VPS Benchmarks – CPU & I/Ops + RAM Virtual Private Server & Dedicated Server Hosting Head-to-Head

The best VPS is a VPS with no downtime, solid uplink, no overcrowding and no disruption to your services.

Other general factors can play into VPS and offshore hosting when it comes to the law.

Does your web server hosting company respond to abuse reports or DMCA requests?

Do they notify you of new malware or in the wild exploits that affect your services?

I have operated servers with Digital Ocean, Vultr, AWS, OVH, 24shells, HostKey, Alexhost, Packet.net, yourserver.se,

For the purpose of this tutorial we will be looking at various servers and I will be providing the speed tests. The tests verify how fast the CPU’s are and how faste the read/write of the drives are. These are a good indicator of how good a VPS is without taking into consideration business decisions of the VPS company.

VPS Disc Read And Write Speed Test

wget freevps.us/downloads/bench.sh && bash bench.sh -io && rm -f bench.sh*

VPS CPU BenchMark test

wget https://vhwinfo.com/vhwinfo.sh & sh vhwinfo.sh

VPS 10GB File Creation Speed

date && xfs_mkfile 10240m 10Gigfile && date

Vultr VPS Review

Vultr takes a sweet spot in my heart. Why? Because they were how I learned how to linux… At the time when they started they were the cheapest little VPS provider for mission critical ops.

Recently VULTR added their new High Frequency servers with newer CPU’s and NVMe drives!

Here’s one of our tests on a 32GB RAM with 512 NVMe SSD and 8 core servers in Amsterdam:

SO:         CentOS Linux release 7.6.1810 (Core) N 64 bits
kernel: 3.10.0-957.21.3.el7.x86_64
virtual: It is not virtual, is dedicated
cpu: Virtual CPU 6db7dc0e7704
vcpu: 8 cores / 7584.00 bogomips
RAM: 32011 MB (0% used) / swap 0 MB (0% used)
HD: 570G (1% used) / inkling speed 2.1 GB/s
cachefly 10MB: 192 MB/s (probably Gigabit Port)

Disk Speed
I/O (1st run) : 769 MB/s
I/O (2nd run) : 743 MB/s
I/O (3rd run) : 763 MB/s
Average I/O : 758.333 MB/s

[[email protected] ~]# date && xfs_mkfile 10240m 10Gigfile && date
Fri Aug 9 03:34:34 UTC 2019
Fri Aug 9 03:34:44 UTC 2019
10 seconds to create a 10 GB file

Here’s one of our tests on a 2GB RAM with 64GB NVMe SSD and single core servers in Sydney, less consistent but around 50% faster..

SO:         CentOS Linux release 7.6.1810 (Core) N 64 bits
kernel: 3.10.0-957.21.3.el7.x86_64
virtual: It is not virtual, is dedicated
cpu: Virtual CPU 6db7dc0e7704
vcpu: 1 core / 7584.00 bogomips
RAM: 1838 MB (4% used) / swap 0 MB (0% used)
HD: 67G (2% used) / inkling speed 661 MB/s
cachefly 10MB: 215 MB/s (probably Gigabit Port)

Disk Speed
I/O (1st run) : 631 MB/s
I/O (2nd run) : 1.1 GB/s
I/O (3rd run) : 1.0 GB/s
Average I/O : 211.033 MB/s

Disk Speed
I/O (1st run) : 1.0 GB/s
I/O (2nd run) : 1.0 GB/s
I/O (3rd run) : 1.0 GB/s
Average I/O : 1 MB/s

Disk Speed
I/O (1st run) : 774 MB/s
I/O (2nd run) : 1.0 GB/s
I/O (3rd run) : 1.1 GB/s
Average I/O : 258.7 MB/s

[[email protected] ~]# date && xfs_mkfile 10240m 10Gigfile && date
Fri Aug 9 03:35:22 UTC 2019
Fri Aug 9 03:35:32 UTC 2019

10 Seconds to make a 10GB File

Arch WiFi-Menu Auto Connect: Cool ncurses WiFi-Menu Xfce4 Application Bar Launcher

This is a cool little widget to go alongside your xfce4 application toolbars.

This creates a single click WiFi-menu popup on your toolbar or can be used to run WiFi-menu on Arch startup or Xfce4 startup. Works on Debian, Mint, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Manjaro

If you have a single WiFi card, and will never plug in dongles, then you can simply add this to a xfce4 launcher or to application startup which can be found in

xfce4-session-settings

Then add this command to application auto-start:

xterm -e "sudo wifi-menu"

Done!

Arch WiFi-Menu Ricing

You can move the terminal to the top right of the screen. First check your screen resolution:

xrandr

Note down your screen resolution after “current: “

E.g. current 1920 x 1080

Decide how big you want your wifi-menu window to be, e.g 50×24

xterm -geometry 50x24+1980+0

I use 1980 as the wifi-menu won’t show up off the screen. If you have dual monitors, you will need to trial and error to get the numbers to your liking.

Then add that to the command

xterm -geometry 50x24+1980+0 -e "sudo wifi-menu" 

arch wifi menu connect on startup auto start debian wifi connect
arch wifi menu connect on startup auto start debian wifi connect

If you use more than one WiFi card or you use Ethernet and Wifi, you will need to specify which network connection to use in WiFi-Menu.

First, note your WiFi card using the command:

sudo ip link

This will list all your available network cards. Your laptop wifi card will be the one with wlp. Change it in the below command.

xterm -geometry 50x24+1980+0 -e "sudo wifi-menu wlpx0x0x0"

If that still doesn’t work or you have the same problem I do on new Lenovo Ideapad laptops with the Wifi driver then do the following:

Create a file somewhere on your computer and name it wifi or your wifi card .sh

touch ~/wlp2s0.sh
nano ~/wlp2s0.sh

I had a WiFi card driver problem with my laptop so my file contains this:

#!/bin/bash
ip link set wlp2s0 down
wifi-menu wlp2s

After you save the file, right click on it > properties > allow executable.

Or just:

chmod +x ~/wlp2s0.sh

Then create a xfce4 toolbar launcher with some cool wifi icon and

xterm -e "sudo ~/wlp2s0.sh

# Enjoy!

How to Record Calls on Twilio with TwiML Automatically

TwiML is Twilio’s amazing markup language for quickly & efficiently deploying new complex voice & SMS services.

Twilio are cloud based software providers of phone systems both landline and mobiles. They even have MMS services that I will cover in later tutorial.

Do you want to record incoming phone calls automatically on Twilio? Read ahead.

First, you need to take advantage of Twilio’s TwiML which is their own markup/scripting language. We use their markup to quickly roll out functions for Twilio’s platform to perform.

First, create a TwiML Bin by going to the menu on the left > Runtime > TwiML Bins.

Twilio Record Calls Using TwiML
Twilio Record Calls Using TwiML

A TwiML Bin is a little notepad that you can write and save your set of instructions to. Better yet, TwiML will host that file for you.

1
2
3
4
5
<Response>
  <Dial record="record-from-answer">
      <Number>+1555555555</Number>
  </Dial>
</Response>

When somebody calls your TwiML number, this markup will tell TwiML to dial +155555555 and if someone answers the call, it will record the call to 155555555. This may be illegal in your country if neither party has consent of the recorded call.

Dial with the record=”record-from-answer” can also be set to record-from-ringing-dual if you want it to record before 155555555 even answers, or even if they don’t answer.

Twilio Markup TwiML Record Calls Code
Twilio Markup TwiML Record Calls Code

How To Install rEFInd Using Gparted, Arch Linux and Super Grub2 Disk

This tutorial outlines how to install the rEFInd Boot Manager on a GPT partition. When using UEFI boot, you should understand you will require a bootable esp partition that houses either the Windows Boot Manager, GRUB2, or rEFInd. I don’t know much about MacOS so do not follow these instructions exactly if you are using Mac (some may apply).

To install and use rEFInd, you need a little EFI partition with rEFInd on it or by copying the files and setting up the boot entry manually.

Most people can just install rEFInd and then run refind-install. Work out if you’re on GPT or MBR partition table, how many drives you have, which one you want to boot from. Don’t run all the commands on this page until you’ve read it all. It’s not a perfect guide but it worked for me:

I now have:

  • Arch on GPT NVME SSD (unbootable, no grub)
  • Second GPT Hard Disk with 2GB fat32 following by 968GB of free space/ext4

Before the guide, I had:

  • Arch on GPT NVME SSD (unbootable, no grub)
  • Second MBR Hard Disk with one big NTFS partition

You should read most of the official page first too. I don’t have Windows so I don’t know if this will allow you to dual boot or triple boot to Mac.

If you have a ESP partition you can do this

sudo pacman -S refind-install
refind-install

If you don’t have a little ESP partition, this guide may be for you.

During this tutorial we will be making a new fat32 partition on an unmounted disk that is bootable and installing rEFInd to that little partition.

If you only have one hard drive, you need to do all of this from the rEFInd live disk. I read that it doesn’t work on the Arch live USB because kernel files from the live USB are copied instead of the Arch kernel files.

If you have two hard drives on the computer, connect the drive you want to install boot partition on (rEFInd) with a caddy or HDD Drive Housing to USB and edit the partitions that way.

Be very careful resizing partitions with data as you can lose the data when resizing, no matter how careful you are.

It’s possible to use GPT on a data disk even on a BIOS-based computer, or to use an MBR data disk even on an EFI-based computer. Thus, if you examine the wrong disk, you can be led to an incorrect conclusion about your computer’s boot mode.
Another caveat relates to the use of a hybrid MBR, which is a variant on a GPT disk that’s most often used on Macs to permit booting Windows in BIOS mode and OS X in EFI mode. Most Windows tools will identify a hybrid MBR disk as an MBR disk, but most non-Windows tools will identify it as a GPT disk. Of course, as hybrid MBRs are generally used to enable dual-booting Windows and OS X, and as OS X boots in EFI mode, you should be able to install rEFInd from OS X to help manage such a dual-boot configuration.

https://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/bootmode.html

There are many different scenarios that need to be discussed before deciding where to install the esp partition and with what software too.

The most important thing is to build a recovery USB first. If you don’t build a boot recovery USB and you modify your GRUB or rEFInd files, you will most likely leave your system unbootable. The most common reasons for not being able to boot are (I have experienced all of these lol):

  • if you delete the Windows Boot Manager partition
  • if you install Windows in GPT/MBR and your Linux installation is MBR/GPT
  • if you delete GRUB2 entries
  • if you auto-install GRUB2 or rEFInd
  • if you try to install GRUB2 or rEFInd on a mounted disk (OS running)
  • if you try to boot Windows in UEFI mode or legacy mode and installed Linux in the opposite of the one you booted in
  • if you delete GRUB2 without installing rEFI
  • if you delete boot or kernel files, or move them to abnormal places
  • if you delete the wrong partition
  • if you format the wrong partition into ext4 or fat32 or else
  • if you leave Secure Boot on and cannot boot from USB

Step 1: Build a recovery USB to absolutely make sure you can boot again

Download the Super Grub2 Disk iso from the official website and use balenaEtcher to burn the ISO file to a USB. Make sure you burn to the right USB.

Or use the official rEFInd USB flash drive image file and use balenaEthcher to burn it.

Reboot now and test the recovery USB but only if you haven’t changed anything yet! Make sure your USB works. You might need to turn on Legacy Support, USB Boot, disable Secure Boot or change the boot order.

If you don’t have a USB, use a CD and burn the Super Grub2 Disk ISO onto the CD.

If you don’t have a CD or a USB stick, you must be very careful because you are making changes to boot processes of your computer. If you reboot, or power goes out, or your battery dies during the changeover process, you will have a big problem and most likely be unable to boot.

Do not proceed without a bootable drive, or second computer handy. I once had to install bootable EFI files onto my phone’s SD card and then try to boot into the SD card slot! Waste of time, get a USB handy.

Step 2: Check if you are using GPT or MBR partitioning

Since Arch linux is 64 bit by default, we skip a step here in figuring out whether we want 32bit or 64bit rEFInd.

Get GParted and Gnome Disks to edit disks with the GUI as command line will take hours.

sudo pacman -S gnome-disks gparted

Open BOTH gparted and Gnome Disks and check ALL the drives in both of those programs to check which drives are connected to your PC.

Make sure GPARTED and Gnome Disks show the EXACT same drives and order of all the partitions. I have experienced a discrepancy before where a drive was showing “Empty/Unallocated” in Gnome Disks but showing up perfectly in GParted. This is scary stuff. <– If this error happened to you, scroll to bottom I will explain how I saved my data

Check your drives in the shell terminal by first listing your removable media

ls /dev

And checking all of the sdX and nvmeX drives with fdisk -l to verify what Partition Tabling they are using.

Check your drives partitioning tables now :

sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda
sudo fdisk -l /dev/sdb
sudo fdisk -l /dev/nvme0n

Look for DOS or GPT.

DOS means MBR Partitioning. GPT means GPT…

DOS/MBR Partition can boot from the normal MBR partition and you should install GRUB or rEFInd there.

If you have a MBR linux disk without the Master Boot Record, or Windows Boot Manager, it won’t boot and you should either change the disk to GPT by moving all the data first to a separate disk and then back after the partition table change or you should install GRUB2/rEFInd to another whole disk. If you have Windows (I don’t) you will probably have to install it .

For GRUB or rEFInd to boot from a GPT-partitioned disk on a BIOS-based system, a BIOS boot partition is required. This is the little ESP I’ve been mentioning.

If the device you want to install your boot partition on is GPT then rEFInd will attempt to mount this partition and install on the esp boot partiition that we will be making in this tutorial.

If you have DOS/MBR partitioning and you want GPT partitioning, you need to move all your files on that entire disk to a backup disk, change the partition table in GParted, and after we finish the tutorial, move your files back. If you only have the one drive you can’t do this and need to install rEFInd in the MBR partition.

If you don’t have an MBR partition and you’re on a MBR drive, you need to move files first.

Even the maintainer of rEFInd suggests to move/backup files before attempting to change a disks partitioning table type. It is a risky process

Step 3: Partition the GPT disk with a fat32 esp partition

Serious error was incurred during this tutorial.

I used GPARTED to resize a MBR SSD disk to include a fat32 esp bootable partition after the main file system. Once changes were saved, the disk showed EMPTY and UNALLOCATED on Gnome Disks and did not even show the changes made on GParted. If this happens, use GParted to backup the partition with your data on it and start again. If you start creating new partitions over the top you will overwrite your data on that disk

If it is a brand new drive with no data, open GParted, and select the device from the drop down menu, then select Device > Create Partition Table and choose GPT.

If you change the Partition Table on a drive with data on it, it will wipe the drive and make it GPT. You will lose all the data on that disk.

Once your drive is GPT, in GParted, create a little 2GB or so partition at the start with fat32 format and edit the flags to say esp.

GParted GPT Disk Create Partition Table
GParted GPT Disk Create Partition Table

Note: you can’t resize or create a little esp boot partition on the drive that you are currently booted on right now.

To install the rEFInd partition, you need to have a second disk inside the PC or you will not be able to partition the disk you are currently reading this on as it is live and mounted. GParted won’t let you resize this partition.

Once you have a little fat32 partiton (minimum 1-2GB) then you can run the rEFInd install script:

sudo pacman -S refind-install
refind-install

# run again as first time it will mount the esp partition
refind-install

Run it twice as it will mount the disk on the first run.

Reboot and see if you can boot in!

Arch Linux Photoshop CC 2018-2019 WORKING

Having been using Photoshop on Linux since 2014, I have tried many approaches to running Photoshop CS 6 or the new Photoshop CC series on Wine and PlayOnLinux, but nothing came close to using Crossover.

Crossover is free to trial, but you can keep extending the trial, and use it for as long as you really want. To extend the trial just keep deleting the .eval file in your cxoffice folder:

# one of these commands will remove the evaluation file for Crossover on your PC once installed
rm ~/.cxoffice/default/.eval
rm ~/cxoffice/default/.eval

Photoshop Arch System Requirements:

Minimum 6GB of RAM

+ Swap Memory as Wine Server may hang and crash (LOSE UNSAVED WORK)

First, edit your pacman.conf to allow multilib packages to be used on Arch. Wine uses many lib32 32 bit libraries to run Windows based software.

sudo nano /etc/pacman.conf

Uncomment both the square bracket [multilib] line, and also the line under it that starts with “Include…”

[multilib]
Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

Update your system and it should show Multilib in package database.

sudo pacman -Syuu base-devel

Install the following bunch of required lib32 files that Wine needs:

sudo pacman -S python2 glibc libice libsm libx11 libxext libxi freetype2 libpng zlib lcms2 alsa-lib libgl libxcursor libxrandr desktop-file-utils gstreamer0.10 mpg123 libgphoto2 libexif openal libcl pygtk python2-dbus libxinerama sane gnutls libcups libxcomposite libxslt v4l-utils gstreamer0.10-base libxxf86dga libxxf86vm glu python2 lib32-glibc lib32-libice lib32-libsm lib32-libx11 lib32-libxext lib32-libxi lib32-freetype2 lib32-libpng lib32-zlib lib32-lcms2 lib32-alsa-lib lib32-libgl lib32-libxcursor lib32-libxrandr desktop-file-utils lib32-gstreamer0.10 lib32-mpg123 lib32-libgphoto2 lib32-libexif lib32-openal lib32-libcl pygtk python2-dbus lib32-libxinerama lib32-sane lib32-gnutls lib32-libcups lib32-libxcomposite lib32-libxslt lib32-v4l-utils lib32-gstreamer0.10-base lib32-libxxf86dga lib32-libxxf86vm lib32-glu

The above list was created by an Arch user and is found directly on the developers of Crossover.

Some of the above libraries won’t be available on the core Arch database and you may need to get yay and then run the above list with yay to install any missing:

yay python2 glibc libice libsm libx11 libxext libxi freetype2 libpng zlib lcms2 alsa-lib libgl libxcursor libxrandr desktop-file-utils gstreamer0.10 mpg123 libgphoto2 libexif openal libcl pygtk python2-dbus libxinerama sane gnutls libcups libxcomposite libxslt v4l-utils gstreamer0.10-base libxxf86dga libxxf86vm glu python2 lib32-glibc lib32-libice lib32-libsm lib32-libx11 lib32-libxext lib32-libxi lib32-freetype2 lib32-libpng lib32-zlib lib32-lcms2 lib32-alsa-lib lib32-libgl lib32-libxcursor lib32-libxrandr desktop-file-utils lib32-gstreamer0.10 lib32-mpg123 lib32-libgphoto2 lib32-libexif lib32-openal lib32-libcl pygtk python2-dbus lib32-libxinerama lib32-sane lib32-gnutls lib32-libcups lib32-libxcomposite lib32-libxslt lib32-v4l-utils lib32-gstreamer0.10-base lib32-libxxf86dga lib32-libxxf86vm lib32-glu

Download the latest Crossover directly from them at their website.

You don’t have to provide a valid email address or name when downloading it.

Crossover Download For Linux Arch
Crossover Download For Linux Arch

Then bash the .bin file from Crossover.

cd ~/Downloads/
sh install-crossover-18.5.0.bin

You’ll get a graphic GUI installer, just go through the prompts.

Crossover Linux Wine Arch Installation 64bit
Crossover Linux Wine Arch Installation 64bit

Once installed, if you get any errors, you may be missing some libraries.

Make sure you install all missing lib32 and use Arch User Repository if required.

Just in case you’re missing any libs, you can install Wine itself (400mb):

sudo pacman -S wine

Create a New Bottle and install Photoshop with Internet unplugged and follow the Setup.exe usual process. I won’t describe this process.

After installation, you can go into Photoshop settings and uncheck a bunch of new whizz-bang feautres.

In Photoshop CC, go to Edit > Preferences > General and I recommend to disable a bunch of features:

Workspaces: turn off Floating Document Window Docking

Tools: turn off tooltips if you don’t need them as they sometimes sticky on top of other desktop windows. Turn off animated zoom (laggy.)

Performance: depending on your specs, you can adjust the RAM usage and the Graphics processor toggle. I use without Graphics processor.

Let us know below how it went! Feel free to contact us if you need help.

Photoshop CC 2018 on Arch Linux 64bit Crossover Wine PlayOnLinux Tutorial
Photoshop CC 2018 on Arch Linux 64bit Crossover Wine PlayOnLinux Tutorial



XFCE4 Brightness Button on Launcher Bar – Increase & Decrease Backlight Manually

First, find out your hardware backlight files

ls /sys/class/backlight/

this should list the device name that controls your backlight

In our case, it is amdgpu_bl0 so we cd into that folder and see the brightness file. Brightness is stored in the file ./amdgpu_bl0/brightess

cat /sys/class/backlight/amdgpu_bl0/brightness

In Arch:

sudo pacman -S acpilight

This gives us xbacklight command ability in XFCE4 without using root

This is a bash shell script to first check whether brightness is going to completely dim the backlight to zero (display off)

# /bin/bash
min_light=$(cat /sys/class/backlight/amdgpu_bl0/brightness)
echo $min_light
if [ "$min_light" -lt 50 ]
then
echo Too Dim
else
sudo xbacklight -dec 10
fi
exit

Lenovo Ideapad ARCH WiFi Setup 2019 rtl8821ce Not Working?

How to enable Realtek Lenovo Wifi Card drivers in a 2019 Lenovo Ideapad built in 2019. Lenovo Ideapad needs a specific new WiFi driver called rtl8821ce. This package is only available on the Arch User Repository AUR at the time of writing from a guy named tomaspinho.

If you are doing a fresh Arch install on a new Lenovo ideapad, you will need an ethernet cable or a USB internet dongle or possibly hotspot/tether your mobile phone to get connected because the WiFi is not present on the Arch Live USB at time of writing.

Once you have internet, you will need an AUR manager or to build rtl8821ce from the git. You will also need dkms.

The following tutorial was done after the base install.txt was completed and may not work if done while chroot’ed in arch-chroot.

This installs linux-headers, required to match the kernel package and dkms.

sudo pacman -Syu linux-headers dkms

If this is a fresh Arch install, you may need git

sudo pacman -S git

Install AUR manager named yay which allows AUR installs

cd ~
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/yay.git
cd yay
makepkg -si

Now that you have yay, install rtl8821ce

yay rtl8821ce

Follow the prompts to install rtl8821ce-dkms-git

After install, run ip link to see if your new interface has been installed (may need reboot)

ip link
realtek wifi card ip link rtl8821ce-dkms-git
realtek wifi card ip link rtl8821ce-dkms-git

In our case, the WiFi or wireless interface network is called wlp2s0

sudo wifi-menu wlp2s0

However, on first run, this gives an error. The error is quite clear, “the interface is already running.” Naturally, you can stop it:

sudo ip link set wlp2s0 down

This turns off wlp2s0 and then run the wifi-menu command again and it should turn on the Realtek card again

sudo wifi-menu wlp2s0
dhcpcd

Did this help you connect to internet on a 2019 Ideapad Laptop?

Feel free to let us know in the comments below!

FrameBuffer Error in Ryzen 5 & VEGA AMD Graphics and CPU

This error is reproducible in Debian 10 Buster as of time of writing on new L340 Ideapad and Thinkpad laptops by Lenovo.

With a 2019 Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, or Ryzen 7 AMD CPU Laptop with inbuilt Radeon Vega AMD Graphics card, you will encounter a FrameBuffer error on upgrading Debian 9 to Debian 10.

If you upgrade to Debian 10 on one of these distros, you may lose xorg functionality. It may have something to do with nvidia. dffgfg

From what I understand, Debian 10 does not yet have the kernel drivers required for the 2019 Ryzen CPU combined GPU. Adding nomodeset to the GRUB boot option does not solve the issue.

Debian 9 works fine, Debian 10 gives a FrameBuffer EE please specify all busid error.

Solution? Wait for kernel updates or install another distro

Need immediate access? You can probably still boot into Debian and if you see a blinking underscore cursor, press Ctrl+Alt F1 or Ctrl+Alt F5 to get a console under tty5 or tty6.

Then you’ll need to connect to WiFi or Ethernet.

If you need to make bootable USB devices, use either dd method or Etcher command line version.


How to Turn Off Loud Beep PC Speaker Arch Debian Ubuntu

Just installed a new distro and hearing really loud beeps when pressing backspace? Your PC speakers are making this loud beeping noise.

To disable the speaker immediately, as root

rmmod pcspkr
sudo rmmod pcspkr

To permanently disable the speaker, either put that on a startup script or install some other audio & system sounds.

After you’ve done some further installations like alsa audio mixer etc. you will probably want the speakers back on, so don’t forget that you disabled them lol and to re-enable them as required.