Find Architecture And Version Of A Linux Box

12th August 2014

When doing an audit of an existing Linux server a good first step is to find out what distribution is running and if the server is running a 32 or 64 bit architecture.

To find out what architecture a server is running you can run the uname command, which will print out certain system information. This must be supplied with the -a flag in order to print out as much information as possible. uname -a

This will print out a line similar to the following on an Ubuntu system.

Speeding Up Apache And Drupal With Varnish

8th June 2014

Varnish is a web application accelerator that provides an easy speed increase to most web applications and Drupal is no exception. It works by creating a reverse proxy service that sits in front of your web server and caches traffic that comes through it. When the page is requested, Varnish forwards the request to the web server to complete the request, the response that comes back from the web server is then cached by Varnish. This means that the next request to the same page is served by Varnish and not the web server, which results in a large speed increase.

Print A Specific Block Of Lines From A File In Linux

20th May 2014

If you have a large file of data that you are trying to import, or a log file you are trying to dissect then you'll rarely want to print it directly out to the screen. Using commands like more or programs like vim can make things a little easier but you still have to run through potentially thousands of lines to find the correct block.

Connecting To A Vagrant Box Without The 'vagrant ssh' Command

18th May 2014

When Vagrant sets up a virtual machine it will set up a port on your local machine that you can use to connect to the box via SSH. By default this is usually port 2222, which Vagrant maps to port 22 on the virtual machine. All this is essentially transparent so that when you type vagrant ssh you connect to the box without any problems. Vagrant handles all of the port matching and key finding behind the scenes.

DrupalCamp London 2014: A Review

12th March 2014

The City University London campus was the venue for Drupalcamp London 2014 and I went along for the weekend as a delegate. This was the first conference for a while where I wasn’t helping out, speaking, or organising in some form so it was good to just turn up and relax. I travelled down on the Friday night from Manchester and successfully booked into my Airbnb room.

PHP Password Functions In 5.5

4th March 2014

New in PHP 5.5 is a group of functions that deal with password hashing and verification. This is such a common thing for PHP applications to do that it was decided to include it into the core of PHP. They effectively solve the problem of hashing and comparing passwords that just about every PHP developer has implemented at one point or another.

There are only a few functions available but they provide all of the functionality needed to create a hash value from a password, check if the hash is valid and to check if the password hash needs to be recreated.

Adding iptables Rules With Ansible

16th February 2014

Many systems and applications require certain access to certain ports and protocols. When installing these systems using Ansible it is necessary to also open up the needed ports so that the systems can function correctly. As there is no iptables module in Ansible the shell command is needed to add the iptables rules.

As an example, here is a task that adds a iptables rule to allow Apache to communicate on port 80.

Installing sshpass On OSX Mavericks

16th February 2014

When setting up a server for the first time with Ansible you will need to pass ssh credentials to Ansible directly to set up ssh keys. This is done by the use of the sshpass program which allows Ansible to pass your user credentials directly to ssh in order to open a connection to the server. The sshpass program is easily installed on Linux systems with the apt or yum package managers, but on OSX you will need to install it manually.

Vlad - The Vagrant LAMP Ansible Drupal development box

2nd February 2014
I’ve been using local development environments for years to work on websites. At one points I even setup some Phing scripts to create Apache hosts and databases locally so that I didn’t have to keep adding them myself. When I was first introduced to Vagrant I liked the idea of supplying a box with a project so that people could work on it without having to reconfigure their system for each project. What was missing was a good provisioning tool that wasn’t difficult to understand. I had looked at Puppet and Chef but they were just too complex and after a couple of hours of looking into each one I still wasn’t sure about how they worked.

Automatically List Directory Contents When Changing Directory In Linux

28th January 2014

When navigating around a Linux box I tend to find I use the same two commands a lot. The first is 'cd' to change a directory, and the second is 'ls' in order to see what is in the new directory. Rather than do this over and over again I decided to look around for a good solution to automate this.