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I am looking for insight, because I have the tendency to run full throttle into things with (at times) too much confidence. To summarize my somewhat lengthy explanation below, I am looking to see if I can handle my own Linode LEMP stack without getting hacked.

I am starting up a couple of websites for fun, and if all goes well make it a career. I would love to run a few niche sites of my own and then freelance web dev with web hosting as a package for customers.

Currently I have a site on a Knownhost WHM VPS. However, I would prefer to work on the console as opposed to running WHM/cPanel. Also I do not really want my clients to have a cPanel, since I am targeting people who "just want it to work", there are plenty of good hosts with cPanel anyhow.

Scaling is another issue, I am planning to have a somewhat busy site with 250k+ visits/mo., and I am afraid making the move later will be more painful.

So I will admit, my linux bash skills are lacking, but are increasing every day. I am currently practicing/studying for the LPIC-1 exams. I have built LAMP and LEMP stacks on my basement server, and they work fine here. Another issue is the lack of documentation of WHM compared to apache, it seems it would be easier to learn apache/nginx.

I am also planning on using www.vpsbible.com to help me secure the Linode and help me build a LEMP stack with PHP-FPM and X-Cache.

Anyhow, with all this being said, would I be foolish to start up my own Linode?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

No you would not be foolish, or at least you would not be more foolish than many others. I work for a large hosting company and have seen there are many people with unmanaged VPS and dedicated severs running production sites for paying customers with far less knowledge than you. Often it's web design (or worse, marketing) companies who drift into hosting, perhaps they had a techie who left. Ideally all sites would be run by experienced sysadmins but in the real world they are not. The things you have thought about and fact you have asked this question show it's not a crazy idea.

some practical tips:
If your going to hacked its going to be through a web application not server misconfiguration. If your hosting sites developed by other people keep this at the front of your mind. PHP-FPM can run worker processes as different UID and GID, you should do this for each site so when one does get hacked the damage is limited.

VPS bible is really good and worth the paid access. It's about best practice and doing more with less. If you follow the advice your already doing really well don't sweat over the last 5%, for example worrying whether xcache or memcache is faster. These kinds of issue matter if you are deploying to hundreds of servers but you should concentrate on having something working and stable.

Have a really good backup and recovery system in place, so if it does go wrong you can reimage and recover in a couple of hours. a second VPS is really useful for this and you can also use it for development.

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Thanks for the info! I'm going to take the plunge this week and hopefully rollover this weekend! I will keep the backups in mind... ESXi really spoiled me with snapshots :) –  SkinnyGeek1010 May 2 '11 at 15:14
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