Got my own Server

On the 21st October I got my very own dedicated server. The one I went for was the Express Server 6, from Leaseweb. This server came with Duo Core T2450, 1GB of RAM, 160GB SATA II HD, a 100Mbps duplex link, 2GB of data traffic per month, 2 IP addresses, and on a Windows 2008 Web Server platform. Total cost, €49/month.

Things in the small print I should have read first: 1) After paying for a 3 month contract, by bank transfer, I immediately got another invoice for another €15. This was because the contracts only run from the start of the month (so in my case, that would be from the 1st November), so I was being charged for the rest of the current month of October. 2) Technical support is by email ticket only. This can then be a lengthy process if the engineer has to ask you several questions by email exchange if the server is down or misbehaving for any reason.

Getting Opensim Installed
I was told to await an email, with my login details, which would signify that my server was installed and ready. I duly got the email on the 21st October, informing me of the IP address of the server, and the System Administrator password.

To log in, I used the Windows Remote Desktop, which I found in Start, Programs, Accessories, Communications, Remote Desktop Connection (I dragged a copy of this to my desktop). This widget comes as standard with Windows XP Service Pack 1, and XP Professional, but if you have an older flavour of Windows and you do not have it, you can download it from here. I then entered the IP address I was given (the one in the picture I just made up), and it connected right away and presented me with a login screen for my server.

There were two login Users, Colin (that's me!) and Other User. I tried the password in the Colin box, but it did not work, I then created another user, called 'System Administrator', as it said in the email, but the password did not work there either. Starting to panic I little, I did a Google search for Leaseweb login problem, and I immediately found a discussion forum where someone was having the same problem. The advice given was to create a User called 'Administrator' and use the password with that account. That solved it, panic over (for now). I was connected directly to my server's desktop, as if I was sitting in front of it with my monitor, keyboard and mouse (although a little slower, of course).

I first tried to copy/paste the bin folder from my PC to the server, but the Paste function was greyed out on the server. A little more Googling, and I found that this had to be enabled explicitly, by choosing Options on the Remote Desktop widget, selecting Local Resources, and checking the Disk Drives box. I then went back to the General Tab, typed in my password, and saved the connection details in the default.rdp file so I would not have to enter them each time I wanted to connect to my server.

TIP: Do not copy your bin folder to the server using Remote Desktop, nor the installation file for MySQL, these files are quite large, and the connection speed (upload speed) provided by most ISPs is very slow (compared with their advertised download speeds). Instead, use the Internet Explorer on the server to locate the latest OpenSim binary download from the OSGrid website, and download the MySQL installer file directly from their website. These files downloaded in seconds, whereas the copy/paste method from PC to server can take over an hour.

The only files I then copy/pasted, which were quick, because they were small, were the Opensim.ini, and default.xml file from my Regions folder. There was one other file I needed to copy/paste, which was quite large, but there was no other way to do it, more on that next.

I then installed MySQL, and when it was complete, and I had created the opensim database file, I copy/pasted my opensim.sql file into the c:\ root drive (see the details on this in the Diary entry for the 18th October).

Poking Holes in the Firewall
Otherwise known as Port-Forwarding. The email I received from Leaseweb advised me that IP Filtering was Enabled, and that the only ports that were open were TCP Ports 21, 80, and 3389. I had no idea what IP Filtering was, and I spent a lot of time barking up the wrong tree, before DigiDaz on the #opensim channel came to my rescue, once again, and told me that IP Filtering Enabled simply meant that the Windows firewall was switched on!

In order to open the TCP 8000-8005, TCP 8895, and TCP/UDP 9000 ports, I went into Control Panel, selected Windows Firewall, and then selected Change Settings. I then selected the Exceptions tab, and clicked the Add port.. button. I gave the exception a name, chose the first port to open, TCP 8000, and clicked OK. I then repeated this for the remaining ports to open.

Running OpenSim on the Server
The only change I needed to make before I began was to put the server IP address into the external_host_name in the default.xml file (I later changed this to my DynDNS host name, after setting the host to point to the server's static IP address, and I turned off the automatic updating (all of this is described in Tutorial 3, in the Main Tutorials). Opensim ran normally, and after updating my Hippo viewer with the server's IP address in the loginuri box, I was in, and connected to my Opensim!

The whole process had taken around an hour.


MB said...

How many regions do you run on that server?


Rock said...

I originally had 25 regions on this server, in a 5x5 grid. I have now reduced this to 9 regions, 3x3 grid, only because it is easier to manage.