Setting up SSL with Nginx & StartSSL (FREE!)

In the past I’ve used PositiveSSL to enable SSL on my domains, you can find my old article at my other blog if you for some reason still want to use PositiveSSL. I purchased my PositiveSSL certificates through a great website where I also purchase my domains. I recently discovered the 100% free StartSSL service and wanted to test it out. My biggest complaint is their website kind of blows, it’s confusing and slow and I had to wait because they were “over capacity” before I could sign up. But that aside, after it’s all over with, it works just fine and was pretty simple. The first step would be to go sign up and get the ball rolling. Head on over to their website and you’ll need to do a few steps (clicking a few buttons) to generate a cert for logging into the website. They will ask you to backup that cert etc so you don’t lose access to your account. When that is all said and done lets get started generating our domain certificates on our web server.

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Installing Sencha Cmd & ExtJS 5.0

You may have heard about ExtJS in some aspect by now, it’s been around the block a few times now. It’s a pure html / css / javascript framework for building enterprise web applications. I’d used a previous version in the past so I had a good general idea of what to expect from the new version.

After installing it and diving head first into it however, I discovered it has changed drastically in the newest iteration. Installing and configuring it seems more complicated at first but the new “build” focused development cycle is a huge improvement over the old ExtJS.

Introducing Sencha Cmd the command line tool for building your ExtJS 5.0 application. With saas built right into the platform, this sucker is a beast.

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Installing Nginx and PHP5-FPM

This article is a continuation of a previous article that outlined basic server setup of a Linode VPS running Ubuntu 14.04. If you missed it, please read the previous article. This article assumes you have a Linode VPS already setup and running with some common packages already installed so I won’t go into any of that stuff.

So we have a basic server configured now we need to install the most important aspect, the web server itself. I greatly prefer Nginx to Apache because of it’s much lower memory footprint / requirements. In the past I have used spawn-fcgi to run php as fastcgi to serve pages. I’ve since abandoned it for php5-fpm which is much simpler to get running and a lot less manual labor. If you prefer spawn-fcgi you can refer to my old blog at for that guide.

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Setting up your linode

If you are not familiar with Linode, they are a provider of VPS (Virtual Private Servers) which is basically a semi-private version of shared hosting. You generally don’t have to share the box with hundreds of other people and even if you do you are guaranteed a certain share of the resources (CPU / RAM / etc). Not to mention the server hardware itself is extremely beast as far as power. You are in your own little private eco-system meaning you and only you have access to your machine (or slice of a machine rather). You will not experience the same horrible load times and transfer rates that you would get at companies like Go Daddy and Dreamhost (shudder). The only down side is you do not have a CPanel or Plesk panel (though you can install one if you wish, but I do not use them and will not go into that here) so you have to install and manage everything yourself. It’s not as hard as you might think if you can get used to searching Google and reading a lot of tutorials.

Command line can be a tricky beast for beginners, this blog aims to help ease some of that pain by sharing the procedures that I usually take when setting up my web server. Please be advised that with every new version of Linux the steps can vary a bit due to packages being upgraded or removed from the repositories.

This guide focuses on configuring the latest and greatest (at the time of this article) version of Ubuntu on a freshly provisioned Linode server. The exact system specs do not matter that much, you can use the lowest 1G plan if you like, the steps will be the same. I’m using the 2G plan that costs $20 a month. You can check out Linode’s prices and decide for yourself.

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