November 4, 2016 Comments (0) SEO / IM, Tech, Web / Graphics

Using CentOS Linux for Affordable Windows Dedicated Servers

Internet marketers love virtual private servers (VPS) and dedicated servers. We can run our SEO and marketing tools much faster than we can on our home computers. Scraping content, gathering data and link building use a lot of bandwidth and unless you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with very high speed internet; and you’re interested in using that bandwidth on marketing.

The problem with virtual and dedicated servers is that we primarily need Windows servers… The problem with that is, companies want a ton of money for a Windows server. That really isn’t their fault so much, Windows licensing on that scale is expensive, but when you’re allowed to bring your own license it can get a lot cheaper. Some companies allow this, I know OVH used to, but not many others.

So here, I will show you how to setup a Linux dedicated server to run multiple instances of Windows that you can remote desktop (RDP) connect to. Don’t worry, it’s very, very simple.. And if you think about the savings in just a couple of months, it’s well worth it. If you follow this guide, we will be up and running in an hour or two with multiple Windows dedicated servers. 🙂

First things first, you will obviously need a dedicated server. Luckily there’s lots of them out there and since we’re looking for a Linux server, this is going to be easy and should be affordable. Personally, I use Wholesale Internet (aka Nocix, formerly DataShack) — I have an Intel I7 2600, 16GB RAM, 1TB SATA and 33TB transfer over 1Gbps LAN. That’s $30 per month.. If you don’t understand what that all means, it’s a nice server for $30 that can power multiple virtual machines. They also have instant setup, you get your IP and login info in less than an hour. (PS, they have $10/month servers that would work decent enough as well for just one virtual machine.)

When we setup, I choose CentOS — you can choose whatever distribution of Linux you want, but I am writing this for CentOS, so if you can’t get yours to work, just go back and reinstall Cent. (With Wholesale Internet, reinstall takes about 10 minutes.)

Once you get your server setup and have all of your information available (IP address, username, password) we are ready to actually start. The rest of this is actually very quick if you do it correctly, so let’s get going..

Step 1 - Download PuTTY & Connect

puttyWe need to download PuTTY from their website — This will allow us to connect to the Linux server and start setting things up. There are not many commands, and just COPY AND PASTE into the command window to speed things up.

Once you’ve downloaded “putty.exe“, enter the server’s IP address (leave port 22) in the highlighted box.

At the command screen, just enter your login information to login to the server.

 

 

Step 2 - Install Desktop & Enable RDP

Now we will enable the Desktop environment and RDP in CentOS, simply copy and paste the commands into the command window..

Root privileges

sudo -s

Install EPEL and nux Desktop repository rpm

rpm -Uvh https://li.nux.ro/download/nux/dextop/el7/x86_64/nux-dextop-release-0-5.el7.nux.noarch.rpm

Install GNOME

yum groupinstall “GNOME Desktop” “Graphical Administration Tools”

Change reboot command from command line to GUI

ln -sf /lib/systemd/system/runlevel5.target /etc/systemd/system/default.target

Install XRDP and TigerVNC

yum -y install xrdp tigervnc-server

Start the XRDP service

systemctl start xrdp.service

Enable XRDP service at boot

systemctl enable xrdp.service

If your firewall is activated, add the RDP port. If you do not know, enter the commands anyway

firewall-cmd –permanent –zone=public –add-port=3389/tcp
firewall-cmd –reload

At this point, you should be able to open Remote Desktop Connection in Windows, enter your server’s IP and connect.

Step 3 - Install VMWare

Next it’s time for some easy stuff, installing VMWare on the CentOS server. Open the top-left Applications menu in Cent and start the Firefox browser, go to VMWare’s website and download VMWare Workstation for Linux.

Go back to the Applications menu and start a Terminal session.. enter the following commands

Root privileges

sudo -s

Update Linux

yum update

Navigate to the Downloads folder (from ~)

cd Downloads

Change permissions for the installation file

chmod a+x VMware-Workstation-Full-12.5.1-4542065.x86_64.bundle

Now, just open the installer

./VMware-Workstation-Full-12.5.1-4542065.x86_64.bundle

When it opens, install it as normal and you can find it under Applications, System Tools. Or from the terminal, enter “vmware” to start the program. You should get an error about GCC… To resolve, enter into terminal

yum groupinstall “Development tools”

If you get a Kernel Headers error at this point,

yum install kernel-headers

At this point, you should be able to run VMWare as you normally would in Windows. You can download Windows ISO’s online and install them to virtual machines (that is easy, watch YouTube.)

But, let’s get our internet settings — right click the network icon in the top-right (it’s a square with notches in the top corners).. Click “PCI Ethernet” and “Wired Settings.” Write down the “Default Route,” in Windows, this is our Default Gateway.

Hopefully your dedicated server came with multiple IP addresses…. (If not, it can be done, but I will not explain it here — this requires NAT settings in the Virtual Network Editor, vmnet8 to create a virtual network and use port forwarding — then you can connect to specific VM’s using ports, like 12.34.567.8:123 — assign the 123 port to the VM’s IP address and there you go.)

After you’ve installed Windows.. On your virtual machine’s settings, go to the Network Adapter and make sure it’s “Bridged” and “Replicate physical network connection state” is checked.

Next, go into the Windows virtual machine and go to “Change adapter settings” (in Control Panel, Network and Internet, Network and Sharing Center on the Left)

Right click on the network adapter and select Properties, highlight TCP/IPv4 settings and click Properties. Enter your IP address you want to use (they usually start 1 digit after your server’s IP, so if you connect to 12.34.567.8, the next IP is 12.34.567.9) your subnet will auto-fill and use the default gateway we got from CentOS. For DNS servers, I use Google’s 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 — Click OK, close the network properties and that’s it. 🙂

How many Windows servers you can get depends on the amount of resources you give to each one. There you go, $30/month for 4 Windows dedicated servers (1-3 cores each, 2-4 GB each, 100-200GB each.)

 

 

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