Archive for February, 2012

SolusVM Nginx PHP bug

Monday, February 20th, 2012

It looks like there is a bug in the SolusVM Nginx installer which means that the php_cgi service doesn’t start on a reboot.

It seems that the installer sets the unused “spwan-fcgi” process to start, but not the “php_cgi” service that is actually used to handle SolusVM.

Luckily, this is easy enough to fix by running two commands on any of the master and slave servers which have Nginx installed:

chkconfig –add php_cgi
chkconfig php_cgi on

Missing Parallels Plesk for Linux updates

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

If you’re using Parallels Plesk 9.x with Postfix as the MTA, there appears to be a bug which can stop Plesk from displaying important updates that are available, including the micro-updates which provide important bug fixes and security updates.

If you are using the Updates section of the Plesk web interface, then no error message is displayed, so it just looks like there are no updates available. However, you can also check for updates using the Parallels autoinstaller utility from the command line:

/usr/local/psa/admin/sbin/autoinstaller –check-updates

After downloading all of the .inf3 files from Parallels, this will give you a badly translated error message:

Unable to process patch config: PSA_9.5.4/plesk-patches-9.5.4-cos5-x86_64.inf3: Failed to parse the patch file at (line 34 column 13)
Group named ‘qmail’ is not exists on this system.

Despite the qmail MTA not being installed because the Postifx MTA is being used, the Plesk autoinstaller utility (which is also used by the web interface) seems to be checking for a “qmail” group. The fix for this is incredibly simple – just create an empty ‘qmail” group:

/usr/sbin/groupadd qmail

Now if you refresh the Updates section in the Plesk web interface or re-run the Parallels autoinstaller from the command line then you should now see the available updates, which you can install in the normal manner.

Regenerate statistics in Parallels Plesk for Linux

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Every night Parallels Plesk for Linux servers run a cron job to process various log files and generate statistics. This includes generating the HTML for the AWStats or Webalizer log analysis packages used for the Plesk “web statistics” features as well as updating the disk usage and bandwidth usage for each domain.

Sometimes you need to re-run this task, such as if it failed or if you need to process a particular domain name again. One common reason for this is to correct the disk and/or bandwidth usage figures for a domain.

You can either regenerate the statistics for all domain names (the equivalent of the daily cron job) using:

/usr/local/psa/admin/sbin/statistics –calculate-all

Or you can re-generate the statistics for a single domain name (“” in this case) using:

/usr/local/psa/admin/sbin/statistics –calculate-one –

There is a similar tool in Parallels Plesk for Windows under C:\Program Files (x86)\Parallels\Plesk\admin\bin\statistics.exe, however this requires different arguments.

Commercial SSL certificates with SolusVM

Monday, February 6th, 2012

When you install SolusVM it generates a self signed SSL certificate for use with the end user control panel and admin interface, however it would be wise to purchase a certificate from a commercial certificate authority to prevent man in the middle attacks (and get rid of annoying browser warning messages).

There are two different methods of installing SSL certificates in SoluSVM depending on if you are using the original Lighttpd web-server or the new Nginx option.

For Lighttpd, you need to place the Base64 encoded DER form of both the private key and the x509 certificate in /usr/local/solusvm/ssl/solusvm.pem and then restart the Lighttpd web-server.

You may need to edit /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf and set “” to be the path to the Base64 encoded DER form of the x509 certificate intermediate certificate for your Certificate Authority.

For Nginx, you place the Base64 encoded DER form of both the private key in /usr/local/solusvm/ssl/nginxcert.key and the Base64 encoded DER form of x509 certificate in /usr/local/solusvm/ssl/nginxcert.pem then restart the Nginx web-server.

If you need to include an intermediate certificate for your Certificate Authority, then this also goes in the /usr/local/solusvm/ssl/nginxcert.pem file in Base64 encoded DER form.

Disabling highlighting of objects in Zimbra web UI

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Zimbra has a couple of Zimlets (plugins) that highlight parts of messages when viewed in the Zimbra Web Console such as dates, phone numbers and e-mails and turn them into special contextual links. Whilst this functionality is often quite useful, sometimes you just need to see the raw, unadulterated e-mail without your client interfering with the content – particularly if you are testing e-mail designs!

You can either disable Zimlets server wide through the admin console, or on a per-account basis using the preferences. In particular, look for the “Date”, “Email”, “Phone” and “URL Links” Zimlets as these are the four of the default Zimlets in Zimbra 7.x that are responsible for highlighting parts of messages and turning them into contextual links.

Convert SolusVM from Lighttpd to Nginx

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Historically the brilliant SolusVM VPS control panel have used the Lighttpd web server on their master and slave nodes, however it is now possible to use the popular Nginx as an alternative web-server.

I’m a big fan of the performance and flexibly of Nginx, not to mention that in my opinion the Nginx configuration files are just much easier to write and maintain than Lighttpd.

Thanks to a nice, easy to use installation script, the process of converting the SolusVM master server/node from Lighttpd to Nginx, just requires running the following commands:

chmod 755 nginx-master-el5-x86_64

And to convert each of your SolusVM slave servers/nodes from Lighttpd to Nginx, it’s just as simple:

chmod 755 nginx-slave-el5-x86_64

Both of these examples assume that you are running your SolusVM master and slave servers/nodes on a 64-bit CentOS 5.x system, however if you are using CentOS 6.x then just substitute “el6” for “el5” in each of these commands.

As part of the installation process, a new self signed SSL certificate will be generated for Nginx, leaving the original SSL certificate used by Lighttpd in it’s place in case you need to roll back for any reason. The roll back is simply a case of stopping and disabling the Nginx and Spawn-FCGI services before re-enabling and starting the Lighttpd service:

chkconfig nginx off
chkconfig spawn-fcgi off
chkconfig lighttpd on
service nginx stop
service lighttpd start