Posts Tagged ‘init’

How to shutdown Windows after 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. X hours with a batch script – Shutdown / Reboot / Logoff Windows with a quick command

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

I recently wondered how it is possible to shutdown Windows in some prior set time lets say in 30 minutes, 1 hour, 3 hours or 8 hours.

That's handy especially on servers that are being still in preparation install time and you have left some large files copy job (if you're migration files) from Old server environment to a new one
or if you just need to let your home WIndows PC shutdown to save electricity after some time (a very useful example is if you're downloading some 200GB of data which are being estimated to complete in 3 hours but you need to get out and be back home in 2 or 4 days and you don't want to bother connecting remotely to your PC with VNC or teamviewer then just scheduling the PC / server to shutdown in 3 hours with a simple is perfect solution to the task, here is how:

1. Open Command Prompt (E.g. Start menu -> Run and type CMD.EXE)

2. Type in command prompt


shutdown -s -t 10800


If you by mistake has typed it to shutdown earlier and suddenly you find out your PC needs to be running for a short more time in order to cancel the scheduled Shutdown type:


shutdown -a

Shutdown Windows command -s flag has also a possibiltiy to not shutdown but just logoff or if you just need to have the system rebooted a reboot option:

options    effect
-l         to log off
-r         to reboot

If you need to shutdown the PC after half an hour use instead the command:


shutdown -s -t 1800


Half an hour is 1800 seconds for one hour delayed shutdown use 3600 for 3 hours, that would be 3*3600 10800, for 5 hours 5*3600 = 18000 seconds and so on


An alternative way to do it with a short VBscript, here is an example:

Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

Dim Input
Input = "10:00"

'Input = InputBox("Enter the shutdown time here.","", "10:00")

For i = 1 to 2

CurrentTime = Time & VbCrLf

If Left(CurrentTime,5) = Input Then

objShell.Run "shutdown -s -t 00", 0
WScript.Quit 1


WScript.Sleep 1000

End If




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How to Remove / Add SuSE Linux start service command

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

If you happen to administer SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9 (x86_64) and you need to add or remove already existing /etc/init.d script or custom created Apache / Tomcat .. etc. service and you're already familiar with Fedora's / RHEL chkconfig, then the good news chkconfig is also available on SuSE and you can use in same way chkconfig to start / stop / enable / disable boot time services.

To list all available boot time init.d services use:

suse-linux:/etc # chkconfig –list


SuSEfirewall2_final       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
SuSEfirewall2_init        0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
SuSEfirewall2_setup       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
Tivoli_lcfd1.bkp          0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
activate_web_all          0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
alsasound                 0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
apache2                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
apache2-eis               0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:off  6:off
atd                       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
audit                     0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
autofs                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
autoyast                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.clock                0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.crypto               0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.device-mapper        0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.evms                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.idedma               0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.ipconfig             0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.isapnp               0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.klog                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.ldconfig             0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.loadmodules          0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.localfs              0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.localnet             0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.lvm                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.multipath            0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.proc                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.restore_permissions  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.rootfsck             0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.sched                0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.scpm                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.scsidev              0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.shm                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.swap                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.sysctl               0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.udev                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
coldplug                  0:off  1:on   2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off


To then stop the service:

suse-linux:/etc # chkconfig gtiweb off

If you prefer to do it the SuSE way and learn a bit more on SuSE boot time process check out:


suse-linux:/etc # man insserv

Removing already existing SuSE start-up script from init.d start up with insserv is done with:

suse-linux:/etc # cd /etc/init.d/
suse-linux:etc/init.d # insserv -r gtiweb
insserv: script ipmi.hp: service ipmidrv already provided!
insserv: script boot.multipath.2008-10-29: service boot.multipath already provided!

To install a new custom written and placed into /etc/inti.d/ on SuSE's server boot time with insserv:


suse-linux:/etc/init.d/ # insserv your_custom_script_name

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Fix MySQL ibdata file size – ibdata1 file growing too large, preventing ibdata1 from eating all your server disk space

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015


If you're a webhosting company hosting dozens of various websites that use MySQL with InnoDB  engine as a backend you've probably already experienced the annoying problem of MySQL's ibdata1 growing too large / eating all server's disk space and triggering disk space low alerts. The ibdata1 file, taking up hundreds of gigabytes is likely to be encountered on virtually all Linux distributions which run default MySQL server <= MySQL 5.6 (with default distro shipped my.cnf). The excremental ibdata1 raise appears usually due to a application software bug on how it queries the database. In theory there are no limitation for ibdata1 except maximum file size limitation set for the filesystem (and there is no limitation option set in my.cnf) meaning it is quite possible that under certain conditions ibdata1 grow over time can happily fill up your server LVM (Storage) drive partitions.

Unfortunately there is no way to shrink the ibdata1 file and only known work around (I found) is to set innodb_file_per_table option in my.cnf to force the MySQL server create separate *.ibd files under datadir (my.cnf variable) for each freshly created InnoDB table.

1. Checking size of ibdata1 file

On Debian / Ubuntu and other deb based Linux servers datadir is /var/lib/mysql/ibdata1

server:~# du -hsc /var/lib/mysql/ibdata1
45G     /var/lib/mysql/ibdata1
45G     total

2. Checking info about Databases and Innodb storage Engine

server:~# mysql -u root -p

| Database           |
| information_schema |
| bible              |
| blog               |
| blog-sezoni        |
| blogmonastery      |
| daniel             |
| ezmlm              |
| flash-games        |

Next step is to get some understanding about how many existing InnoDB tables are present within Database server:


mysql> SELECT COUNT(1) EngineCount,engine FROM information_schema.tables WHERE table_schema NOT IN ('information_schema','performance_schema','mysql') GROUP BY engine;
| EngineCount | engine |
|         131 | InnoDB |
|           5 | MEMORY |
|         584 | MyISAM |
3 rows in set (0.02 sec)

To get some more statistics related to InnoDb variables set on the SQL server:

mysqladmin -u root -p'Your-Server-Password' var | grep innodb

Here is also how to find which tables use InnoDb Engine

mysql> SELECT table_schema, table_name
    -> WHERE engine = 'innodb';

| table_schema | table_name               |
| blog         | wp_blc_filters           |
| blog         | wp_blc_instances         |
| blog         | wp_blc_links             |
| blog         | wp_blc_synch             |
| blog         | wp_likes                 |
| blog         | wp_wpx_logs              |
| blog-sezoni  | wp_likes                 |
| icanga_web   | cronk                    |
| icanga_web   | cronk_category           |
| icanga_web   | cronk_category_cronk     |
| icanga_web   | cronk_principal_category |
| icanga_web   | cronk_principal_cronk    |

3. Check and Stop any Web / Mail / DNS service using MySQL

server:~# ps -efl |grep -E 'apache|nginx|dovecot|bind|radius|postfix'

Below cmd should return empty output, (e.g. Apache / Nginx / Postfix / Radius / Dovecot / DNS etc. services are properly stopped on server).

4. Create Backup dump all MySQL tables with mysqldump

Next step is to create full backup dump of all current MySQL databases (with mysqladmin):

server:~# mysqldump –opt –allow-keywords –add-drop-table –all-databases –events -u root -p > dump.sql
server:~# du -hsc /root/dump.sql
940M    dump.sql
940M    total


If you have free space on an external backup server or remotely mounted attached (NFS or SAN Storage) it is a good idea to make a full binary copy of MySQL data (just in case something wents wrong with above binary dump), copy respective directory depending on the Linux distro and install location of SQL binary files set (in my.cnf).
To check where are MySQL binary stored database data (check in my.cnf):

server:~# grep -i datadir /etc/mysql/my.cnf
datadir         = /var/lib/mysql

If server is CentOS / RHEL Fedora RPM based substitute in above grep cmd line /etc/mysql/my.cnf with /etc/my.cnf

if you're on Debian / Ubuntu:

server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql stop
server:~# cp -rpfv /var/lib/mysql /root/mysql-data-backup

Once above copy completes, DROP all all databases except, mysql, information_schema (which store MySQL existing user / passwords and Access Grants and Host Permissions)

5. Drop All databases except mysql and information_schema

server:~# mysql -u root -p



DROP DATABASE wordpress;
DROP DATABASE micropcfreak;
DROP DATABASE statusnet;

          etc. etc.

ACHTUNG !!! DON'T execute!DROP database mysql; DROP database information_schema; !!! – cause this might damage your User permissions to databases

6. Stop MySQL server and add innodb_file_per_table and few more settings to prevent ibdata1 to grow infinitely in future

server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql stop

server:~# vim /etc/mysql/my.cnf

Delete files taking up too much space – ibdata1 ib_logfile0 and ib_logfile1

server:~# cd /var/lib/mysql/
server:~#  rm -f ibdata1 ib_logfile0 ib_logfile1
server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql start
server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql stop
server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql start
server:~# ps ax |grep -i mysql


You should get no running MySQL instance (processes), so above ps command should return blank.

7. Re-Import previously dumped SQL databases with mysql cli client

server:~# cd /root/
server:~# mysql -u root -p < dump.sql

Hopefully import should went fine, and if no errors experienced new data should be in.

Altearnatively if your database is too big and you want to import it in less time to mitigate SQL downtime, instead import the database with:

server:~# mysql -u root -p
mysql> SOURCE /root/dump.sql;


If something goes wrong with the import for some reason, you can always copy over sql binary files from /root/mysql-data-backup/ to /var/lib/mysql/

8. Connect to mysql and check whether databases are listable and re-check ibdata file size

Once imported login with mysql cli and check whther databases are there with:

server:~# mysql -u root -p

Next lets see what is currently the size of ibdata1, ib_logfile0 and ib_logfile1

server:~# du -hsc /var/lib/mysql/{ibdata1,ib_logfile0,ib_logfile1}
19M     /var/lib/mysql/ibdata1
1,1G    /var/lib/mysql/ib_logfile0
1,1G    /var/lib/mysql/ib_logfile1
2,1G    total

Now ibdata1 will grow, but only contain table metadata. Each InnoDB table will exist outside of ibdata1.
To better understand what I mean, lets say you have InnoDB table named blogdb.mytable.
If you go into /var/lib/mysql/blogdb, you will see two files
representing the table:

  •     mytable.frm (Storage Engine Header)
  •     mytable.ibd (Home of Table Data and Table Indexes for blogdb.mytable)

Now construction will be like that for each of MySQL stored databases instead of everything to go to ibdata1.
MySQL 5.6+ admins could relax as innodb_file_per_table is enabled by default in newer SQL releases.

Now to make sure your websites are working take few of the hosted websites URLs that use any of the imported databases and just browse.
In my case ibdata1 was 45GB after clearing it up I managed to save 43 GB of disk space!!!

Enjoy the disk saving! 🙂

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Apache Webserver disable file extension – Forbid / Deny access in Apache config to certain file extensions for a Virtualhost

Monday, March 30th, 2015

If you're a Webhosting company sysadmin like me and you already have configured directory listing for certain websites / Vhosts and those files are mirrored from other  development webserver location but some of the uploaded developer files extensions which are allowed to be interptered such as php include files .inc / .htaccess mod_rewrite rules / .phps / .html / .txt need to be working on the dev / test server but needs to be disabled (excluded) from delivery or interpretting for some directory on the prod server.

Open Separate host VirtualHost file or Apache config (httpd.conf / apache2.conf)  if all Vhosts  for which you want to disable certain file extensions and add inside:

<Directory "/var/www/sploits">
        AllowOverride All



Extension Deny Rules such as:

For disabling .inc files from inclusion from other PHP sources:

<Files  ~ "\.inc$">
  Order allow,deny
  Deny from all

To Disable access to .htaccess single file only


<Files ~ "^\.htaccess">
  Order allow,deny
  Deny from all

To Disable .txt from being served by Apache and delivered to requestor browser:


<Files  ~ "\.txt$">
  Order allow,deny
  Deny from all


To Disable any left intact .html from being delivered to client:


<Files  ~ "\.html$">
  Order allow,deny
  Deny from all


Do it for as many extensions as you need.
Finally to make changes affect restart Apache as usual:

If on Deb based Linux issue:

/etc/init.d/apach2 restart

On CentOS / RHEL and other Redhats / RedHacks 🙂

/etc/init.d/httpd restart

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Speed up WordPress / Joomla CMS and MySQL server on Linux with tmpfs ram file system / Decrease Website pageload times with RAM caching

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

As a WordPress blog owner and an sys admin that has to deal with servers running a lot of WordPress / Joomla / Droopal and other custom CMS installed on servers, performoing slow or big enough to put a significant load on servers
and I love efficiency and hardware cost saving is essential for my daily job, I'm constantly trying to find new ways to optimize Customer Website (WordPress) and rest of sites in order to utilize better our servers and improve our clients sites speed (and hence satisfaction). 

There is plenty of little things to do on servers but probably among the most crucial ones which we use nowadays that save us a lot of money is tmpfs, and earlier (ramfs) – previously known as shmfs).
TMPFS is a (Temporary File Storage Facility) Linux kernel technology based on ramfs (used by Linux kernel initrd / initramfs on boot time in order to load and store the Linux kernel in memory, before system hard disk partition file systems are mounted) which is heavily used by virtually all modern popular Linux distributions. 

Using ramfs (cramfs variation – Compressed ROM filesystem) has been used to store different system environment kernel and Desktop components of many Linux environment / applications and used by a lot of the Linux BootCD such as the most famous (Klaus Knopper's) KNOPPIX LiveCD and Trinity Rescue Kit Linux (TRK uses /dev/shm which btw can be seen on most modern Linux distros and is actually just another mounted tmpfs).
If you haven't tried Live Linux yet try it out as me and a lot of sysadmins out there use some kind of LiveLinux at least few times on yearly basis  to Recover Unbootable Linux servers after some applied remote Updates as well as for Rescuing (Save) Data from Linux server failing to properly boot because of hard disk (bad blocks) failures. As I said earlier TMPFS is also used on almost any distribution for the /dev/ filesystem which is kept in memory.

You can see which tmpfs partitions is used on your Linux server with:


debian-server:~# mount |grep -i tmpfs
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)


Above is an output from a standard Debian Linux server. On CentOS 7 standard mounted tmpfs are as follows:


[root@centos ~]# mount |grep -i tmpfs
devtmpfs on /dev type devtmpfs (rw,nosuid,seclabel,size=1016332k,nr_inodes=254083,mode=755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,seclabel)
tmpfs on /run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,seclabel,mode=755)
tmpfs on /sys/fs/cgroup type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,seclabel,mode=755)


[root@centos ~]# df -h|grep -i tmpfs
devtmpfs                 993M     0  993M   0% /dev
tmpfs                   1002M   92K 1002M   1% /dev/shm
tmpfs                   1002M  8.8M  993M   1% /run
tmpfs                   1002M     0 1002M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup

The /run tmpfs mounted directory is also to be seen also on latest Ubuntus and Fedoras and is actually the good old /var/run ( where applications keep there pids and some small app related files) stored in tmpfs filesystem stored in memory.

If you're wondering what is /dev/shm and why it appears mounted on every single Linux Server / Desktop you've ever used this is a special filesystem shared memory which various running programs (processes) can use to transfer data quick and efficient between each other to preven the slow disk swapping. People using Linux for the rest 15 years should remember /dev/shm has been a target of a lot of kernel exploits as historically it had a lot of security issues.

While writting this article I've just checked about KNOPPIX developed amd just for info as of time of writting this distro has already 1000+ programs on CD version and 2600+ packages / application on DVD version.
Nowadays Knoppix is mostly used mostly as USB Live Flash drive as a lot of people are dropping CD / DVD use (many servers doesn't have a CD / DVD Drive) and for USB Live Flash Linux distros tmpfs is also key technology used as this gives the end user an amazing fast experience (Desktop applications run much fasten on Live USBs when tmpfs is used than when the slow 7200 RPM HDDs are used).

Loading big parts of the distribution within RAM (with tmpfs from Linux Kernel 2.4+ onwards) is also heavily used by a lot of Cluster vendors in most of Clustered (Cloud) Linux based environemnts, cause TMPFS gives often speeds up improvements to x30 times and decreases greatly I/O HDD. FreeBSD users will be happy to know that TMPFS is already ported and could be used on from FreeBSD 7.0+ onward.

In this small article I will give you example use on how I use tmpfs to speed up our WordPress Websites which use WP Caching plugins such as W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache
and Hyper Cache / WP Super Cache disk caching and MySQL server as a Database backend.
Below example is wordpress specific but since it can be easily applied to JoomlaDrupal or any other CMS out there that uses mySQL server to make a lot of CPU expensive memory hungry (LEFT JOIN) queries which end up using a slow 7200 RPM hard disk.


1. Preparing tmpfs partitions for WordPress File Cache directory

If you want to give tmpfs a test drive, I recommend you try to create / mount a 20 Megabyte partition. To create a tmpfs partition you don't need to use a tool like mkfs.ext3 / mkfs.ext4 as TMPFS is in reality a virtual filesystem that is mapped in the server system physical RAM (volatile memory). TMPFS is very nice because if you run out of free RAM system starts a combination of RAM use + some Hard disk SWAP 
The great thing about TMPFS is it never uses all of the available RAM and SWAP, which would not halt your server if TMPFS partition gets filled, but instead you will start getting the usual "Insufficient Disk Space", just like with a physical HDD parititon. RAMFS cares much less about server compared to TMPFS, because if RAMFS is historically older.

ramfs file systems cannot be limited in size like a disk base file system which is limited by it’s capacity, thus ramfs will continue using memory storage until the system runs out of RAM and likely crashes or becomes unresponsive. This is a problem if the application writing to the file system cannot be limited in total size, so in my opinion you better stay away from RAMFS except you have a good idea what you're doing. Another disadvantage of RAMFS compared to TMPFS is you cannot see the size of the file system in df and it can only be estimated by looking at the cached entry in free.

Note that before proceeding to use TMPFS or RAMFS you should know besides having advantages, there are certain serious disadvantage that if the server using tmpfs (in RAM) to store files crashes the customer might loose his data, therefore using RAM filesystems on Production servers is best to be used just for caching folders which are regularly synchronized with (rsync) to some folder to assure no data will be lost on server reboot or crash.

Memory of fast storage areas are ideally suited for applications which need repetitively small data areas for caching or using as temporary space such as Jira (Issue and Proejct Tracking Software) Indexing  As the data is lost when the machine reboots the tmpfs stored data must not be data of high importance as even scheduling backups cannot guarantee that all the data will be replicated in the even of a system crash.

To test mounting a tmpfs virtual (memory stored) filesystem issue:

mount -t tmpfs tmpfs -o size=256m /mnt/tmpfs

If you want to test mount a ramfs instead:


 mount -t ramfs -o size=256m ramfs /mnt/ramfs


debian-server:~#  mount |grep -i -E "ramfs|tmpfs"
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
tmpfs on /mnt/tmpfs type tmpfs (rw,size=256m)
ramfs on /mnt/ramfs type tmpfs (rw,size=256m)


Once mounted tmpfs can be used in the same way as any ext4 / reiserfs filesystem. In the same way to make mounts permanent, its necessery to add a line to /etc/fstab

To illustrate better a tmpfs use case on my blog running WordPress with W3TotalCache (W3TC) plugin cache folder in /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc to get advantage of tmpfs to store w3tc files.

a) Stop Apache

On Debian

debian-server:~# /etc/init.d/apache stop

On CentOS 

[root@centos ~]# /etc/init.d/httpd stop

b) Move w3tc dir to w3tc-bak


debian-server:~# cd /var/www/blog/wp-content/
debian-server:~# mv w3tc w3tc-bak


c) Create w3tc directory

debian-server:/var/www/blog/wp-content# mkdir w3tc
debian-server:/var/www/blog/wp-content# chown -R www-data:www-data w3tc

d) Add tmpfs record to /etc/fstab

My W3TC Cache didn't grow bigger than 2Gigabytes so I create a 2Giga directory for it by adding following in /etc/fstab 

debian-server:~# vim /etc/fstab


tmpfs /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc tmpfs defaults,size=2g,noexec,nosuid,uid=33,gid=33,mode=1755 0 0

You might also want to add the nr_inodes (option) to tmpfs while mounting. nr_inodes is the maximum inode for instance. Default is half the number of your physical RAM pages, (on a machine with highmem) the number of lowmem RAM page, some common option that should work is nr_inodes=5k, if you're unsure what this option does you can safely skip it 🙂

e) Mount new added tmpfs folder

Then to mount the newly added filesystem issue:

mount -a

Or if you're on a CentOS / RHEL server use httpd Apache user instead and whenever you have docroot and wordpress installed.


[root@centos ~]# chown -R apache:apache: w3tc

If you're using Apache SuPHP use whatever the UID / GID is proper.

On CentOS you will need to set proper UID and GID (UserID / GroupID), to find out which ones to to use check in /etc/passwd:

[root@centos ~]# grep -i apache /etc/passwd

f) Move old w3tc cache from w3tc-bak to w3tc


debian-server:/var/www/blog/wp-content# mv w3tc-bak/* w3tc/


g) Start again Apache

On Debian:


debian-server:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 start


On CentOS:

[root@centos~]# /etc/init.d/httpd start

h) Keeping w3tc cache site folder synced

As I said earlier the biggest problem with caching (the reason why many hosting providers) and site admins refuse to use it is they might loose some data, to prevent data loss or at least mitigate the data loss to few minutes intervals it is a good idea to synchronize tmpfs kept folders somewhere to disk with rsync.

To achieve that use a cronjob like this:

debian-server:~# crontab -u root -e
*/5 * * * * /usr/bin/ionice -c3 -n7 /usr/bin/nice -n 19 /usr/bin/rsync -ah –stats –delete /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc/ /backups/tmpfs/cache/ 1>/dev/null

Note that you will need to have the /backups/tmpfs/cache folder existing, create it with:


debian-server:~# mkdir -p /backups/tmpfs/cache

You will also need to add a rsync synchronization from backupped folder to tmpfs (in case if the server gets accidently rebooted because it hanged or power outage), place in



ionice -c3 -n7 nice -n 19 rsync -ahv –stats –delete /backups/tmpfs/cache/ /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc/ 1>/dev/null

(somewhere before exit 0) line

0 05 * * * /usr/bin/ionice -c3 -n7 /bin/nice -n 19 /usr/bin/rsync -ah –stats –delete /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc/ /backups/tmpfs/cache/ 1>/dev/null



2. Preparing tmpfs partitions for MySQL server temp File Cache directory

Its common that MySQL servers had to serve a lot of long and heavy SQL JOIN Queries mostly by related posts WP plugins such as (Zemanta Related Posts) and Contextual Related posts though MySQLs are well optimized  to work as much as efficient using mysql tuner (tuning primer) still often SQL servers get a lot of temp tables created to disk (about 25% to 30%) of all SQL queries use somehow HDD to serve queries and as this is very slow and there is file lock created the overall MySQL performance becomes sluggish at times to fix (resolve) that without playing with SQL code to optimize the slow queries the best way I found is by using TMPFS as MySQL temp folder.

To do so I create a TMPFS usually the size of 256 MB because this is usually enough for us, but other hosting companies might want to add bigger virtual temp disk:

a) Add tmpfs new dir to /etc/fstab

In /etc/fstab add below record with vim editor:

debian-server:~# vim /etc/fstab


tmpfs /var/mysqltmp tmpfs rw,gid=111,uid=108,size=256M,nr_inodes=10k,mode=0700 0 0


Note that the uid / and gid 105 and 114 are taken again from /etc/passwd

On Debian

debian-server:~# grep -i mysql /etc/passwd
mysql:x:108:111:MySQL Server,,,:/var/lib/mysql:/bin/false

On CentOS

[root@centos ~]# grep -i mysql /etc/passwd
mysql:x:27:27:MySQL Server:/var/lib/mysql:/bin/bash

b) Create folder /var/mysqltmp or whenever you want to place the tmpfs memory kept SQL folder


debian-server:~# mkdir /var/mysqltmp
debian-server:~# chown mysql:mysql /var/mysqltmp


debian-server:~# mount|grep -i tmpfs
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
tmpfs on /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc type tmpfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,size=2g,uid=33,gid=33,mode=1755)
tmpfs on /var/mysqltmp type tmpfs (rw,gid=108,uid=111,size=256M,nr_inodes=10k,mode=0700)

c) Add new path to tmpfs created folder in my.cnf 

Then  edit /etc/mysql/my.cnf


debian-server:~# vim /etc/mysql/my.cnf

# * Basic Settings
user        = mysql
pid-file    = /var/run/mysqld/
socket      = /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock
port        = 3306
basedir     = /usr
datadir     = /var/lib/mysql
tmpdir      = /var/mysqltmp


On CentOS edit and change tmpdir in same way within /etc/my.cnf

d) Finally Restart Apache and MySQL to make mysql start using new set tmpfs memory kept folder

On Debian:

debian-server:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 stop; /etc/init.d/mysql restart; /etc/init.d/apache2 start

On CentOS:

[root@centos ~]# /etc/init.d/httpd stop; /etc/init.d/mysqld restart; /etc/initd/httpd start

Now monitor your server and check your pagespeed increase for me such an optimization usually improves site performance so site becomes +50% faster, to see the difference you can test your website before applying tmpfs caching for site and after that by using Google PageInsight (PageSpeed) Online Test. Though this example is for MySQL and WordPress you can easily adopt the same for Joomla if you have Joomla Caching enabled to some folder, same goes for any other CMS such as Drupal that can take use of Disk Caching. Actually its a small secret of many Hosting providers that allow clients to create sites via CPanel and Kloxo this tmpfs optimizations are already used for sites and by this the provider is able to offer better website service on lower prices. VPS hosting providers also use heavy caching. A lot of people are using TMPFS also to accelerate Sites that have enabled Google Pagespeed as Cacher and accelerator, as PageSpeed module puts a heavy HDD I/O load that can easily stone the server. Many admins also choose to use TMPFS for  /tmp, /var/run, and /var/lock directories as this leads often to significant overall server services operations improvement.
Once you have tmpfs enabled, It is a good idea to periodically monitor your SWAP used space with (df -h), because if you allocate bigger tmpfs partitions than your physical memory and tmpfs's full size starts to be used your machine will start swapping heavily and this could have a very negative performance affect.

debian-server:~# df -h|grep -i tmpfs
tmpfs            3,9G     0   3,9G   0% /lib/init/rw
tmpfs            3,9G     0   3,9G   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs            2,0G  1,4G   712M  66% /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc
tmpfs            256M     0   256M   0% /mnt/tmpfs
tmpfs            256M  236K   256M   1% /var/mysqltmp

The applications of tmpfs to accelerate services is up to your imagination, so I will be glad to hear from other admins on any interesting other application or problems faced while using TMPFS.

 Enjoy! 🙂

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How to stop / start services in boot time and install / remove / update SuSE SLES (Suse Enterprise Linux Server)?

Friday, February 6th, 2015

If you're long time Linux sysadmin but you haven't need to adminster SuSE Linux still and your company buys other business / company which already owns some SuSE servers and you need to deal with them, even though you're just starting up with SuSE Linux but you had already plenty of experience with other Linux distributions Fedora / RHEL / CentOS, don't worry set up / stop / start a service (daemon) to boot on Linux boot time is just the same as any other Redhat (RPM) Linux based distributions. it is done by multiple shell scripts located in /etc/init.d directory which can be manually stopped start by issuing the script with an argument e.g

suse:/etc/init.d# cd /etc/init.d/
suse:/etc/init.d# ./snmpd 
Usage: ./snmpd {start|stop|try-restart|restart|force-reload|reload|status}

To configure how each of the /etc/init.d/ existent service boots you can the use good old /sbin/chkconfig (a script written in perl) – which you already know from Fedora / CentOS and other RPM distros.

1. Get a list of all enabled on boot SuSE Linux services

To get a list of all set up to run on boot SuSE server services with chkconfig:


suse:/etc/init.d# /sbin/chkfong –list 

Makefile                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
OVCtrl                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:on   5:on   6:off
SuSEfirewall2_init        0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
SuSEfirewall2_setup       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
Tivoli_lcfd1              0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
Tivoli_lcfd1.bkp          0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
aaeventd                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
acpid                     0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
alsasound                 0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
apache2-eis               0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
atd                       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
auditd                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
autofs                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
autoyast                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.apparmor             0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off  B:on
cron                      0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
dbus                      0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
earlykbd                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:on   6:off
earlysyslog               0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:on   6:off
esound                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
evms                      0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
fbset                     0:off  1:on   2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
firstboot                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
fixperms                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
gpm                       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
gssd                      0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
gwproxy                   0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
haldaemon                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
hp-health                 0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:on   5:on   6:off
hp-ilo                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
hp-snmp-agents            0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:on   5:on   6:off
hpsmhd                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:on   5:on   6:off
idmapd                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
ipmi                      0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
ipmi.hp                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
irq_balancer              0:off  1:on   2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
itcaIBMTivoliCommonAgent0  0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
jboss                     0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
joystick                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
kadmind                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
kbd                       0:off  1:on   2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off  S:on
kdump                     0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
kpropd                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
krb524d                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
krb5kdc                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
ldap                      0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
lm_sensors                0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
lw_agt                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
mdadmd                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
microcode                 0:off  1:on   2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off  S:on
multipathd                0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
mysql                     0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
network                   0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
nfs                       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
nfsboot                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
nfsserver                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
nohup.out                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
novell-zmd                0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
nscd                      0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
ntp                       0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
openct                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
opsware-agent             0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:on   5:on   6:off
osddownt                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:on   5:on   6:off
ovpa                      0:on   1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
pcscd                     0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
pctl                      0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
portmap                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
postfix                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
powerd                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
powersaved                0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
random                    0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
raw                       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
resmgr                    0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
rpasswdd                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
rpmconfigcheck            0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
rrdtools                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
rsyncd                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
saslauthd                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
skeleton.compat           0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
slurpd                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
smartd                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
smpppd                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
snmpd                     0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
splash                    0:off  1:on   2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off  S:on
splash_early              0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
sshd                      0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
suseRegister              0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
svcgssd                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
syslog                    0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
sysstat                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
tecad_logfile             0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
tomcat55                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
tomcat_eis                0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off             0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
uc4_smgrp                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
uc4_smgrq1                0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
xbis-ldap-tool            0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
xdm                       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:on   6:off
xfs                       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
xinetd                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
ypbind                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
xinetd based services:
        chargen:            off
        chargen-udp:        off
        daytime:            off
        daytime-udp:        off
        echo:               off
        echo-udp:           off
        netstat:            off
        rsync:              off
        servers:            off
        services:           off
        systat:             off
        time:               off
        time-udp:           off


2. Stop / Disable a service in all Linux boot runlevels or in a concrete one

As you should know already in Linux there are multiple runlevels in which server can boot, under normal circumstances SuSE servers (as of time of writting) this article boots into runlevel 3, if you'r'e  unsure about the runlevel you can check it with runlevel command:

 suse:/etc/init.d# /sbin/runlevel
N 3

To stop a service on all possible boot runlevels – 1,2,3,4,5

suse:/etc/init.d# /sbin/chkconfig xinetd off

If you want to stop xinetd or any other service just for certain runlevels (lets say run-level 3,4,5):

suse:/etc/init.d# chkconfig –level 345 xinetd off


3. Start / Enable a service for a runlevel or all boot levels 1,2,3,4,5

To disable boot.apparmor on all boot runlevels –  kernel enhancement that enabled to set a limited set of resources for services (good for tightened security, but often creating issues with some external server configured services).

suse:/etc/init.d# chkconfig boot.apparmor off

Or for single boot modes again with –level option:

suse:/etc/init.d# chkconfig –level 345 boot.apparmor off


suse:/etc/init.d# chkconfig xfs off 

4. SuSE Linux Package management zypper console tool

If you need / wonder how to install /remove / update a service on a SuSE Linux server, take a look at zypper tool.
zypper is  a  command-line  interface to ZYPP system management library.

To install a package / service with zypper the syntax is very much like yum, for example:

suse: ~# zypper install vim -emacs


will remove emacs editor and install Vi Improved

The equivalent of yum -y  Fedora command in SuSE Enterprise Linux is –non-interactive option


suse:~# zypper –non-interactive install


In SuSE it is pretty annoying when you're asked for accepting licensing on some proprietary (external vendor) non-free software packages to get around this:

suse:~# zypper patch –auto-agree-with-licenses

To keep the SuSE server up2date – i.e. SLES equivalent of CentOS's yum update && yum upgrade


suse:~# zypper list-patches
Loading repository data…
Reading installed packages…
Repository                          | Name      | Version | Category | Status
Updates for openSUSE 11.3 11.3-1.82 | lxsession | 2776    | security | needed




suse:~# zypper patch-check
Loading repository data…
Reading installed packages…
5 patches needed (1 security patch)

To look for a certain package with Zypper (equivalent of yum search packagename)

suse: ~# zypper search apache

To verify whether an RPM installed package dependecies are OK:

suse:~# zypper verify

The equivalent of Fedora yum update command in SuSE (SLES) are:

suse:~# zypper refresh

To force a complete refresh and rebuild of the database, including a forced download of raw metadata.

suse:~# zypper refresh -fdb


For people that are used to ncurses (midnight commander) like text interface you can also use yoast2 (text GUI) package manager:

suse:~# yoast2


If a package is messed you can always go back and use good old RPM (Redhat Package Manager) to solve it.


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Disable php notice logging / stop variable warnings in error.log on Apache / Nginx / Lighttpd

Monday, July 28th, 2014

At one of companies where I administrate few servers, we are in process of optimizing the server performance to stretch out the maximum out of server hardware and save money from unnecessery hardware costs and thus looking for ways to make server performance better.

On couple of web-sites hosted on few of the production servers, administrating, I've noticed dozens of PHP Notice errors, making the error.log quickly grow to Gigabytes and putting useless hard drive I/O overhead. Most of the php notice warnings are caused by unitialized php variables.

I'm aware having an unitialized values is a horrible security hole, however the websites are running fine even though the notice warnings and currently the company doesn't have the necessery programmers resource to further debug and fix all this undefined php vars, thus what happens is monthly a couple of hundreds megabytes of useless same php notice warnings are written in error.log.

That  error.log errors puts an extra hardship for awstats which is later generating server access statistics while generating the 404 errors statistics and thus awstats script has to read and analyze huge files with plenty of records which doesn't have nothing to do with 404 error

We found this PHP Notice warnings logged is one of the things we can optimize had to be disabled.

Here is how this is done:
On the servers running Debian Wheezy stable to disable php notices.

I had to change in /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini error_reporting variable.

Setting was to log everything (including PHP critical errors, warning and notices) like so:

vi /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini

error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_DEPRECATED



On CentOS, RHEL, SuSE based servers, edit instead /etc/php.ini.

This setting makes Apache to only log in error.log critical errors, php core dump (thread) errors and php code compilation (interpretation errors)

To make settings take affect on Debian host Apache webserver:

/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

On CentOS, RHEL Linux, had to restart Apache with:

/etc/init.d/httpd restart

For other servers running Nginx and Lighttpd webservers, after changing php.ini:

service nginx reload
service lighttpd restart

To disable php notices errors only on some websites, where .htaccess enabled, you can use also place in website DocumentRoot .htaccess:

php_value error_reporting 2039

Other way to disable via .htaccess is by adding to it code:

php_flag display_errors off

Also for hosted websites on some of the servers, where .htaccess is disabled, enabling / disabling php notices can be easily triggered by adding following php code to index.php

define('DEBUG', true);

if(DEBUG == true)
    ini_set('display_errors', 'On');
    ini_set('display_errors', 'Off');


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Linux: basic system CPU, Disk and Network resource monitoring via phpsysinfo lightweight script

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014


There are plenty of GNU / Linux softwares to monitor server performance (hard disk space, network and CPU load) and general hardware health both text based for SSH console) and from web.

Just to name a few for console precious tools, such are:

And for web based Linux / Windows server monitoring my favourite tools are:

phpsysinfo is yet another web based Linux monitoring software for small companies or home router use it is perfect for people who don't want to spend time learning how to configure complicated and robust multiple server monitoring software like Nagios or Icanga.

phpsysinfo is quick and dirty way to monitor system uptime, network, disk and memory usage, get information on CPU model, attached IDEs, SCSI devices and PCIs from the web and is perfect for Linux servers already running Apache and PHP.

1. Installing PHPSysInfo on Debian, Ubuntu and deb derivative Linux-es

PHPSysInfo is very convenient and could be prefered instead of above tools for the reason it is available by default in Debian and Ubuntu package repositories and installable via apt-get and it doesn't require any further configuration, to roll it you install you place a config and you forget it.

 # apt-cache show phpsysinfo |grep -i desc -A 2

Description: PHP based host information
 phpSysInfo is a PHP script that displays information about the
 host being accessed.


Installation is a piece of cake:

# apt-get install --yes phpsysinfo

Add phpsysinfo directives to /etc/apache2/conf.d/phpsysinfo.conf to make it accessible via default set Apache vhost domain under /phpsysinfo

Paste in root console:

cat > /etc/apache2/conf.d/phpsysinfo.conf <<-EOF
Alias /phpsysinfo /usr/share/phpsysinfo
<Location /phpsysinfo>
 Options None
 Order deny,allow
 Deny from all
 #Allow from localhost
 #Allow from
 Allow from all


Above config will allow access to /phpsysinfo from any IP on the Internet, this could be a security hole, thus it is always better to either protect it with access .htaccess password login or allow it only from certain IPs, from which you will access it with something like:

Allow from

Then restart Apache server:

# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart


To access phpsysinfo monitoring gathered statistics, access it in a browser


2. Installing PHPSysinfo on CentOS, Fedora and RHEL Linux

Download and untar

# cd /var/www/html
# wget
# tar -zxvf phpsysinfo-3.1.13.tar.gz
# ln -sf phpsysinfo-3.1.13 phpsysinfo
# mv phpsysinfo.ini


Install php php-xml and php-mbstring RPM packages

yum -y install php php-xml php-mbstring

Start Apache web service

[root@ephraim html]# /etc/init.d/httpd restart

[root@ephraim html]# ps ax |grep -i http
 8816 ?        Ss     0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd
 8819 ?        S      0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd


As PhpSysInfo is written in PHP it is also possible to install phpsysinfo on Windows.

phpsysinfo is not the only available simple monitoring server performance remotely tool, if you're looking for a little bit extended information and a better visualization interface alternative to phpsysinfo take a look at linux-dash.

In context of web monitoring other 2 web PHP script tools useful in remote server monitoring are:

OpenStatus – A simple and effective resource and status monitoring script for multiple servers.
LookingGlass – User-friendly PHP Looking Glass (Web interface to use Host (Nslookup), Ping, Mtr – Matt Traceroute)

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Finding spam sending php scripts on multiple sites servers – Tracing and stopping spammer PHP scripts

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Spam has become a severe issue for administrators, not only for mail server admins but also for webshosting adms. Even the most secure spam protected mail server can get affected by spam due to fact it is configured to relay mail from other servers acting as web hosting sites.

Webhosting companies almost always suffer seriously from spam issues and often their mail servers gets blocked (enter spam blacklists), because of their irresponsible clients uploading lets say old vulnerable Joomla, WordPress without Akismet or proper spam handling plugin,a CMS which is not frequently supported / updated or custom client insecure php code.

What I mean is Shared server A is often configured to sent mail via (mail) server B. And often some of the many websites / scripts hosted on server A gets hacked and a spam form is uploaded and tons of spam start being shipped via mail server B.

Of course on mail server level it is possible to configure delay between mail sent and adopt a couple of policies to reduce spam, but the spam protection issue can't be completely solved thus admin of such server is forced to periodically keep an eye on what mail is sent from hosting server to mail server.

If you happen to be one of those Linux (Unix) webhosting admins who find few thousand of spammer emails into mail server logs or your eMail server queue and you can't seem to find what is causing it, cause there are multiple websites shared hosting using mainly PHP + SQL and you can't identify what php script is spamming by reviewing  Apache log / PHP files. What you can do is get use of:

PHP mail.log directive

Precious tool in tracking spam issues is a PHP Mail.log parameter, mail log paramater is available since PHP version >= 5.3.0 and above.
PHP Mail.log parameter records all calls to the PHP mail() function including exact PHP headers, line numbers and path to script initiating mail sent.

Here is how it is used:

1. Create empty PHP Mail.log file

touch /var/log/phpmail.log

File has to be writtable to same user with which Apache is running in case of Apache with SuPHP running file has to be writtable by all users.

On Debian, Ubunut Linux:

chown www:data:www-data /var/log/phpmail.log

On CentOS, RHEL, SuSE phpmail.log has to be owned by httpd:

chown httpd:httpd /var/log/phpmail.log

On some other distros it might be chown nobody:nobody etc. depending on the user with which Apache server is running.


2. Add to php.ini configuration following lines

mail.add_x_header = On
mail.log = /var/log/phpmail.log

PHP directive instructs PHP to log complete outbund Mail header sent by mail() function, containing the UID of the web server or PHP process and the name of the script that sent the email;

(X-PHP-Originating-Script: 33:mailer.php)

i.e. it will make php start logging to phpmail.log stuff like:


mail() on [/var/www/pomoriemonasteryorg/components/com_xmap/2ktdz2.php:1]: To: — Headers: From: "Priority Mail" <status_93@pomoriemon> X-Mailer: MailMagic2.0 Reply-To: "Priority Mail" <> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative;boundary="——
mail() on [/var/www/pomoriemonasteryorg/components/com_xmap/2ktdz2.php:1]: To: — Headers: From: "One Day Shipping" <status_44@pomoriemonastery.
org> X-Mailer: CSMTPConnectionv1.3 Reply-To: "One Day Shipping" <> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative;boundary="—
mail() on [/var/www/pomoriemonasteryorg/components/com_xmap/2ktdz2.php:1]: To: — Headers: From: "Logistics Services" <customer.> X-Mailer: TheBat!(v3.99.27)UNREG Reply-To: "Logistics Services" <> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: mult
mail() on [/var/www/pomoriemonasteryorg/components/com_xmap/2ktdz2.php:1]: To: — Headers: From: "Priority Mail" <status_73@pomoriemonaster> X-Mailer: FastMailer/Webmail(versionSM/1.2.6) Reply-To: "Priority Mail" <> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternativ


On Debian / Ubuntu Linux to enable this logging, exec:

echo 'mail.add_x_header = On' >> /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini
echo 'mail.log = /var/log/phpmail.log' >> /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini

I find it useful to symlink /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini to /etc/php.ini its much easier to remember php location plus it is a standard location for many RPM based distros.

ln -sf /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini /etc/php.ini

Or another "Debian recommended way" to enable mail.add_x_header logging on Debian is via:

echo 'mail.add_x_header = On' >> /etc/php5/conf.d/mail.ini
echo 'mail.log = /var/log/phpmail.log' >> /etc/php5/conf.d/mail.ini

On Redhats (RHEL, CentOS, SuSE) Linux issue:

echo 'mail.add_x_header = On' >> /etc/php.ini
echo 'mail.log = /var/log/phpmail.log' >> /etc/php.ini

3. Restart Apache

On Debian / Ubuntu based linuces:

/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

P.S. Normally to restart Apache without interrupting client connections graceful option can be used, i.e. instead of restarting do:

/etc/init.d/apache2 graceful

On RPM baed CentOS, Fedora etc.:

/sbin/service httpd restart


apachectl graceful

4. Reading the log

To review in real time exact PHP scripts sending tons of spam tail it:

tail -f /var/log/phpmail.log


mail() on [/var/www/remote-admin/wp-includes/class-phpmailer.php:489]: To: — Headers: Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 03:27:23 +0000 Return-Path: From: WordPress Message-ID: X-Priority: 3 X-Mailer: PHPMailer ( [version 2.0.4] MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
mail() on [/var/www/pomoriemonasteryorg/media/rsinstall_4de38d919da01/admin/js/tiny_mce/plugins/inlinepopups/skins/.3a1a1c.php:1]: To: — Headers: From: "Manager Elijah Castillo" <> X-Mailer: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; es-ES; rv: Gecko/20100111 Thunderbird/3.0.1 Reply-To: "Manager Elijah Castillo" <> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative;boundary="———-1397463670534B9A76017CC"
mail() on [/var/www/pomoriemonasteryorg/media/rsinstall_4de38d919da01/admin/js/tiny_mce/plugins/inlinepopups/skins/.3a1a1c.php:1]: To: — Headers: From: "Manager Justin Murphy" <> X-Mailer: Opera Mail/10.62 (Win32) Reply-To: "Manager Justin Murphy" <> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative;boundary="———-1397463670534B9A7603ED6"
mail() on [/var/www/pomoriemonasteryorg/media/rsinstall_4de38d919da01/admin/js/tiny_mce/plugins/inlinepopups/skins/.3a1a1c.php:1]: To: — Headers: From: "Manager Elijah Castillo" <> X-Mailer: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.5; pl; rv: Gecko/20100317 Thunderbird/3.0.4 Reply-To: "Manager Elijah Castillo" <> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative;boundary="———-1397463670534B9A7606308"
mail() on [/var/www/pomoriemonasteryorg/media/rsinstall_4de38d919da01/admin/js/tiny_mce/plugins/inlinepopups/skins/.3a1a1c.php:1]: To: — Headers: From: "Manager Justin Murphy" <> X-Mailer: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.5; pl; rv: Gecko/20100317 Thunderbird/3.0.4 Reply-To: "Manager Justin Murphy" <> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative;boundary="———-1397463670534B9A76086D1"


As you can see there is a junky spam mails sent via some spammer script uploaded under name .3a1a1c.php, so to stop the dirty bastard, deleted the script:

rm -f /var/www/pomoriemonasteryorg/media/rsinstall_4de38d919da01/admin/js/tiny_mce/plugins/inlinepopups/skins/.3a1a1c.php

It is generally useful to also check (search) for all hidden .php files inside directoring storing multiple virtualhost websites, as often a weirdly named hidden .php is sure indicator of either a PHP Shell script kiddie tool or a spammer form.

Here is how to Find all Hidden Perl / PHP scripts inside /var/www:

find . -iname '.*.php'

find . -iname '.*.pl*'


Reviewing complete list of all hidden files is also often useful to determine shitty cracker stuff

 find . -iname ".*"

Debugging via  /var/log/phpmail.log enablement is useful but is more recommended on development and staging (QA) environments. Having it enable on productive server with high amounts of mail sent via PHP scripts or just on dedicated shared site server could cause both performance issues, hard disk could quickly get and most importantly could be a severe security hole as information from PHP scripts could be potentially exposed to external parties.

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How to completely disable Replication in MySQL server 5.1.61 on Debian GNU / Linux

Monday, July 16th, 2012


Some time ago on one of the Database MySQL servers, I've configured replication as it was required to test somethings. Eventually it turned out replication will be not used (for some reason) it was too slow and not fitting our company needs hence we needed to disable it.

It seemed logical to me that, simply removing any replication related directives from my.cnf and a restart of the SQL server will be enough to turn replication off on the Debian Linux host. Therefore I proceeded removed all replication configs from /etc/my/my.cnf and issued MySQL restart i. e.:

sql-server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql restart

This however didn't turned off replication,as I thought and in phpmyadminweb frontend interface, replication was still appearing to be active in the replication tab.

Something was still making the SQL server still act as an Replication Slave Host, so after a bit of pondering and trying to remember, the exact steps I took to make the replication work on the host I remembered that actually I issued:


Onwards I run:


and found in the database the server was still running in Slave Replication mode

Hence to turn off the db host run as a Slave, I had to issue in mysql cli:

mysql> STOP SLAVE;
Query OK, 0 rows affected, 1 warning (0.01 sec)
Query OK, 0 rows affected, 1 warning (0.01 sec)

Then after a reload of SQL server in memory, the host finally stopped working as a Slave Replication host, e.g.

sql-server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql restart

After the restart, to re-assure myself the SQL server is no more set to run as MySQL replication Slave host:

Empty set (0.00 sec)

Cheers 😉

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