Creating a Rackspace Cloud UK Server

We don't have a datacenter in the UK for those who need one, but our parent company Rackspace does. Let us walk you through getting an account with Rackspace Cloud UK and creating your first Cloud server.


Opening a Cloud account

So you've decided to give Rackspace Cloud UK a whirl. Excellent!

The first step in your journey is creating an account and getting a feel for the control panel. That's where you'll be doing the behind-the-scenes work of allocating resources and choosing an operating system. We've tried to make it as easy as possible to work through it yourself but sometimes it's nice to have a guide you can follow. A guide like this one.

When you're done with this article you'll have a UK Cloud Server up and running, ready for you to take advantage of all the options and freedom the Cloud provides. You'll be able to add and resize servers as needed, letting you quickly adapt to changes in your computing needs. It will be awesome.

Am I laying the Cloud praise on a little thick? Well, yes. Yes I am. What can I say? I love working with the Cloud. I hope you will too.

Visit the site

To start with we'll go to the Rackspace Cloud UK website:

http://www.rackspace.co.uk/cloud-hosting/

To begin creating your account click the "Buy Online" button next to the Cloud Servers entry.

Sign up for an account

On the next screen you'll be asked to select a username and password and to enter your email address. The username can consist of 3 to 15 letters and numbers. Your password should be between 8 and 20 characters including at least one lowercase letter, one uppercase letter, and one number (you can have more than one of each of those, of course).

You will also need to select the services you'll be using. This article assumes you're signing up for Cloud Servers but you can of course add other services like Cloud Files at this time.

Once you've finished proceed to the next screen and fill out your billing information. After that you'll confirm the information you've given and the account will be created.

Verification

Your account will need to be verified by our account team before you will be able to create and use Cloud resources. Verification typically involves a call to the phone number you gave when creating the account. The whole process (waiting for the call and confirming your details) shouldn't take more than ten or fifteen minutes.

It's a bit of an inconvenience but the process is in place to limit fraud and abuse. Malicious people sometimes create fake accounts so they can anonymously attack other people's servers. The verification process is one way we screen for them.

Log in

Once your account is created you should be directed to the Cloud UK Control Panel. If you want to get back to the control panel later but forgot to bookmark it you can get to the control panel via the following link.

UK Cloud Control Panel:

https://lon.manage.rackspacecloud.com/

Once you're logged in you'll be taken to your Dashboard.

Dashboard

The first page you'll see when you enter the control panel will show a summary of your system use for the month. For a new account that should be a bunch of zeroes.

At the top of the summary page are two tabs, "Welcome" and "Get Started". It's worth checking out the "Get Started" tab later for more detailed tutorials on using Cloud services.

Create a server

Let's make ourselves a Cloud server. Take a look at the navigation bar on the left side of the page and click on "Hosting".

hostingnav

Click that entry and it will expand to show you more options. Click the "Cloud Servers" option.

hostingexp

The dashboard will switch to a list of your currently-configured Cloud servers, of which you have exactly none right now. Let's fix that.

Click the "Add Server" button at the top of the server list.

addserver

You'll be greeted by a selection of operating systems you can run on a Cloud Server (like Windows Server or Ubuntu Linux). You can switch between OS categories using tabs at the top of the list.

ostabs

Note that there's also a category for your own images. That feature allows you to take a backup snapshot of an existing Cloud server and create new instances using it as a template.

After clicking "Select" next to the operating system of your choice you'll see a window asking you to name the server and select its initial size.

sizepicker

The server name can be anything you like. If you'll be creating several servers make sure to give them descriptive names so you can tell them apart in the control panel.

Choose the memory and disk size of the server you'll be creating according to your needs. If you're just fiddling around out of curiosity you can start with a less expensive, lower-end server size. If you're creating a server that will handle a lot of traffic you'll need more RAM than the bare minimum. You can change the size later.

Once you submit the requested information the system will start building your server and take you its overview page. At the top of the page you should see a notice that includes the server's new root or Administrator password along with buttons for some of the tools you'll use to manage the server.

building

While the system's busy creating let's take a quick look at those tools.

IP address

You'll want to know the IP address of the new server so you can connect to it when it's ready. The IP address can be found at the bottom of the server overview.

ipaddress

Console

The "Console" button will take you to an in-browser console interface to your Cloud server. It's not as responsive as a remote terminal session but it can be very handy if your server becomes unreachable. With the console you can log in as if you were sitting at the keyboard of the (virtual) server and troubleshoot from there.

Reboot

The reboot button can reboot your server. Convenient.

A "soft reboot" will try to reboot the server as if you'd issued the reboot command to the operating system. A "hard reboot" is more akin to turning the server off then turning it back on again.

Rescue

The "Rescue" button will shut your server down then bring it back up in rescue mode. Rescue mode provides a host OS so you can mount your server's operating system and look at it without needing the server to be running. It's very useful when the server isn't booting up at all. It's also handy if you believe your server has been compromised and want to use some clean OS tools to examine your files.

Rebuild

The "Rebuild" button will erase your server's hard drive and write a new image to it. This will destroy all data on the server, so use this command with caution.

When rebuilding you get the same options as when you created it. You'll be able to select from our base images as well as any saved backup snapshots.

Reset password

"Reset Password" is a useful command if you forget your server's root password. Choosing this tool will restart your server and reset the root password.

The system will send the new password to your account's primary email address. Be sure to change it to something memorable right away.

Delete

The "Delete" command is there for when you're done with a server. Click Delete and the server goes away entirely.

Connect to your new server

By now you should have a new server but haven't actually done anything with it yet. Let's fix that.

Note the IP address and temporary password of your new server. You'll connect to it differently depending on whether it's a Linux or Windows server.

Linux server

For a Linux server you will connect to your new instance via SSH.

If you're using a Linux or MacOS client open a terminal window. To find the Terminal program on a Mac go to the "Applications" folder then look in the "Utilities" subdirectory.

Once you're in the terminal you can run "ssh" to connect to the server using the username "root" followed by "@" and the server's IP address. Run the command using the following command as a template, substituting your IP address for the "12.34.56.78" part:

ssh root@12.34.56.78

If you are running Windows you will need to download an SSH client program. For more details you can read this brief tutorial on using PuTTY on Windows to make an ssh connection.

Windows server

If you created a Windows server you will use a Remote Desktop Client to connect to the new instance using its IP address and the "Administrator" user.

For a guide to using a Remote Desktop connection you can consult either this article for a Windows client or this article for a Mac client.

What next?

Now you get to do whatever it was you were going to do with the server. The choice is yours.

You might want to check out the "Getting Started" tutorials available from the control panel's dashboard to get more detailed information on using the control panel. It's handy to know what tools you have available (like DNS and backups).

If you're migrating from another service like Slicehost you can read about copying your files from the old server to the new one in this article series.

Our base images are pretty barebones servers with only a minimum of software installed. With that in mind, take advantage of the "Support" section of the navigation bar in your Cloud control panel. From there you can access the Cloud Servers knowledgebase to find guides to adding services to your server.

The Support section also lets you create a support ticket or enter live chat with one of our support staff. Our techs are available any time, day or night, if you get stuck or have a problem. We're always eager to help.

Congratulations on your new Cloud Server!

  • -- Jered
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