Digital Ocean Server Setup

By James Peret – 7 years ago in Guides

The easiest way to create a webserver where you have root access is with a Digital Ocean Droplet. But configuring everthing everytime you create a new server is a dawnting task. This tutorial will condensate all the initial configurations of a basic server.

Droplet Setup

This server is going to have a bit of load so I will use the $10 droplet with 1GB Ram and 30GB SSD Disk. Use the Ubuntu 14.04 x64 image. I choose Ubuntu because there is a lot of documentation for it, but probably Debian or CentOS would be a better choise as a linux distro for a web server.

After creating the droplet, get the ip and password sent to your email and login as root user:

ssh root@

Create a new super user

Its a good practice to create a new super user account that uses commands with sudo instead of using the root account where all commands are executed with sudo by default.

adduser demo

Type in your password and answer some stupid questions. Then give this demo user some sudo powers:

gpasswd -a demo sudo

Now with the super user created switch from root to the new user:

su - demo

Create a new folder for SSH keys and modify its permissions:

sudo mkdir .ssh
sudo chmod 700 .ssh

Now create a new file for your SSH key and paste your public key inside of it:

sudo nano .ssh/authorized_keys

Press Ctrl + X to exit nano, then Y to save and then hit Enter.

Now restrict the permissions of the file with your key:

sudo chmod 600 .ssh/authorized_keys

After everything is done, go back to being the root user:


Now test login in as your new user in a new shell session:

ssh demo@server_ip

If everything works, you won’t need to type in your password, the server will log you in automatically using the SSH key.

Remove root login

For security reasons, its a good ideia disable the root account login thru SSH and only log in with user accounts.

To remove the root login, first make sure you can log in with a different super user account. Then log in as root and run:

nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Next, change PermitRootLogin to no.

Press Ctrl + X to exit nano, then Y to save and then hit Enter.

Now restart the SSH service:

service ssh restart

And thats it! Now when you log out of the root account, you wont be able to log in again!

If you ever have to log in as the root user again, just change this settings back as your new super user using sudo before the commands.

Configure FTP

sudo apt-get install vsftpd

To change vsftpd configuration, run sudo nano /etc/vsftpd.conf. Change the following settings:


With this configuration, the admin user will be able to log in via SFTP to any folder inside /var/www/. After changing configurations, restart the service:

sudo service vsftpd restart

Change SWAP memory settings

For droplets with a low amount of RAM memory, its possible to increase the SWAP memory.

$ sudo fallocate -l 1024M /mnt/swap.img
$ sudo mkswap /mnt/swap.img
$ sudo swapon /mnt/swap.img
$ sudo vim /etc/fstab

Install zshell

To install zshell and set it as your default shell:

sudo apt-get install zsh
sudo apt-get install git-core
wget -O - | zsh
chsh -s `which zsh`

After installing zshell, exit the ssh session and log back in.

Install slap

sudo apt-get install build-essential
curl -sL | sudo bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs
npm install -g node-gyp
npm install slap -g

Change hostname

To check the actual server hostname, run hostname --fqdn. Then to change to a different hostname run:

sudo hostname

System info with Archey

To install run:

sudo apt-get install lsb-release scrot
sudo dpkg -i archey-0.2.8.deb

To use, just run the command archey.

Usefull commands

  • sudo poweroff - turn off the droplet. It can be turned back on in the droplet control pannel.
  • sudo reboot - restarts the server.
  • landscape-sysinfo - simple system information. Use can use the flag --exclude-sysinfo-plugins=Temperature,LandscapeLink,Processes.
  • find /usr/share/figlet -name *.?lf -exec basename {} \; | sed -e "s/\..lf$//" | xargs -I{} toilet -f {} {} - Show demo of toilet fonts
  • sudo apt-get clean - remove files from incomplete installations.
  • sudo apt-get autoremove - remove unused packages.
  • sudo apt-get update - update the package manager.
  • sudo apt-get upgrade - update installed apps.

Hello, I'm James Peret, a designer, programmer and filmmaker from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

My skills include developing games with unity and C#, coding web apps with node and javascript, designing user interfaces and 3d modeling for games and industrial design.

I'm available for work in the areas of programming, design and filmmaking assistance.