Even though you can start using your server immediately, there are things you need to do to get the most out of new your CentOS server and improve its security.
Connect to your VPS
Once your server is set up, login credentials will be sent to you.. These include a dedicated IP address, username and password. You will need to connect to your server via SSH.
There are several ways to connect to to your server depending on the operating system you use. For Windows, you can use an open source application called PuTTY.
For Linux and Mac users, you can use the terminal.
Check here for more details on how to connect to your VPS as root via SSH.
Update your Server
After connecting to successfully via SSH, the next thing you need to do is to update your server.
The following command will update your CentOS server.
It will update the packages already installed on your system and install the latest security updates.
NB: Updates should be done on a regular basis at least once a month. You can enable automatic updates so you don’t have to do it manually.
Secure your server
This is one of the most important steps you need to do after getting your VPS.
Use strong passwords
No matter how good your defensive mechanisms are, nothing can protect a server with a weak password. Strong passwords is the most basic way to secure your server.
To create a strong password:
– make sure it is at least 8 characters long
– use a combination of lower case and upper case letters
– use at least one numeric and/or special character.
You can even use the command line to generate a password. See more details here
Secure SSH Access
A password authentication is usually used to connect remotely via SSH.
You can harden your SSH access by using SSH keys instead.
For more details on how to generate a public/private key and use them to connect to your server check out our guide here
Setting up a firewall
Another crucial step in securing your server is setting up a firewall.
You can configure a firewall on your CentOS server using iptables and FirewallD
If your don’t have your VPS already, you can get one from as little as Ksh 499 per month.