Setting up the software environment on a new server

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Karl_
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PostSetting up the software environment on a new server
by Karl_ » Tue May 21, 2019 9:01 pm

We will use Debian.

Our webserver will be Nginx with PHP-FPM 7.0. We will use Certbot to generate an SSL certificate for the server.

Our database server will be PostgreSQL. I'm switching from MySQL/MariaDB because I think Postgres has a better design philosophy. It has conservative defaults, but there is a good performance tweaking guide available here: https://wiki.postgresql.org/wiki/Tuning_Your_PostgreSQL_Server

Our mail server will be OpenSMTPD + Dovecot, with a Roundcube webmail service. I plan to set up a shared email inbox, theteam@grcade.co.uk, which everyone involved in the site in an official capacity can opt in to access. I anticipate at least the director, the treasurer, and the head moderator having access (and I will have access for technical reasons). There may be more email addresses available, for instance for individual team members, or for projects on request.

We are likely to run Mumble as a legacy system, but advertise the GRcade Discord channel.

People who are good at Linux: I would be interested in performance tuning tips for any of the above software. I would also be very interested in having a hand setting up and hardening the email server. Please let me know if you're in a position to volunteer to help with this. There are some useful tutorials on the Arch Linux wiki: e.g. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Dovecot

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Green Gecko
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PostRe: Setting up the software environment on a new server
by Green Gecko » Tue May 21, 2019 11:20 pm

I know next to nothing about performance server configuration and so naturally defer all relevant decisions to Karl or somebody like him. I've always been happy with how fast this site is to load since we moved from shared hosting. We can have as many Linux sysadmins as are willing to contribute provided that they agree to some kind of Reasonable Conduct and can demonstrate that they reasonably understand data protection practices and what the GRcade server is and isn't for and resources should be monitored in case of x pet project goes haywire or viral etc.

I've worked with a PostgreSQL database once before and as far as I needed to interact with it (Python webapp) was no more complex or difficult than MySQL.

I know a python (django) developer with a doctorate who uses PostgreSQL (it was his app). I'll try to ask him for a useful resource.

A webmail would be good, although team@grcade.co.uk is fine - it's a small thing, but people forget the little words in addresses like that. It's good not to use something too generic like info or admin because you get less spam. This should be set up with POP or IMAP access with server set to retain copies so that multiple people can read them, and "dealing", "done", "waiting" etc statuses set up as folders to manage the enquiries. Gmelius browser add-on when accessing via Gmail as a client can help assign to-dos and automated follow-up reminders and preset responses to help with managing queries. I think we need to demarcate what constitutes a serious problem about GRcade to go to email and when it's something more casual in nature, in which case the native phpBB PM system is fine. This is needed to prevent black holes with members getting banned or needing to sign up to contact us but can't for some reason, with the key benefit it can be accessed by more than one person. And we should display clearly how to get in touch with us in case of an emergency like someone's getting seriously harassed or the server has been offline for several hours.

♥ gaems | t: @GRcade | FB: GRcadeUK | YT: GRcadeVideo | Twitch: GRcadeUK
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Winckle
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PostRe: Setting up the software environment on a new server
by Winckle » Wed May 22, 2019 4:17 pm

Should we be looking to containerise our services these days?

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Karl_
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PostRe: Setting up the software environment on a new server
by Karl_ » Thu May 23, 2019 1:33 am

Winckle wrote:Should we be looking to containerise our services these days?

This could be really cool and useful, but I don't know much about Docker / similar softwares, and I don't really know where to start. Is it something you've used before? Would definitely be interested in hearing more about how we would potentially implement it.

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Green Gecko
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PostRe: Setting up the software environment on a new server
by Green Gecko » Thu May 23, 2019 2:22 am

I have no idea what this even means, but I'm still interested to learn from a top level view.

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Jenuall
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PostRe: Setting up the software environment on a new server
by Jenuall » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:43 am

We used Docker for hosting some of our development infrastructure on a project about 4 years back. All I can remember is that it was a bit fiddly to work with and after about two years it broke and we lost our entire codebase! We had backups of course but even restoring those seemed to be more of a pain than it would have been if we weren't using containers.

I'm sure a lot of the difficulty was our lack of familiarity with it and the fact that the tech was much newer then - I can imagine it has been refined a lot since that time.

Personally I find it much more straightforward to work with an actual server (physical or virtual) as I feel more in control of the setup and operation of it, but that's just personal preference!

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Lagamorph
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PostRe: Setting up the software environment on a new server
by Lagamorph » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:44 am

We use Kubernetes at work, though it's a different department and I have zero involvement with it, I just hear the word a lot and it's never something I've ever really looked at.

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False
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PostRe: Setting up the software environment on a new server
by False » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:28 am

yeah being a windows boi I just work with the servers rather than compartmentalising everything

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Lagamorph
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PostRe: Setting up the software environment on a new server
by Lagamorph » Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:02 pm

Though Server 2019 is looking to blur that line a bit.

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Minty14
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PostRe: Setting up the software environment on a new server
by Minty14 » Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:43 pm

A platform like Kubernetes would be way overkill in this type of case, as would be building and maintaining our own docker image(s). However, it's a useful tool to use pre-built images, for example, we've spoken about Discourse and that uses Docker in the back end, which makes it real quick and easy to install/update. I imagine there are phpBB images out there too.

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Winckle
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PostRe: Setting up the software environment on a new server
by Winckle » Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:49 pm

I think docker-compose would be the best tool to let us containerise and easily swap in/out or upgrade our services. Especially if we go with discourse, as Minty says, it's docker based anyway.


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