Linux and PHP web application support and development (Bromsgrove, UK)

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systems administration

Ansible – System configuration management and orchestration

With the increasing prevalence of virtual machines, cloud servers and so on, performing systems administration is becoming more time consuming (more servers = more work!). One approach at solving this has been through the use of system management tools like puppet, cfengine and chef. In our case, when we’ve looked at these in the past, […]

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Configuring multiple websites with ease using Apache

When using Apache to host websites, developers tend to either have one configuration file with multiple sites defined within in it (often /etc/httpd/httpd.conf or similar), or end up dealing with a swarm of separate files in /etc/apache2/sites-available – one per domain. If all the domains are identical, in terms of file structure – apart from […]


Spam detection / tagging for a forum

One customer has a forum which has been consistently plagued by spam – here’s a short writeup about what we found worked for us in an initial attempt at reducing the tidal wave of spam.

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Varnish for WordPress Performance

How to improve WordPress/Apache performance on a relatively heavily loaded server using Varnish and more

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Simple load checking shell script

Below is a simple shell script which can be used to control execution of tasks on a Linux system based on the systems current load value – with the intention that if the 5 minute load average is greater than a given value the script exits with an error return code (1) or completes without […]

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Server resource graphing and monitoring with munin

We use munin to monitor servers to help identify server performance issues (and improvements). It’s a great tool, and we keep finding the need to install it. Munin compromises two parts – firstly ‘munin-node’ which runs as a daemon, and is responsible for running various plugin (statistics retrieval) scripts and storing the output values. ┬áTypically […]


A quick overview of a compromised Linux system

Some time ago, a new customer approached us (thanks to a referral from Bytemark); they were using a virtual machine to host their website. The machine itself was RedHat 9 (from 2003ish) and was used to take online bookings for events. Here’s a summary of what we found, which may prove to be interesting/useful for […]

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