Masternode Setup Guide: Part 1
First off let me state that I am by no means a linux guru/expert/whizzkid/knowitall, I know what I know and that isn’t much! It’s generally enough to achieve some basic stuff but like anything; the best way to learn and become competent at things is to practise and play with it.
If you want to get to know linux and/or masternodes then using a VPS is the perfect playground to achieve this, if you mess something up you can click a few buttons and you are up and running again from scratch with no harm done.
VPS, What is it?
A VPS is a Virtual Private Server, and it’s kind of like a program running on a computer. This program is allocated a certain amount of storage space from the HDD, a certain amount of RAM from the system memory and a number of the processing cores from the CPU. This in effect makes it look like an actual computer that you can install any operating system (OS) on to use how you like. This program cannot however see any of the other programs that may be running on the server which is where the virtual part comes into play.
If a server has 32 processing cores, 32GB of RAM and 800GB of Hard drive space then via some special software you can create a number of VPS’s using that hardware. You could for example create 32 VPS’s with 1 CPU core, 1GB of ram and 25GB of HDD space or you could have 16 VPS’s with 2 CPU cores, 2GB of RAM and 50GB of storage.
I’m sure there is a better way to explain that (and probably more correct lol) but that’s how I see it, if you want to know more then check out the Wikipedia page here.
Where to begin?
To set up a VPS you need to find a company that has the ability to create and rent them out, there are plenty of them out there on the web but my personal preference at the moment is Vultr.com, they are as cheap as the other but also have better specifications than the other providers like Linode.com or DigitalOcean.com (If you sign up to Digitalocean with this link you will be credited with $10 to your account). Vultr also has a much nicer/cleaner interface I believe. OVH is another cheap one but it’s quite confusing to use.
This guide will show you how to setup a VPS at Vultr, if you are using a different hosting company then obviously you will have to do things differently but it should be a very similar process. The main meat and bones of this guide will all be done in Putty anyway so don’t worry too much, it’s only the initial creation of the VPS that will be different!
- Obviously you will first need to create an account at Vultr.com.
- Putty, this will be your interface to the VPS. It can be downloaded from here.
- Puttygen, this will create a private and public key pair to secure your VPS. It can also be downloaded from the link above.
- A domain name. This is entirely optional but I find it easier to manage (from different locations) and it will also be a requirement for some future Masternodes that will be encrypted via an ssl certificate like Zencash. I get my domain names from 123-Reg but there are a million and one providers out there, Google is your friend.
Step 1 – Creating the VPS
Once logged into Vultr, make sure you are on the Servers page (top icon on the left hand menu under the Vultr logo). Click on the blue round ‘+’ as shown below to start the creation of a new VPS instance.
Section 1 (shown below) is where you select the location of your VPS to be based, if you are going to have multiple Masternodes hosted with Vultr then you should probably put each one in a different location, this way if one of their data centers goes down for any reason only 1 of your Masternodes will be affected, this is also better for the coin network to have all their Masternodes spread out around the world rather than in a few locations where they can be easily targeted for attack.
Select the operating system you want to use in section 2, I suggest using Ubuntu 16.04 x64.
Choose the server size in section 3, I would say the $2.50/m is fine for hosting a Masternode (once sufficient swap has been configured) but as you can see they are not available at the moment. The next best option would be the $5/m VPS, you get double the RAM, Bandwidth and 5GB of extra storage space for your extra $2.50 which is very nice (if you compare the Vultr $5 tier against Linode, DigitalOcean etc you will see that Vultr is a better deal).
In section 7 we need to enter the hostname of our VPS, I am just going to call mine ‘test‘ but you can call yours whatever you like, for my Masternodes I use the currency ticker, i.e ZEN, CRAVE, NTRN etc. Once done click on the big blue ‘Deploy Now‘ button.
You will see your VPS show up and it will indicate it’s being installed, once it has finished it will show you the basic details of your VPS like the picture below (the red squiggle is to hide the IP Address of the server). Click on the hostname, ‘test‘ in my case.
Below you will see a picture of the 2 most important things you need to know right now, the IP address with a handy copy button (highlighted yellow) and also the root password with a copy and view button.
Step 1 b – Configure your domain name (Optional)
If you have a domain name then you can now go ahead and create a subdomain that points to the IP address of your VPS, I won’t go into details here as each domain registrar will do things differently. I always give the subdomain the same name as I gave the VPS just to keep things easy. i.e. if I were setting up an ENT masternode I would create an ENT.MyFantasticWebsite.com subdomain at my website (MyFantasticWebsite.com).
If you know nothing about domain names etc then I suggest you skip this part as it’s not needed at all.
Step 2 – Logging in
Now we will need to log into the VPS using Putty, open it up and you will be presented with the screen as shown below.
Select the round ‘SSH‘ toggle button, your putty should now look like this.
Copy the VPS IP address from Vultr and paste it into the box at the top. If you have set up a domain name then you can type this into this box also. Keep the port number as 22. Write a descriptive name into the second box highlighted yellow and click ‘Save‘, this is so you don’t have to keep typing in IP addresses etc every time. Once done click ‘Open‘ at the bottom and you’ll see this hopefully.
Type root and hit ‘Enter‘.
Back on the Vultr page copy the root password. If you have never used Putty before then you need to learn how to paste text into it, it’s really easy, just hover the mouse pointer over Putty and click the Right mouse button, that’s it. The other thing you should know is when you are typing/pasting passwords into a linux terminal like Putty, they won’t show, literally they are invisible, so after Right clicking just hit ‘Enter‘. You should now see this.
That’s it for Part 1, if you see the above then you have successfully created a VPS online and logged into it for the first time! Congratulations.
Check out Part 2 to learn how setup your VPS ready for use as a Masternode.