Web Design and Development

How to Install ISPConfig 3 on an OpenVZ VPS, Part 1

the Frequently Asked Questions…
  • How do I install ISPConfig 3 on my VPS or dedicated server?
  • Is their a free cPanel alternative that works well?
  • What free controls panels are available for OpenVZ VPS servers?
  • How can I install Apache, Roundcube, DKIM, Dovecot and Postfix easily?

and The Digital FAQ Answers…

ISPConfig 3 is an excellent free panel for a VPS or dedicated server. Although it’s not quite as feature-rich as cPanel, it comes close. And like cPanel, minimal time is required in a command-line interface (SSH) after install. In fact, the only time you have to login to shell is to setup new DKIM records, tweak fail2ban, or update ISPConfig and the OS. For busy admins, it’s a time saver!

Most guides start with installing from a disc or an ISO, and it’s a long process that takes 3-4 pages to explain. But that’s useless if you use SolusVM. Most VPS hosts are based on either OpenVZ UBC or OpenVZ vswap, and are using SolusVM. With just one click, you can install or reinstall any number of operating systems from the SolusVM panel — CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, Scientific Linux, and several others. This guides is made for OpenVZ SolusVM users…

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Step 1: Before Installing ISPConfig

Install Ubuntu via SolusVM

Before we install ISPConfig, we have to get the environment ready. This guide assumes that it’s a fresh VPS, and as such, install a current version of Ubuntu — preferably a LTS version (long term support).

Update the Repositories

After the new OS is installed, update the repository list, using the default vi editor:

Remove what’s there (delete) and replace with the main, security, and updates repos:

Tip: To exit the vi editor, press control+C, then :w to save, then :q to quit. Nano is a much better editor, but sadly does not come with Ubuntu. However, this is the one time that you’ll have to use it.

After the repositories are added, tell the system of the changes (i.e., update it):

Replace vi with nano

Once the updated repositories are updated, install a better text editor:

Update Ubuntu

The Ubuntu templates in SolusVM are probably not up to date. Update them by “upgrading” the system. (Note that upgrading to a new version of Linux requires more work. This “upgrade” is not what most people consider to be an upgrade.)

The update (“upgrade”) process may ask for your confirmation several times. It can also halt on a changelog, which has no obvious way to escape. However, changelogs are displayed using the vi editor, so press :q to make it go away.

Once this is completed, it’s time to install ISPConfig 3.

Step 2: Install the LAMP Stack (Apache, MySQL, PHP)

Install MySQL and Email Services

ISPConfig is installed in several chunks. First, the email, MySQL, and some related services are installed:

You’ll be asked to confirm, and then it’s time to set up MySQL:

Install with the following option:

  1. Internet Site
  2. the name of your server (the hostname; i.e. server.mydomain.com)
  3. a root MySQL password with letters/numbers only (or there could be trouble!)
Install Antivirus and Spam Filters

Next, install antivirus, anti-spam, email lists, and some related services:

Again, you’ll be asked to confirm.

SpamAssassin is going to be used, but not as a standalone service. Amavis-new will load it as a module, and requires far less RAM. The SpamAssassin daemon is a memory hog, and unless you’re using a VPS with at least 2GB, it should be removed:

Install the Apache Webserver and PHP

While nginx, LiteSpeed and others can be a better choice for a webserver, ISPConfig 3 works best as an Apache server. And unless your VPS is getting tons of traffic — hundreds of thousands monthly, minimum — then Apache is fine. It’s an excellent webserver, and it’s still the most popular one.

This is easily the longest of the steps:

Again, you’ll be asked to confirm.

Continued…

Now that the Linux environment was prepped, and the LAMP stack was installed, now it time to install some services that are needed by ISPConfig.

This guide was made possible due to the quality servers at EuroVPS, Evolucix and Ninja Hawk. That’s where we frequently test panels, Windows/Linux OS, and various server software. They both have excellent support, and are highly recommended by the staff at The Digital FAQ. To us, support speed and quality is one of the most important factors of having a host. You’ll find our full list of suggested hosts in the forum.

If this article is helpful, please share it with others, using these links:
And if you've found our site to be as helpful as a magazine, book or class, then consider a small donation to support what we do here. Or sign up as a Premium Member for only $20. Thanks!

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