hello [user]” then “Edit Account Details”:

Now change the email address to the new one and click “Save Changes”:

This will be your new username.

 

- How do I reset my control panel password?

If you have forgotten your password: At the login prompt, click next to “Forgot Password?”:

Then provide your email address and click “Submit”:

Then answer your secret question

You will then be sent an email with a temporary password. It is recommended you change this on login.

To change your password:

To change your password, log in to your account and click “Hello, [name]”, then “Change Password”:

Enter your existing password and new password and click “Save Changes”:

Your password has now been changed.

You can also change your security question with the same method:

 

- How do I set up a private network for VPSs?

If you require a private network for your VPS, please open a support ticket and our Technical team will be happy to help. Log in to your 4D Hosting account and click “Open Ticket”:

Select “Hosting Support”: 

Fill in as much detail as possible for your private network requirements, then click “Submit”: 

You will then be given a ticket ID, which you can use to confirm the status of your ticket. To view the status of your ticket, go to Status>Tickets. Here you will see your open tickets:

 

 

 

- What is load balancing?

A load balancer can be in the form of hardware or software and the fundamental feature of it is to be able to distribute incoming requests over a number of servers in a cluster according to a scheduling algorithm. The action of Load balancing is used when a computing action has a need to distribute the workloads across multiple computing resources, such as VPS or dedicated servers. Load balancing aims to optimize resource use, maximize throughput, minimize response time, and avoid overload of any one of the servers. Using multiple servers with load balancing instead of a single component may increase reliability through redundancy. Load balancing is usually provided by dedicated software or hardware, such as a multilayer switch or a Domain Name System server process.

- Do I need load balancing?

When designing your solution, whether it is for the office email system or a website, you should consider load balancing. Load balancing is required when servers are being accessed by a large target audience, need to process a large amount of data, or transfer large files (or large numbers of small files). Load balancing also adds a layer of redundancy should you lose one or more hosts. The workload of the group of servers (or farm) is then redistributed between the remaining hosts until the faults are resolved. If you are expecting growth in your system, most hardware and software load balancing tools or appliances are scalable. This means that you can start with one or two servers initially, and then later add machines to the farm without reconfiguring the existing hosts.

- How do I set up load balancing on VPSs?

To set up load balancing on two or more VPSs, you will require an additional VPS configured as a virtual load balancing appliance. This can either be ordered via the Sales team over the phone (020 7183 3655) or via the VPS page (http://www.4dhosting.com/vps/), building a startup VPS as one of the Linux templates. You will need to call 4D once this has been done so that we can set it up as a virtual load balancing appliance.

- How do I find the VPS access details?

VPS access details can be found under “My Services”:

Click “View Details”.

This will show your account details. Click “Virtual Machine Settings”:

The top pane shows your host name and root password (when you click the “Password” link):

 If you click the “IP Address” link at the top, you will be taken to the “IP Address” page, which shows the IP for your VPS:

 

 

 

- How do I connect remotely to my VPS (Windows)?

You can access the console through a number of methods:

Console: To access the console (as if you were physically in front of the machine), go to “My Services”:

Click View Details

This will show your account details. Scroll to the bottom and click “Open Console”

A window will open showing the console for your VPS:

 

Remote Desktop (for Windows): To securely connect to your VPS, select click Firewall Management

From here, you can set your network interface (eth0 in this case) to DROP all connections:

You can then set up a rule allowing only traffic from your IP address on port 3389 to the VPS and clicking Save:

Your firewall rules should now look like this:

Click “Save” and “Apply Firewall Rules”. At this stage, you can run Microsoft Remote Desktop (click Start>Run and enter MSTSC and click OK).

Now enter the IP address for your virtual machine (shown under Manage your server within your control panel) and click Connect

Confirm your login credentials and click OK. This will take you to your server.

- How do I connect remotely to my VPS (Linux)?

Log in to 4D Hosting and click “My Services”. You can access your VPS using one of the following methods:

Console: To access the console (as if you were physically in front of the machine), go to “My Services”:

Click View Details

This will show your account details. Scroll to the bottom and click “Open Console”

A window will open showing the console for your VPS:

 

SSH (for Linux): To securely access your VPS via SSH, click Firewall Management

From here, you can set your network interface (eth0 in this case) to DROP all connections:

Now add a rule to accept traffic from your IP address on port 22:

Your firewall rules should look like this:

Click “Save” and “Apply Firewall Rules”. You will now be able to access your VPS using PuTTY or your preferred SSH client:

- How do I reboot a VPS?

If you are unable to reboot a VPS through the operating system, you can reboot via “My Services”:

Click “View Details”.

This will show your account details. Click “Virtual Machine Settings”.

In the actions pane, click “Reboot Virtual Machine”:

Your VPS will now restart. It will attempt to restart gracefully, however if this fails it will force a hard reset.

 

- What is disk space?

Disk space is the allocated space for your VPS. This is the maximum limit for data such as web pages and images that you are permitted to upload to your site.

- How do I check what resources I have on a VPS?

You can check the resources for your VPS in “My Services”:

Click “View Details”.

This will show your account details. Click “Virtual Machine Settings”.

Clicking on “CPU Usage” will give your hourly CPU usage (you can zoom into a specific time period by clicking and dragging in a chart. To zoom out, click the “Show all” button):

- How do I get another IP address for a VPS?

To get another IP address for a VPS, please contact our Sales team on 020 7183 3655 and they will be happy to help you.

- How do I upgrade/downgrade my VPS?

To upgrade your VPS, go to “My Services”:

Click “View Details”.

This will show your account details.

Click “Virtual Machine Settings”.

At the top of the overview page, click “Upgrade/Downgrade”:

Here you can select different drive sizes. Note, when changing drive size, the system will attempt to preserve any existing data on the drive. It is recommended you perform a backup first should this fail.

Or you can select a different operating system (some options will incur an extra charge for a licence). 

To apply these changes, click “Continue” and make payments if necessary: 

For any other changes to your VPS, please contact our Sales team on 020 7183 3655 and we will be happy to help you. Click “Continue”.

Once this has been done, reboot the VPS to apply the changes. 

- What are backups?

Backups are copies of your VPS taken to enable recovery should there be an issue. If pages are accidentally deleted, or if a series of changes are made by mistake, you can roll back to your most recent backup. Backups can be taken on demand as a one-off or scheduled to reoccur on a set interval.

- What backup options are there for a VPS?

You can either take a one-off backup of your VPS or set up a weekly backup schedule.

- How do I take a one-off backup of my VPS?

To take a one-off backup (or snapshot) of your VPS, go to “My Services”:

Click “View Details”.

This will show your account details.

Click “Virtual Machine Settings”.

Click on “Disks”. You will be presented with the “Disks Settings” menu:

Click the icon. This will kick off a backup. You can monitor the progress of the backup on the “Virtual Machine Activity Log” on the overview page: 

 

- How do I schedule a backup?

To schedule a backup, go to “My Services”:

Click “View Details”.

This will show your account details.

Click “Virtual Machine Settings”, then “Disks” at the top:

Under “Autobackup?” click “Yes”. This will enable a scheduled weekly backup.

 

- How do I schedule server updates?

To schedule server updates on your Windows VPS:

Click Start>All Programs, then “Windows Update”.

Click “Turn on automatic updates”:

Now click “Change Settings” and select the frequency for your updates: 

You can alternatively set the server to download the updates, but only install them when you are ready: 

Now click “OK”. You update schedule has now been configured.

 

Networking and Security

- Security tips for VPS (Windows)

If your VPS is only to be accessed from your business offices, only allow traffic from the office IP addresses:

If only services such as remote desktop and web access are required, you can restrict access to just those ports:

Additional:

  • Use an anti-virus within the operating system to protect against attacks
  • Ensure all appropriate updates are installed regularly
  • Use a safe browsing policy to prevent malware being loaded onto your VPS
  • 4D Hosting provide a penetration test service. Please ask our Sales team for details on 020 7183 3655

 

- Security tips for VPS (Linux)

Firewall:

If your VPS is only to be accessed from your business offices, only allow traffic from the office IP addresses:

If only services such as remote desktop and web access are required, you can restrict access to just those ports:

Additional:

  • Use an anti-virus within the operating system to protect against attacks
  • Ensure all appropriate updates are installed regularly
  • Use a safe browsing policy to prevent malware being loaded onto your VPS
  • 4D Hosting provide a penetration test service. Please ask our Sales team for details on 020 7183 3655

 

- What is an IP address?

IP, or Internet Protocol, is the technical format that computers use to communicate over a network. An IP address is a unique numerical label assigned to any device (e.g. a desktop, printer, scanner, website, etc.) which connects to a network. This is comparable to the Royal Mail system; an IP address is just like a home postal address with each one unique to the house.

- IPv4 – what is it?

IPv4 was the fourth version of internet protocol and the first to be widely deployed. Most IPv4 addresses follow a fairly simple sequence of numbers separated by dots known as quad-dotted notation, e.g. 192.0.2.235.

The sequence of numbers lets network devices communicate. Every computer, smartphone and printer will also have its own address.

- IPv6 - what is it?

IPv6 is not new, having been introduced in 1996 (IPv5 was an experiment). IPv6 has provided a massive increase in the number of addresses available due to the move to a 128-bit addressing system. This change means that IPv6 addresses look very different e.g. 2001:cdba:0000:0000:0000:0000:3257:9652. The new system means that we should never run out, and in total provides roughly 480,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 addresses for each of the world’s present 7 billion inhabitants.

However, even though IPv6 has been around for over 15 years it remains unsupported on many networks. That needs to change otherwise we will end up with a very fragmented internet.

- How do I ping my VPS?

You can ping your VPS using the ping command in Windows: To check your VPS’ IP address, go to “My Services”. 

Click “View Details”.

This will show your account details. 

Click “Virtual Machine Settings”. 

Then in the “Actions” section, click “Manage IP Addresses”:

This will show the IP details for your VPS:

Click Start>Run, type “cmd” and press enter.

Then type “ping” followed by the IP for the VPS and press enter: 

 

- I can’t ping my VPS – troubleshooting guide

If you can’t ping your VPS: 1. First check that the VPS is on within “My Services”:

Click “View Details”.

This will show your account details.

Click “Virtual Machine Settings”.

This will show the current status of the VPS. If the status is “OFF”, try to turn the VPS back on:

If the VPS will not start, submit a Support Ticket and our service desk will assist.

2. If the VPS is on, the next thing to check is the firewall.

If your only rule is to drop all connections, this will also stop pings:

 Set “eth0” to accept all traffic (for troubleshooting). This will enable connections to your VPS from anywhere.

3. If the firewall is open and you are still unable to ping, check any software firewalls you may have running on the VPS to confirm they are accepting ICMP traffic.

4. If you are still unable to ping your VPS, submit a support ticket and our Service Desk team will be happy to assist.

- What is a port?

In computing terms a port can refer to either physical or virtual connection points. Physical ports allow cables to be connected from servers to other machines, computers, routers, modems and other peripheral devices. Types of physical ports include:

  • Ethernet ports
  • USB ports
  • Serial ports

Virtual ports are part of TCP/IP settings. Virtual ports allow software applications to share hardware resources without interfering with each other. Servers and routers automatically manage traffic traveling via their virtual ports. Firewalls additionally provide some control over the flow of traffic on each virtual port for security purposes.

- What is a port number?

In computing terms, a port number is given to a port to help identify it (like a house has an address). Port numbers are most commonly used with virtual ports (TCP/IP). These port numbers allow different applications on the same server to share resources simultaneously.

- How Port Numbers Work

Port numbers work similar to telephone extensions. Take a business telephone switchboard for example. There will be a central number that you dial to get to the switchboard, but there will be hundreds of different extensions which will allow you to reach individual employees. Similarly a server has a main address and a set of port numbers to handle incoming and outgoing connections. There are common port numbers which are dedicated to specific actions.

- How do I monitor my ports?

There currently isn’t a way of monitoring your ports from the 4D Hosting control panel.

To simply check which ports are accessible over the internet, there are websites that can test which ports are open.

For example: http://mxtoolbox.com/PortScan.aspx

Enter your VPS’ IP address and click “Port Scan”. This will perform a port scan and report which ports are accessible:

- What is an SSL certificate?

SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organisation’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol (over port 443) and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.

Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins, and more recently is becoming the norm when securing browsing of social media sites. SSL Certificates bind together:

  • A domain name, server name or hostname
  • An organisational identity (i.e. company name) and location

- How do I purchase an SSL certificate?

To purchase an SSL certificate, you will first need to generate a “Certificate Signing Request” or CSR. Instructions on generating a CSR can be found here:

Comodo CSR Generation Instructions

DigiCert CSR Generation Instructions

GeoTrust CSR Generation Instructions

Thawte CSR Generation Instructions

VeriSign CSR Generation Instructions

Once you have your CSR, log in to the 4D Hosting website and click on “Extras” then “SSL Certificates”:

Select the option relevant to you and click “Buy Now”.

Choose your billing cycle and click “Continue”:

Confirm the details are correct and click “Checkout”: 

- How do I add an SSL certificate to my Windows VPS?

To add an SSL certificate to your Windows VPS, log in to your VPS and click “Server Manager”:

Then expand Roles>Web Server (IIS)>Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager:

Next, select your website and in the middle pane, select “Server Certificates”:

Now in the right hand pane, click “Complete Certificate Request…”:

Now click the  button to browse for your certificate:

Select your certificate and click “Open”:

Enter a “Friendly name” – this is to remind you which domain the certificate is for and will not be shown publically.

Then click “OK”.

Your certificate will then be shown in the list:

 

How to configure L2TP on a Linux VPS

Step 1: Initial setup

In order to set up the VPN, we have used the Debian 7 x64 template.

ALL servers in the customer’s network will need to have internal network configured. This can only be done by 4D Hosting Cloud administrators.

In this case there were VPN server (ServerA – internal IP 192.168.1.3) and Windows Server (ServerB – 102.168.1.2).

Next, we need to enable IP forwarding. Using your text editor of choice, open your server’s sysctl configuration file:

$ nano /etc/sysctl.conf

This allows you to change several operating system parameters within Linux. We’re going to add three lines: the first enables IP forwarding, and is essential. The other two lines disable ICMP redirects: this is not essential but is highly recommended unless you believe they are specifically required.

net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
net.ipv4.conf.all.accept_redirects = 0
net.ipv4.conf.all.send_redirects = 0

Tell sysctl to re-read the configuration file to start using the new parameters.

$ sysctl -p /etc/sysctl.conf

Finally, we must install the packages we will be using – the Openswan IPsec VPN and xl2tpd, the Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol Daemon.

$ apt-get update
$ apt-get install openswan xl2tpd

When installing Openswan, you will be asked whether you want to create an X.509 certificate. This tutorial will cover preshared key (PSK) authentication, so you can select No here. If you change your mind at any time you can reach this prompt again by running the command dpkg-reconfigure openswan. It’s important to note that while PSK authentication is secure enough for most uses, this may leave servers vulnerable to ‘Man in the Middle’ (MitM) attacks, potentially allowing a malicious server to masquerade as the VPN gateway. While this is only possible if the attacker is in possession of the PSK, authentication with X.509 certificates or with RSA keypairs makes this type of attack significantly more difficult. If you are planning to allow VPN clients to use the server’s internet connection, you may also wish to install the iptables-persistent package as this will come in useful later.

$ apt-get install iptables-persistent

Step 2: IPsec configuration

First, we’ll configure the IPsec part of our network: this will provide a secure channel for our L2TP-tunnelled data.

We’ll start by editing the main Openswan configuration file as follows.

Tabulator needs to be used in the file as below:

$ nano /etc/ipsec.conf
config setup
         nat_traversal=yes
         virtual_private=%v4:192.168.1.0/24
         oe=off
         protostack=netkey
conn L2TP-PSK
         authby=secret
         pfs=no
         auto=add
         keyingtries=3
         rekey=yes
         ikelifetime=8h
         keylife=1h
         type=transport
         left=<Your server's public IP>  - this needs to be updated
         leftnexthop=%defaultroute
         leftprotoport=17/1701
         right=%any
         rightprotoport=17/%any

For more detailed information on these parameters, consult the Openswan manual page by typing man 5 ipsec.conf. Some important points, however:

  • Openswan uses the terms left and right to describe servers as belonging to the left or right-hand sides of a typical network diagram – that means that left here refers to the VPN server and right refers to decrypted traffic being passed on by the server, either to an internal network or the public internet if the server is being used as a proxy.
  • The authby keyword selects the authentication type. Here we are using a shared secret (our preshared key) for ease of setup and compatibility with clients on different operating systems. Other common options include %rsasigkey for RSA authentication, or %cert for X.509 certificate authentication.

The last step in this section is to configure our shared secret.

$ nano /etc/ipsec.secrets

This file may already contain some preconfigured data; unless you’ve chosen to use another authentication method we won’t be using this, so delete or comment out any existing information in this file. In order to use PSK authentication, we’ll add the following:

%any : PSK “a-secure-psk”

This breaks down as follows:

  • In Openswan’s terminology, this is the left IP.
  • %any – this field allows us to specify who can connect to the VPN using this shared secret. The wildcard %any means ‘any IP address’, but can be replaced by a space separated list of IPs or IP ranges.
  • PSK – here we specify the key. Remember that this is a password and should follow your normal rules on password strength.

You can add several lines following this format if you wish, allowing you to use different PSKs depending on source IP. Once you’ve completed this, we can move on to the next step.

Step 3: Configure L2TP 

Next we configure xl2tpd, the L2TP server daemon.

$ nano /etc/xl2tpd/xl2tpd.conf
[global]
ipsec saref = yes
listen-addr = <Your server's public IP>
[lns default]
ip range = 192.168.1.10-192.168.1.30
local ip = 192.168.1.3
refuse chap = yes
refuse pap = yes
require authentication = yes
name=vpn-server-name
ppp debug = yes
pppoptfile = /etc/ppp/options.xl2tpd
length bit = yes

  • Local IP – this is the IP of your VLAN interface. As mentioned above, we are using 192.168.1.3 in this example.
  • IP range – a range of IPs from which internal addresses will be assigned to remote clients. This should be on the same subnet as this machine, but should not conflict with addresses in use on the VLAN. Here, we specify 192.168.1.10-20, allowing for 10 potential remote users.
  • We have specified refuse chap and refuse pap. When we specify PPP options we will choose to require the use of MS-CHAPv2 for better compatibility with Windows clients.

Now the PPP options:

$ nano /etc/ppp/options.xl2tpd
require-mschap-v2
ms-dns 8.8.8.8
ms-dns 4.2.2.1
ms-dns 8.8.4.4
proxyarp
asyncmap 0
auth
crtscts
lock
hide-password
modem
debug

  • ms-dns – some clients will request DNS settings from the server when connected over the VPN. Here, we are simply using public DNS provided by Google and Level3.
  • proxyarp – proxy ARP is required to rewrite the source hardware address and prevent traffic being dropped for coming from an invalid location.

Finally, the CHAP secret for PPP authentication:

$ nano /etc/ppp/chap-secrets
# Secrets for authentication using CHAP
# client        server                           secret                       IP addresses
*               vpn-server-name          a-secure-chap-secret         *

Again, you can specify several lines following this format, in order to provide different secrets for different users.

  • client – this allows you to set a username to go with the CHAP secret. Here, we use the wildcard * to allow any username.
  • server – the name of the server. We specified this in /etc/xl2tpd/xl2tpd.conf above.
  • secret – the CHAP secret itself. Again, this is a password and should follow good practice for password strength.
  • IP addresses – an IP address or range of addresses that will be used to allocate an address to any user who connects using this CHAP secret. This should be a subset of the range specified above; here we have used * once again, meaning the server should allocate addresses from the whole range.

This nearly completes our tutorial – if you would like to make this server’s internet connection available for remote clients to use a proxy, you must follow one more step. If you are simply aiming to use your IPsec VPN to connect remote users to servers within VLAN, you can skip to the final step: starting Openswan.

Step 4 (Optional): Enable NAT for remote clients

In order for remote users to connect to the public internet through this VPN server, the gateway must be configured to perform Network Address Translation (NAT) for remote clients. To do that, we will use Linux’s built-in iptables firewall. The following command tells it to perform NAT for the IP range 192.168.1.0/24:

iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth1 -s 192.168.1.0/24 -j MASQUERADE

You may recall that we installed the package iptables-persistent during the first step. This provides a simple method of ensuring that the firewall rules we create will be loaded when the server boots. To save the firewall rules, run:

$ iptables-save > /etc/iptables/rules.v4

Remote users can now set a default route through this server in order to securely access the internet through the VPN.

Step 5: Start Openswan

All we need to do now is start Openswan and xl2tpd. On Debian, we can do this as follows:

$ /etc/init.d/ipsec start
$ /etc/init.d/xl2tpd start

To make Openswan and xl2tpd start automatically on boot, simply run the following two commands:

$ update-rc.d ipsec defaults
$ update-rc.d xl2tpd defaults

 

Accounts and Billing

- How do I log in to my account?

To log in to your account, visit www.4dhosting.com and click ‘Login’ at the top:

Then log in with your email address and password:

If you have forgotten your password, follow the link next to ‘Forgot Password?’.

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To reset your password, visit www.4dhosting.com and click ‘Login’ at the top:

Then click the link next to ‘Forgot Password?’.
Then enter your email address and click ‘Submit’:

You will then be sent an email with further instructions.

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You can pay for any 4D service with a credit or debit card. You can add funds to your account using your credit or debit card for making payments later.

- How do I view my bill?

To view your bill, first log in to your 4D Hosting account.

Next, click Billing>My Invoices:

Here you will find all of the invoices for your account. Click ‘View Invoice’ next to the invoice you wish to view:

Your invoice will look similar to this:

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To download your bill, first log in to your 4D Hosting account.

Next, click Billing>My Invoices:

Here you will find all of the invoices for your account. Click ‘View Invoice’ next to the invoice you wish to download:

Your invoice will look similar to this:

Below your invoice, you can click the ‘Download’ link to download it. This will be downloaded in PDF format and will require a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader to open.

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All of our invoices show VAT as standard. To view your invoice, first log in to your 4D Hosting account.
Next, click Billing>My Invoices:

Here you will find all of the invoices for your account. Click ‘View Invoice’ next to the invoice you wish to view:

Your invoice will look similar to this:

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To view old bills, first log in to your 4D Hosting account.
Next, click Billing>My Invoices:

Here you will find all of the invoices for your account. Click ‘View Invoice’ next to the invoice you wish to view:

Your invoice will look similar to this:

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To view your next bill, first log in to your 4D Hosting account.
Next, click Billing>My Invoices:

Here you will find all of the invoices for your account. Click ‘View Invoice’ next to the invoice for the current month (you will receive your invoice 14 days before the due date):

This will bring up your invoice for the month.

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To update your credit card details, first log in to your 4D Hosting account.
Next click Billing>Manage Credit Card:

You will be taken to the ‘Credit Card Details’ page.
Here you can update your credit card:

- My payment failed – what are my options?

If your payment fails, you can retry the payment with a new card, by firstly logging into your 4D Hosting account.
Next, click Billing>My Invoices:

Here you will find all of the invoices for your account. Click ‘View Invoice’ next to the invoice you wish to retry payment on:

This will bring up the unpaid invoice:

Click ‘Pay Now’ to retry your payment.
Here you can select an existing card registered to your account or use a different one:

Continue to retry your payment.

- How do I check my products and services?

To see your products and services, first log in to your 4D Hosting account. Visit www.4dhosting.com and click ‘Login’ at the top:

Then log in with your email address and password

Next, to show your web hosting, Exchange email or VPS services, click Services>My Services:

This will show your services:

To view your domains, click Domains>My Domains:

This will show your domains:

- How do I change the email registered on the account?

To change the email registered on your account, first log in to your 4D Hosting account.

Then click ‘Hello [User]’, then ‘Edit Account Details’:

Now change the email address to the new one and click ‘Save Changes’:



This will be your new username.

- How do I merge two accounts?

To merge two accounts, log a ticket with the details, stating each account username.
In the event one of the other account’s contact details aren’t added to your account, we will request an email from the owner of the second account to confirm they approve the merge.

- How do I make a complaint?

To make a complaint, please email complaints@4dhosting.com with as much detail about your issue as possible.

- How do I cancel my account?

To cancel your account, call our Sales team on 020 7183 3655 and they will be happy to help.

 

Support

- What does 4D Support cover?

4D Support provides assistance from our dedicated team of experts on the following services:

Domain

- Single domain or reseller domain support
- Domain registration, renewals and migrations
- Whois information incorrect
- DNS configuration

Web and mail hosting

- Advice on what supported technologies 4D use (PHP, ASP, MySQL etc)
- Hosting package types (disk space and bandwidth)
- Site optimisation/bandwidth requirements
- Web forwarding/re-directs/subdomains/stats
- Mailbox accounts/aliases/domains/groups/lists/limits
- DNS/ FTP/ SSL

Hosted Exchange

- Connectivity and configuration issues
- Adding/removing mailboxes
- Calendar/public folder syncing
- OWA access issues

SSL certificates

- SSL registration queries
- SSL binding issues
- Shared SSL
- Installing certs to 4D hosted domains

VPS

- VPS connectivity issues
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- cPanel queries
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Dedicated servers

- Supply and installation of dedicated hardware
- Remote hands support
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We can do more. If your issue is not listed above, please log a support ticket or call our Support team on 020 7183 0475 and our Support team will assist where possible.

- How do I submit a ticket?

To submit a ticket, log in to your 4D Hosting account and click “Open Ticket”:

Select the relevant support department.

Fill in as much detail as possible, then click “Submit”:

You will then be given a ticket ID, which you can use to confirm the status of your ticket.

To view the status of your ticket, go to Status>Tickets. Here you will see your open tickets:

- How long does it take for a ticket to be answered?

Support tickets are usually responded to within 15 minutes. Repair times may vary depending on the nature of the issue.

- When can I call Support?

The Support team are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

- What is the Support phone number?

The Support phone number is 020 7183 0475.

- What are the contact details for 4D Hosting?

Sales Team: 020 7183 3655
Existing Clients
24 / 7 Support and NOC: 020 7183 0475
Account Team: 020 7183 0602
Support Email: support@4dhosting.com
Log Ticket: Click Here
Head Office: 020 7183 0475
4D Data Centres Ltd
4D Surrey
122 Oyster Lane
Byfleet
Surrey
KT14 7JU
United Kingdom

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