Creating A VPS Testing Server

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I didn't find any information on this on the wiki so i figured I'd add this to the Joomla! Docs. This tutorial will explain how to set up a testing server for use with Joomla! and the Eclipse IDE.

Prerequisites & Outlook

This tutorial will use the following software to give you a complete testing server environment.

Host System: Windows 7 x64

  • Items to install:
    • PHP
    • Phing
    • Eclipse PDT

Guest System: Cent OS 6.3 x64

  • Items to install:
    • OS
    • XAMPP with XDebug
    • Samba Server

Why Testing Server

Do you have a website that's live and you need to constantly upgrade your website, however since your website is live, you dont want to edit the actual website, resulting in the site crashing from time to time or not working. Getting a testing server allows you to do all your testing without affecting the live server. Then you upload your completed update to the Live Server once completed.

Why a VPS

Nine times out of ten, your server is on a Linux based system, but you are not. Sometimes testing between Windows or Mac based systems and then switching over to a Linux based system can cause issues. I.e. carriage returns, etc. So your testing server should be on a Linux based system ( or whatever the actual server is ).

Step 1. Creating the Guest Testing Server

This tutorial assumes you are using Windows 7, which release doesn't matter.

The server virtualization platform

To setup the testing server, the first thing you need is Oracle VM VirtualBox. This software will virtualize another "guest" operating system on your machine while its running. At the time of writing this tutorial, I'm using version: 4.1.18. Download the version for windows hosts and install it on your computer.

The server software

Your also going to need a Cent OS iso to use to install the Guest OS. At the time of writing, the latest version of CentOS is version 6.3. The Link i used to download is NOTE: this is for 64 bit computers. Alternatively, you can go to the CentOS Downloads Page and choose your download place.

Creating the server

Open up Oracle VM VirtualBox. You will see the window below:

Creating A VPS Testing Server - pic 1.jpg

Click on the New Button in the top left corner of the window to begin creating your VirtualBox. You will see the following screen:

Creating A VPS Testing Server - pic 2.jpg

Click next to go to the next page. On the next page Enter A name for the testing server and Make sure that the Operating System and Version show "Linux" and "Red Hat (64 bit)" like below:

Creating A VPS Testing Server - pic 3.jpg

Click next to go to the next page. On then next page, decide how much memory to dedicate to the Virtual Machine. Try to give CentOS atleast 1gig of RAM. Note: You can do the recommended 512 MB if you want, however the CentOS installation process will be different.

Creating A VPS Testing Server - pic 4.jpg

Click next to go to the next page. On the next page, you will click next again because we will be creating a new virtual hard drive for use with the new virtual machine.

Creating A VPS Testing Server - pic 5.jpg

After clicking next, you will begin the Virtual Hard disk creation and you will see the screen below. I suggest using VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image), but you can select another if you'd like.

Creating A VPS Testing Server - pic 6.jpg

Click next to go to the next page. You will next select the disk storage details. Dynamic or fixed allocation. You can read the screen for what each does, however i suggest going fixed for speed reasons.

Creating A VPS Testing Server - pic 7.jpg

Next, your going to select the name and size for the virtual hard disk. I always name the disk the same name as the testing server and I usually use 8gigs minimum for the virtual hard disk unless i know i'm going to need more.

Creating A VPS Testing Server - pic 8.jpg

Next, your going to put your hard disk settings to work and actually create the virtual hard disk. Click Create to finalize the virtual hard disk creation.

Creating A VPS Testing Server - pic 9.jpg

After that is completed, you will be taken back to the "Create New Virtual Machine" page, where you will finalize the other options you selected for the virtual Machine:

Creating A VPS Testing Server - pic 10.jpg

Fine Tuning The server

We're gonna do the final server configurations below. Right click on The new server and click on settings:

Creating A VPS Testing Server - pic 11.jpg

Below are all the pics of the different property pages: (if a page is not on there, leave default values on that page)

Make sure that the Adapter Type is set to Bridged so that other computers on the network/intranet/internet can interact with your VPS.
Ensure that you add the CentOS iso that you downloaded to your virtual CD/DVD Drive so that we can install to the virtual hard drive from it.

Installing the Guest OS

Now we finally Start the Virtual Machine.

There's alot of pictures involved here and someone's already done this so I'm going to defer to them:

Follow the instructions from this site, all the way up until 8 Quota: stop BEFORE that.

Installing XAMPP on the Guest OS

So we have the Guest OS set up completely and we're looking to setup the actual web/mysql/ftp server portion. If its not on, turn on the server and login as root using the password you set in the previous section.

First, Type this Download XAMPP to the server using Wget: (XAMPP 1.8.0 is out at the writing of this tutorial)

cd /tmp

Second, extract XAMPP to the /opt directory:

tar xvfz xampp-linux-1.7.7.tar.gz -C /opt

Now we start XAMPP to make sure we placed it in the right place and get the error:

/opt/lampp/lampp start