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1and1 vs. Bluehost vs. HostGator

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I’ve been looking for new shared webhosting services.   I’ve been using 1and1.com for several years, bluehost.com for one year and hostgator.com for a few days.  I’ve been disappointed by all of them.  Perhaps my web needs have surpassed what shared hosting services can offer because each of the web hosting companies I’ve mentioned presented me with different debilitating problems.  Here’s a quick run-down:

1and1.com (Business Plan)

Pros: Very affordable
Cons: Limited number of databases, each limited to 100 mb, poor tech support, bad reputation

Bluehost.com

Pros: Very affordable, DNS changes are fast, decent customer service
Cons: I’ve experienced 4 downtimes in 1 month.  Tech support say they do not support subversion, so although I installed it myself, Bluehost system administrators may one day, without any warning, configure their servers in a way that disables my repositories.

Hostgator.com (Business Plan)

Pros: Very affordable, very good tech support (responds in less than 30 mins)
Cons: You can only connect/disconnect via SSH every 10 minutes.  You have to ask their system administrators to white list your IP if you want to repeatedly connect via SSH.  Their SSH is on port 2222.

I wish there were one hosting service that could grant me all my wishes.  But since I’m hard luck to find one, maybe it’s time for me to purchase a Virtual Private Server so that I can set things up the way I need them to be set up.

Written by John Lai

October 11th, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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Web Space Quota 1and1

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To check your webspace quota on a 1and1 linux package, login to http://admin.1and1.com. Then go to “Package Information” and click on “Quota”. See image below:

Written by John Lai

April 21st, 2009 at 6:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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SVN Access via SSH keys for Linux and Windows

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Many shared hosting packages offers only 1 SSH account, which can be a problem if you have many developers each needing his/her own unique credentials to access the server. This is especially the case if you have multiple developers needing to access a single subversion repository.

In this post, I outline the steps to offer a client machine (your developer) unique SSH credentials for server access via SSH keys. I follow up by showing how they can connect to your svn repository.

Step A: Setup on Client’s Linux Machine

// Performed by client (the developer)

If you use a unix-like OS, continue reading this step. If you use a Windows OS, skip this step and go to Step B.

1. Open up the terminal/shell.

2. On the command line, type:

ssh-keygen -t dsa

3. When prompted to enter file name, type:

mykeys

4. When prompted for a password, you can leave it blank and hit enter, or type in a password. Because we are authenticating via keys, it is not necessary to use a password.

5. Now you should have two files:

a) mykeys – the private key you keep to access the server
b) mykeys.pub – the public key you give to your systems administrator

6. Copy mykeys to the ~/.ssh directory.

7. Rename mykeys to id_dsa.

8. Give mykeys.pub to your systems administrator.

You are done. When your systems administrator installs the mykeys.pub on his end in Step C, you will be able to access his server via ssh using the new password you chose.

Step B: Setup on Client’s Windows Machine

// Performed by client (the developer)

If you use a windows OS, continue reading this step. If you use a unix-like OS, avoid this step and perform only Step A.

1. Go to http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html and download putty.exe and puttygen.exe.

2. Open puttygen.exe.

3. From the main menu, select Key>SSH-2 DSA key.

4. Press the Generate button.

5. Move your mouse cursor around to generate randomness as instructed by the program.

6. When key is generated, you may choose to fill in the keyphrase passes or leave them empty. Because we are authenticating via keys, it is not necessary to use a password.

7. Copy the contents in the “Public key for pasting into OPENSSH authorized_keys file:” into a text document. Save the text document as mykeys.pub.

8. Save private key as mykeys.ppk.

9. Send mykeys.pub to your systems administrator. Wait for him to configure things in Step C before continuing.

10. When your systems administrator is finished with Step C, you are ready to set up Putty SSH and SVN access. Open up Putty and fill out the Host Name.

11. In the Saved Session, type in a Session Name that you can easily remember. It will be used by svn later on.

12. On the left hand side, go to Connection>SSH>Auth and find the mykeys file for the private key field.

13. Go to Connection>SSH and make sure SSH 2 is selected.

14. Go back to the first Putty screen and save these settings.

15. Test the new SSH Key by clicking Open. Putty will prompt you for the private key password you chose earlier.

16. Download and install Tortoise SVN for Subversion access.

17. When Tortoise is installed, the path to your svn repository is

svn+ssh://username@sessionname/serverpathtorepository

The username is the ssh account username. The sessionname is the Session Name from step 11. This Session Name links back to the settings saved by Putty. When you log in, Tortoise will prompt you for your ssh key password.

You are done.

Step C: Setup on Unix-like Server

// Performed by systems administrator

1. Obtain the mykeys.pub from your client.

2. Copy the contents of mykeys.pub and append it to the file ~/.ssh/authorized_keys2 (if the file does not exist, create a blank document first and then append).

3. In the /pathtorepository/conf/passwd file, add a new username – password pair.

Your server is now ready to accept ssh access from your client. Repeat these steps for additional clients, and append the public keys to authorized_keys2.

Written by John Lai

February 13th, 2009 at 6:45 pm

SVNserve (Subversion) on 1and1

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** A new post has been written on this subject. Please read SVN Access Via SSH Keys for Linux and Windows for an updated and working solution (works on 1and1 as well).


—– Old Original Post ——-

I spent the week trying to get Multiple Subversion User Accounts to work on a 1and1 Linux Business Package. I FAILED. The 1and1 tech team told me they do not allow it.

As many of you know by now, the 1and1 Linux Business Package only gives you one SSH account. Ideally, you do not share this ssh account because it opens up your entire shared server, including access to svn (via svn+ssh tunnel mode – instructions here).

First, I tried to run svnserve in daemon mode and failed. I discovered 1and1 runs a crontab to kill svnserve daemons every minute. I tried to write my own crontab to revive the daemon, but that didn’t work.

Second, I tried to run svnserve in inetd mode, but because I do not have access to inetd.conf (makes sense..i’m on a shared server), this option failed.

Third, I tried to use public key authentication to allow multiple users to ssh into my shared server without knowledge of my ssh password. 1and1 does not allow public key authentication unless you’re using putty public key authentication, which isn’t the same thing. So this option failed too.

In the end, I released my sole ssh credentials to my developers, which they used to ssh tunnel into my repository.

1and1 said they allow svnserve on their dedicated and virtual servers.

———

** A new post has been written on this subject. Please read SVN Access Via SSH Keys for Linux and Windows for an updated and working solution (works on 1and1 as well).

Written by John Lai

September 8th, 2008 at 9:51 pm