Oct 16, 2018

8 min read

10 bad server habits you need to fix

Written by

Vippy The VPS

We all make mistakes or take shortcuts from time to time, but if you’re dealing with servers on a regular basis, cleaning up your act has the potential to save a lot of money and headache down the line. Based on our own experiences, and that of our users, we’ve put together a pretty comprehensive list of bad server habits that you might find familiar. Take it from someone who does many of them himself.

While many of these bad habits might seem applicable only to sysadmins working on complex, high-traffic systems with many users, there’s almost always a takeaway even if you’re just a single person hosting a personal Ghost blog, or self-hosting a few simple services.

Whether it’s one user or a million, a sysadmin is always a sysadmin. Always trust in XKCD to remind us of that.

ssd vps server

You’ve forgotten the ‘golden rule’

In answering a question over at Server Fault, user pehrs offers a valuable “golden rule” that sysadmins and general server users should keep in mind:

A sysadmin is there to support the users, not the other way around.

If you’ve strayed from this rule, it’s the first server habit you need to fix. Every other bad habit and subsequent fix percolates down from this single golden rule. Working on servers isn’t about making your own life more comfortable—it’s about keeping services running, which in turn keeps users happy.

You work under root… ever

Unless it’s your very first login, and you aren’t using any configuration management tool like Ansible. Only in that case is it acceptable to SSH in as root, make a new user, set up sudo privileges, SSH out, and work under a safer, un-escalated user account.

To take this even further, you should disable root SSH sessions, and can also clear the root password to make doubly sure no one can log in.

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