Posts Tagged ‘download’

How to install and use memcached on Debian GNU / Linux to share php sessions between DNS round robined Apache webservers

Monday, November 9th, 2020

Reading Time: 8minutes


Recently I had to come up with a solution to make A bunch of websites hosted on a machine to be high available. For the task haproxy is one of logical options to use. However as I didn't wanted to set new IP addresses and play around to build a cluster. I decided the much more simplistic approach to use 2 separate Machines each running Up-to-date same version of Apache Webserver as front end and using a shared data running on Master-to-Master MySQL replication database as a backend. For the load balancing itself I've used a simple 2 multiple DNS 'A' Active records, configured via the Bind DNS name server an Round Robin DNS load balancing for each of the domains, to make them point to the the 2 Internet IP addresses (XXX.XXX.XXX.4 and YYY.YYY.YYY.5) each configured on the 2 Linux servers eth0.

So far so good, this setup worked but immediately, I've run another issue as I found out the WordPress and Joomla based websites's PHP sessions are lost, as the connectivity by the remote client browser reaches one time on XXX…4 and one time on YYY…4 configured listerner on TCP port 80 and TCP p. 443. In other words if request comes up to Front end Apache worker webserver 1 with opened channel data is sent back to Client Browser and the next request is sent due to the other IP resolved by the DNS server to come to Apache worker webserver 2 of course webserver 2 has no idea about this previous session data and it gets confused and returns soemething like a 404 or 500 or any other error … not exciting really huh …

I've thought about work around and as I didn't wanted to involve thirty party stuff as Privoxy / Squid  / Varnish / Polipo etc. just as that would add extra complexity as if I choose to use haproxy from the beginning, after short investigation came to a reason to use memcached as a central PHP sessions storage.


Why I choose memcached ?

Well it is relatively easy to configure, it doesn't come with mambo-jambo unreadable over-complicated configuration and the time to configure everything is really little as well as the configuration is much straight forward, plus I don't need to occupy more IP addresses and I don't need to do any changes to the already running 2 WebServers on 2 separate Linux hosts configured to be reachable from the Internet.
Of course using memcached is not a rock solid and not the best solution out there, as there is risk that if a memcached dies out for some reason all sessions stored in are lost as they're stored only in volatile memory, as well as there is a drawback that if a communication was done via one of the 2 webservers and one of them goes down sessions that were known by one of Apache's workers disappears.

So let me proceed and explain you the steps to take to configure memcached as a central session storage system.

1. Install memcached and php-memcached packages

To enable support for memcached besides installing memcached daemon, you need to have the php-memcached which will provide the used by Apache loaded php script interpretter module.

On a Debian / Ubuntu and other deb based GNU / Linux it should be:

webserver1:~# apt-get install memcached php-memcached

TO use php-memcached I assume Apache and its support for PHP is already installed with lets say:

webserver1:~# apt-get install php libapache2-mod-php php-mcrypt

On CentOS / RHEL / Fedora Linux it is a little bit more complicated as you'll need to install php-pear and compile the module with pecl


[root@centos ~]# yum install php-pear

[root@centos ~]# yum install php-pecl-memcache

Compile memcache

[root@centos ~]# pecl install memcache


2. Test if memcached is properly loaded in PHP

Once installed lets check if memcached service is running and memcached support is loaded as module into PHP core.


webserver1:~# ps -efa  | egrep memcached
nobody   14443     1  0 Oct23 ?        00:04:34 /usr/bin/memcached -v -m 64 -p 11211 -u nobody -l -l

root@webserver1:/# php -m | egrep memcache

To get a bit more verbose information on memcache version and few of memcached variable settings:

root@webserver1:/# php -i |grep -i memcache
memcached support => enabled
libmemcached version => 1.0.18
memcached.compression_factor => 1.3 => 1.3
memcached.compression_threshold => 2000 => 2000
memcached.compression_type => fastlz => fastlz
memcached.default_binary_protocol => Off => Off
memcached.default_connect_timeout => 0 => 0
memcached.default_consistent_hash => Off => Off
memcached.serializer => php => php
memcached.sess_binary_protocol => On => On
memcached.sess_connect_timeout => 0 => 0
memcached.sess_consistent_hash => On => On
memcached.sess_consistent_hash_type => ketama => ketama
memcached.sess_lock_expire => 0 => 0
memcached.sess_lock_max_wait => not set => not set
memcached.sess_lock_retries => 5 => 5
memcached.sess_lock_wait => not set => not set
memcached.sess_lock_wait_max => 150 => 150
memcached.sess_lock_wait_min => 150 => 150
memcached.sess_locking => On => On
memcached.sess_number_of_replicas => 0 => 0
memcached.sess_persistent => Off => Off
memcached.sess_prefix => memc.sess.key. => memc.sess.key.
memcached.sess_randomize_replica_read => Off => Off
memcached.sess_remove_failed_servers => Off => Off
memcached.sess_sasl_password => no value => no value
memcached.sess_sasl_username => no value => no value
memcached.sess_server_failure_limit => 0 => 0
memcached.store_retry_count => 2 => 2
Registered save handlers => files user memcached

Make sure /etc/default/memcached (on Debian is enabled) on CentOS / RHELs this should be /etc/sysconfig/memcached

webserver1:~# cat default/memcached 
# Set this to no to disable memcached.

As assured on server1 memcached + php is ready to be used, next login to Linux server 2 and repeat the same steps install memcached and the module and check it is showing as loaded.

Next place under some of your webservers hosted websites under check_memcached.php below PHP code

if (class_exists('Memcache')) {
    $server = 'localhost';
    if (!empty($_REQUEST[‘server’])) {
        $server = $_REQUEST[‘server’];
    $memcache = new Memcache;
    $isMemcacheAvailable = @$memcache->connect($server);

    if ($isMemcacheAvailable) {
        $aData = $memcache->get('data');
        echo '<pre>';
        if ($aData) {
            echo '<h2>Data from Cache:</h2>';
        } else {
            $aData = array(
                'me' => 'you',
                'us' => 'them',
            echo '<h2>Fresh Data:</h2>';
            $memcache->set('data', $aData, 0, 300);
        $aData = $memcache->get('data');
        if ($aData) {
            echo '<h3>Memcache seem to be working fine!</h3>';
        } else {
            echo '<h3>Memcache DOES NOT seem to be working!</h3>';
        echo '</pre>';

if (!$isMemcacheAvailable) {
    echo 'Memcache not available';


Launch in a browser, the browser output should be as on below screenshot:


3. Configure memcached daemons on both nodes

All we need to set up is the listen IPv4 addresses

On Host Webserver1
You should have in /etc/memcached.conf


webserver1:~# grep -Ei '\-l' /etc/memcached.conf 

On Host Webserver2



webserver2:~# grep -Ei '\-l' /etc/memcached.conf


4. Configure memcached in php.ini

Edit config /etc/php.ini (on CentOS / RHEL) or on Debians / Ubuntus etc. modify /etc/php/*/apache2/php.ini (where depending on the PHP version you're using your php location could be different lets say /etc/php/5.6/apache2/php.ini):

If you wonder where is the php.ini config in your case you can usually get it from the php cli:

webserver1:~# php -i | grep "php.ini"
Configuration File (php.ini) Path => /etc/php/7.4/cli
Loaded Configuration File => /etc/php/7.4/cli/php.ini


! Note: That on on PHP-FPM installations (where FastCGI Process Manager) is handling PHP requests,path would be rather something like:


in php.ini you need to change as minimum below 2 variables

session.save_handler =
session.save_path =

By default session.save_path would be set to lets say session.save_path = "


To make php use a 2 central configured memcached servers on webserver1 and webserver2 or even more memcached configured machines set it to look as so:


Also modify set

session.save_handler = memcache

Overall changed php.ini configuration on Linux machine 1 ( webserver1 ) and Linux machine 2 ( webserver2 ) should be:

session.save_handler = memcache


Below is approximately how it should look on both :

webserver1: ~# grep -Ei 'session.save_handler|session.save_path' /etc/php.ini
;; session.save_handler = files
session.save_handler = memcache
;     session.save_path = "N;/path"
;     session.save_path = "N;MODE;/path"
;session.save_path = "/var/lib/php7/sessions"
;       (see session.save_path above), then garbage collection does *not*


webserver2: ~# grep -Ei 'session.save_handler|session.save_path' /etc/php.ini
;; session.save_handler = files
session.save_handler = memcache
;     session.save_path = "N;/path"
;     session.save_path = "N;MODE;/path"
;session.save_path = "/var/lib/php7/sessions"
;       (see session.save_path above), then garbage collection does *not*

As you can see I have configured memcached on webserver1 to listen on internal local LAN IP and on Local LAN eth iface on TCP port 11211 (this is the default memcached connections listen port), for security or obscurity reasons you might choose another empty one. Make sure to also set the proper firewalling to that port, the best is to enable connections only between and on each of machine 1 and machine 2.


5. Enable Memcached for session redundancy

Next step is to configure memcached to allow failover (e.g. use both memcached on 2 linux hosts) and configure session redundancy.
Configure /etc/php/7.3/mods-available/memcache.ini or /etc/php5/mods-available/memcache.ini or respectively to the right location depending on the PHP installed and used webservers version.

webserver1 :~#  vim /etc/php/7.3/mods-available/memcache.ini

; configuration for php memcached module
; priority=20
; settings to write sessions to both servers and have fail over


webserver2 :~# vim /etc/php/7.3/mods-available/memcache.ini

; configuration for php memcached module
; priority=20
; settings to write sessions to both servers and have fail over


memcache.session_redundancy directive must be equal to the number of memcached servers + 1 for the session information to be replicated to all the servers. This is due to a bug in PHP.
I have only 2 memcached configured that's why I set it to 3.

6. Restart Apache Webservers

Restart on both machines webserver1 and webserver2 Apache to make php load

webserver1:~# systemctl restart httpd

webserver2:~# systemctl restart httpd


7. Restart memcached on machine 1 and 2


webserver1 :~# systemctl restart memcached

webserver2 :~# systemctl restart memcached


8. Test php sessions are working as expected with a php script

Copy to both website locations to accessible URL a file test_sessions.php:


echo "Sessions is ".$_SESSION[‘georgi’]."!\n";
echo "Session ID: ".session_id()."\n";
echo "Session Name: ".session_name()."\n";
echo "Setting 'georgi' to 'cool'\n";


Now run the test to see PHP sessions are kept persistently:

hipo@jeremiah:~/Desktop $ curl -vL -s 2>&1 | grep 'Set-Cookie:'
< Set-Cookie: PHPSESSID=micir464cplbdfpo36n3qi9hd3; expires=Tue, 10-Nov-2020 12:14:32 GMT; Max-Age=86400; path=/

hipo@jeremiah:~/Desktop $ curl -L –cookie "PHPSESSID=micir464cplbdfpo36n3qi9hd3"
Session is cool!
Session is cool!


Copy to the locations that is resolving to both DNS servers some sample php script such as sessions_test.php  with below content:

    header('Content-Type: text/plain');
        echo "This is the first time you're visiting this server\n";
        $_SESSION[‘visit’] = 0;
            echo "Your number of visits: ".$_SESSION[‘visit’] . "\n";


    echo "Server IP: ".$_SERVER[‘SERVER_ADDR’] . "\n";
    echo "Client IP: ".$_SERVER[‘REMOTE_ADDR’] . "\n";

Test in a Web Opera / Firefox / Chrome browser.

You should get an output in the browser similar to:

Your number of visits: 15
Server IP:
Client IP:
    [_ga] => GA1.2.651288003.1538922937
    [__utma] => 238407297.651288003.1538922937.1601730730.1601759984.45
    [__utmz] => 238407297.1571087583.28.4.utmcsr=google|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=(not provided)
    [shellInABox] => 467306938:1110101010
    [fpestid] => EzkIzv_9OWmR9PxhUM8HEKoV3fbOri1iAiHesU7T4Pso4Mbi7Gtt9L1vlChtkli5GVDKtg
    [__gads] => ID=8a1e445d88889784-22302f2c01b9005b:T=1603219663:RT=1603219663:S=ALNI_MZ6L4IIaIBcwaeCk_KNwmL3df3Z2g
    [PHPSESSID] => mgpk1ivhvfc2d0daq08e0p0ec5

If you want to test php sessions are working with text browser or from another external script for automation use something as below PHP code:

// save as "session_test.php" inside your webspace  
ini_set('display_errors', 'On');


$sessionSavePath = ini_get('session.save_path');

echo '<br><div style="background:#def;padding:6px">'
   , 'If a session could be started successfully <b>you should'
   , ' not see any Warning(s)</b>, otherwise check the path/folder'
   , ' mentioned in the warning(s) for proper access rights.<hr>';
echo "WebServer IP:" . $_SERVER[‘SERVER_ADDR’] . "\n<br />";
if (empty($sessionSavePath)) {
    echo 'A "<b>session.save_path</b>" is currently',
         ' <b>not</b> set.<br>Normally "<b>';
    if (isset($_ENV[‘TMP’])) {
        echo  $_ENV[‘TMP’], ‘” ($_ENV[“TMP”]) ';
    } else {
        echo '/tmp</b>" or "<b>C:\tmp</b>" (or whatever',
             ' the OS default "TMP" folder is set to)';
    echo ' is used in this case.';
} else {
    echo 'The current "session.save_path" is "<b>',
         $sessionSavePath, '</b>".';

echo '<br>Session file name: "<b>sess_', session_id()
   , '</b>".</div><br>';

You can download the test_php_sessions.php script here.

To test with lynx:

hipo@jeremiah:~/Desktop $ lynx -source ''
<br><div style="background:#def;padding:6px">If a session could be started successfully <b>you should not see any Warning(s)</b>, otherwise check the path/folder mentioned in the warning(s) for proper access rights.<hr>WebServer IP:
<br />The current "session.save_path" is "<b>tcp://, tcp://</b>".<br>Session file name: "<b>sess_5h18f809b88isf8vileudgrl40</b>".</div><br>

Check server Internet connectivity Speedtest from Linux terminal CLI

Friday, August 7th, 2020
Reading Time: 6minutes


If you are a system administrator of a dedicated server and you have no access to Xserver Graphical GNOME / KDE etc. environment and you wonder how you can track the bandwidth connectivity speed of remote system to the internet and you happen to have a modern Linux distribution, here is few ways to do a speedtest.

1. Use speedtest-cli command line tool to test connectivity


speedtest-cli is a tiny tool written in python, to use it hence you need to have python installed on the server.
It is available both for Redhat Linux distros and Debians / Ubuntus etc. in the list of standard installable packages.

a) Install speedtest-cli on Fedora / CentOS / RHEL

On CentOS / RHEL / Scientific Linux lower than ver 8:



$ sudo yum install python

On CentOS 8 / RHEL 8 user type the following command to install Python 3 or 2:



$sudo yum install python3
$ sudo yum install python2




On Fedora Linux version 22+



$ sudo dnf install python
$ sudo dnf install pytho3


Once python is at place download or in case if link is not reachable download mirrored version of on here



$ wget -O speedtest-cli
$ chmod +x speedtest-cli


Then it is time to run script speedtest-screenshot-linux-terminal-console-cli-cmd
To test enabled Bandwidth on the server



$ python speedtest-cli

b) Install speedtest-cli on Debian

On Latest Debian 10 Buster speedtest is available out of the box in regular .deb repositories, so fetch it with apt


# apt install –yes speedtest-cli


You can give now speedtest-cli a try with –bytes arguments to get speed values in bytes instead of bitsor if you want to generate an image with test results in picture just like it will appear if you use inside a gui browser, use the –share option





2. Getting connectivity results of all defined speedtest test City Locations

Speedtest has a list of servers through which a Upload and Download speed is tested, to run speedtest-cli to test with each and every server and get a better picture on what kind of connectivity to expect from your server towards the closest region capital cities, fetch speedtest-servers.php list and use a small shell loop below is how:






root@pcfreak:~#  wget
–2020-08-07 16:31:34–
Преобразувам (…,,, …
Connecting to (||:80… успешно свързване.
HTTP изпратено искане, чакам отговор… 301 Moved Permanently
Адрес: [следва]
–2020-08-07 16:31:34–
Connecting to (||:443… успешно свързване.
HTTP изпратено искане, чакам отговор… 307 Temporary Redirect
Адрес: [следва]
–2020-08-07 16:31:35–
Преобразувам (…
Connecting to (||:443… успешно свързване.
HTTP изпратено искане, чакам отговор… 200 OK
Дължина: 211695 (207K) [text/xml]
Saving to: ‘speedtest-servers.php’
speedtest-servers.php                  100%[==========================================================================>] 206,73K  –.-KB/s    in 0,1s
2020-08-07 16:31:35 (1,75 MB/s) – ‘speedtest-servers.php’ saved [211695/211695]

Once file is there with below loop we extract all file defined servers id="" 's 

root@pcfreak:~# for i in $(cat speedtest-servers.php | egrep -Eo 'id="[0-9]{4}"' |sed -e 's#id="##' -e 's#"##g'); do speedtest-cli  –server $i; done
Retrieving configuration…
Testing from Vivacom (…
Retrieving server list…
Retrieving information for the selected server…
Hosted by Telecoms Ltd. (Varna) [38.88 km]: 25.947 ms
Testing download speed……………………………………………………………………..
Download: 57.71 Mbit/s
Testing upload speed…………………………………………………………………………………………
Upload: 93.85 Mbit/s
Retrieving configuration…
Testing from Vivacom (…
Retrieving server list…
Retrieving information for the selected server…
Hosted by GMB Computers (Constanta) [94.03 km]: 80.247 ms
Testing download speed……………………………………………………………………..
Download: 35.86 Mbit/s
Testing upload speed…………………………………………………………………………………………
Upload: 80.15 Mbit/s
Retrieving configuration…
Testing from Vivacom (…




For better readability you might want to add the ouput to a file or even put it to run periodically on a cron if you have some suspcion that your server Internet dedicated lines dies out to some general locations sometimes.

3. Testing UPlink speed with Download some big file from source location

In the past a classical way to test the bandwidth connectivity of your Internet Service Provider was to fetch some big file, Linux guys should remember it was almost a standard to roll a download of Linux kernel source .tar file with some test browser as elinks / lynx / w3c.
or if those are not at hand test connectivity on remote free shell servers whatever file downloader as wget or curl was used.
Analogical method is still possible, for example to use wget to get an idea about bandwidtch connectivity, let it roll below 500 mb from to /dev/null few times:


$ wget –output-document=/dev/null

$ wget –output-document=/dev/null

$ wget –output-document=/dev/null


# wget -O /dev/null –progress=dot:mega ; date
–2020-08-07 13:56:49–
Resolving (…
Connecting to (||:80… connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 200 OK
Length: 10485760 (10M) [application/octet-stream]
Saving to: ‘/dev/null’

     0K …….. …….. …….. …….. …….. …….. 30%  142M 0s
  3072K …….. …….. …….. …….. …….. …….. 60%  179M 0s
  6144K …….. …….. …….. …….. …….. …….. 90%  204M 0s
  9216K …….. ……..                                    100%  197M=0.06s

2020-08-07 13:56:50 (173 MB/s) – ‘/dev/null’ saved [10485760/10485760]

Fri 07 Aug 2020 01:56:50 PM UTC

To be sure you have a real picture on remote machine Internet speed it is always a good idea to run download of random big files on a certain locations that are well known to have a very stable Internet bandwidth to the Internet backbone routers.

4. Using Simple shell script to test Internet speed

Fetch and use


wget && chmod u+x && bash



5. Using iperf to test connectivity between two servers 


iperf is another good tool worthy to mention that can be used to test the speed between client and server.

To use iperf install it with apt and do on the server machine to which bandwidth will be tested:


# iperf -s 


On the client machine do:


# iperf -c 


where is the IP of the server where iperf was spawned to listen.

6. Using Netflix fast to determine Internet connection speed on host


fast is a service provided by Netflix. Its web interface is located at and it has a command-line interface available through npm (npm is a package manager for nodejs) so if you don't have it you will have to install it first with:

# apt install –yes npm


Note that if you run on Debian this will install you some 249 new nodejs packages which you might not want to have on the system, so this is useful only for machines that has already use of nodejs.


$ fast


     82 Mbps ↓

The command returns your Internet download speed. To get your upload speed, use the -u flag:


$ fast -u


   ⠧ 80 Mbps ↓ / 8.2 Mbps ↑


7. Use speedometer / iftop to measure incoming and outgoing traffic on interface

If you're measuring connectivity on a live production server system, then you might consider that the measurement output might not be exactly correct especially if you're measuring the Uplink / Downlink on a Heavy loaded webserver / Mail Server / Samba or DNS server.
If this is the case a very useful tools to consider to extract the already taken traffic used on your Incoming and Outgoing ( TX / RX ) Network interfaces
are speedometer and iftop, they're present and installable depending on the OS via yum / apt or the respective package manager.


To install on Debian server:




# apt install –yes iftop speedometer


The most basic use to check the live received traffic in a nice Ncurses like text graphic is with: 





# speedometer -r 


To generate real time ASCII art graph on RX / TX traffic do:



# speedometer -r eth0 -t eth0






# iftop -P -i eth0









How to configure VIVACOM 3g USB ( internet ) modem HUAWEI Mobile broadband E173 on Debian and Ubuntu GNU / Linux

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Reading Time: 5minutes


I've been given a HUAWEI Mobile Broadband E173 USB 3g model. The USB modem contains a flash USB Storage segment storing a little install program dedicated to make the modem work fine on Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / 7 and probably other M$ OSes. I'm a long time DebianGNU / Linux user and as a free software enthusiast I ofcourse wanted to be able to use Vivacom's 3G USB Modem on my Linux powered notebook.

Thanksfully as I've red on Vivacom's website the modem supports Linux OS 🙂

For those unaware in Bulgaria there are currently 3 major GSM network providers providing 3G internet this are;;;

  • VIVACOM – The ex Government ran national company BTC (Bulgarian Telecommunication Company)
  • M-Tel – The first GSM network provider that entered Bulgaria around year 1995
  • GLOBUL – The 3rd and last GSM mobile and net provider entered last and not so much used by Bulgarians today

Until today I had no experience in running any 3G modems on Linux, neither I had used the 3 networks 3G internet to determine which one is best, however I've been given for temporal use a VIVACOM 3G internet modem today so I proceeded to try installing it on my Debian host.

My Linux system is a bit strangely configured as I use wicd network connection manager -( wicd-gtk ) to manage wireless and LAN connections instead of the standard installed GNOME network manager – available through package ( network-manager-gnome ).

The reason I use wicd is not that it is so much better than GNOME network manger but rather for historical reasons because few years past I had impression it works better in connecting me to wireless networks. Another reason why I choosed wicd back then was the nice looking stats …

I tried plugging in the Vivacom USB 3G modem stick and checked in wicd to see if I can see a possibility to connect to the mobile opeartor 3G network but unfortunately nothing appeared.

Though the 3G adsl modem was unavailable straing in wicd, checking about it in the list of attached USB devices I could see it detected, e.g.:

noah:~# lsusb |grep -i huawei
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 12d1:1c05 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

This was at least a good sign pointing me to the thoughts that the modem is probably gonna work.

I did a quick Google search to see if other people succeded running the device on a Linux host and came across a few blog posts in Bulgarian explaining a "success story" on Ubuntu Linux through using a tweakened shell script – sakis3g. For more on how the script works and script download check out Sakis3g

Here is a quote from sakis3g's website describing the script:

It automagically setups your USB or Bluetooth™ modem, and may even detect operator settings.
You should try it when anything else fails!

Sakis3g has different versions designed for for plenty of spacific hware architectures i.e. for (i386, amd64, armv4t, armv5t).
There is also a version of the script which by the way contains a combination of bash shell scripting instruction and some binary exec data.

To run sakis3g on my laptop I did:

1. Download sakis3g

My notebook architecture is 64 bit so I download and used the amd64 version of the script;;;

hipo@noah:~$ mkdir sakis3g
hipo@noah:~$ cd sakis3g
hipo@noah:~/sakis3g$ wget

I've made also a mirror of sakis3g i386, 64 bit and all architecture the mirrors just in case it disappears in future. The mirror versions of sakis3g are here:

a. sakis3g i386b. sakis3g amd64c. sakis3g all architectures source

2. Unarchive and make it executable

After downloading it as it is in gzip I had to do the usual de-gzipping and making the file executable;;;

hipo@noah:~/sakis3g$ /bin/gzip -d sakis3g.gz
hipo@noah:~/sakis3g$ chmod +x sakis3g

The script is then ready to run by either clicking twice on it or (as I prefer for debugging reasons to run it in terminal):

hipo@noah:~$ ./sakis3g

Something that I have wondered a bit was the dialog where I had to fill in some data of some variable APN abbreviation for – (Access Point Name)

The APN host for VIVACOM mobile internet is;;;

I've used the Windows configuration progrma to gather also the following data that I thought might be important for configuring the 3G adsl modem on the Linux host;;;

Auth: *99#

Here are all the configuration screenshots I've taken from sakis3g and all the data that I filled in.
Next the following tiny window appeared on screen:

Sakis3g configure usb modem kdialog shot 1VIVACOM USB Modem Sakis 3g Shot 2sakis 3g usb modem vivacom connect screenshot 2vivacom 3g modem linux sakis3g enter pin dialog shot 4Sending pin screenshot 5 sakis3gAPN Dialog sakis3g screenshot 6sakis3g Internet Linux VIVACOM screenshot 7sakis3g Debian GNU Linux VIVACOM 3g Internet screenshot 8sakis3g initializing modem screenshot 9sakis3g successful connect to VIVACOM mobile 3g usb adls modem shot 10

Well that's all folks, now sakis3g succesfully connected to the I_net via an (PPP) VPN connection tunnel here is data from ifconfig command showing the succesful 3G connection to VIVACOM;;;

noah:~# /sbin/ifconfig ppp0
ppp0 Link encap:Point-to-Point Protocol
inet addr: P-t-P: Mask:
RX packets:2066 errors:1 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:1609 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:3
RX bytes:2232058 (2.1 MiB) TX bytes:341693 (333.6 KiB)

The internet via the 3G connection is not blazing fast but good enough to check your mail or read some webpages. VIVACOM currently has different (traffic limited packages) for their 3G internet, I'm not sure which package exactly is the 3G USB stick modem but probably the "quick" internet connection that is now would slow down once the traffic limit is reached …
Hope this post helps someone to configure 3G internet on VIVACOM in Debian and Ubuntu Linux. Though I've tested sakis3g on Debian it should work with no hassles on any other GNU Linux distribution that has bash installed.

Optimizing Linux TCP/IP Networking to increase Linux Servers Performance

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Reading Time: 3minutes


Some time ago I thought of ways to optimize my Linux Servers network performance.

Even though there are plenty of nice articles on the topic on how to better optimize Linux server performance by tunning up the kernel sysctl (variables).

Many of the articles I found was not structed in enough understandable way so I decided togoogle around and  found few interesting websites which gives a good overview on how one can speed up a bit and decrease overall server loads by simply tuning few basic kernel sysctl variables.

Below article is a product of my research on the topic on how to increase my GNU / Linux servers performance which are mostly running LAMP (Linux / Apache / MySQL / PHP) together with Qmail mail servers.

The article is focusing on Networking as networking is usual bottleneck for performance.
Below are the variables I found useful for optimizing the Linux kernel Network stack.

Implementing the variables might reduce your server load or if not decrease server load times and CPU utilization, they would at lease increase thoroughput so more users will be able to access your servers with (hopefully) less interruptions.
That of course would save you some Hardware costs and raise up your Servers efficiency.

Here are the variables themselves and some good example:

# = 0 ( Turn off IP Forwarding )

net.ipv4.conf.default.rp_filter = 1

# ( Control Source route verification )
net.ipv4.conf.default.accept_redirects = 0

# ( Disable ICMP redirects )
net.ipv4.conf.all.accept_redirects = 0 ( same as above )
net.ipv4.conf.default.accept_source_route = 0

# ( Disable IP source routing )
net.ipv4.conf.all.accept_source_route = 0
( - || - )net.ipv4.tcp_fin_timeout = 40

# ( Decrease FIN timeout ) - Useful on busy/high load
serversnet.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time = 4000 ( keepalive tcp timeout )
net.core.rmem_default = 786426 - Receive memory stack size ( a good idea to increase it if your server receives big files )
net.ipv4.tcp_rmem = "4096 87380 4194304"
net.core.wmem_default = 8388608 ( Reserved Memory per connection )
net.core.wmem_max = 8388608
net.core.optmem_max = 40960
( maximum amount of option memory buffers )

# like a homework investigate by yourself what the variables below stand for :)
net.ipv4.tcp_max_tw_buckets = 360000
net.ipv4.tcp_reordering = 5
net.core.hot_list_length = 256
net.core.netdev_max_backlog = 1024


# Below are newly added experimental
#net.core.rmem_max = 16777216
#net.core.wmem_max = 16777216
##kernel.msgmni = 1024
##kernel.sem = 250 256000 32 1024


Also a good sysctl.conf file which one might want to substitite or use as a skele for some productive server is ready for download here

Even if you can't reap out great CPU reduction benefits from integrating above values or similar ones, your overall LAMP performance to end customers should increase – at some occasions dramatically, at others little bit but still noticable.

If you're unsure on exact kernel variable values to use check yourself what should be the best values that fits you according to your server Hardware – usually this is done by experimenting and reading the kernel documentation as provided for each one of uplisted variables.

Above sysctl.conf is natively created to run on Debian and on other distributions like CentOS, Fedora Slackware some values might either require slight modifications.

Hope this helps and gives you some idea of how network optimization in Linux is usually done. Happy (hacking) tweakening !

Configuring server running both OpenSSHD and Apache to be accessed via HTTPS

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Reading Time: < 1minute

I wanted to make this machine accessible for both me and others also with a simple browser,
I was thinking about configuring this on pc-freak since some time now.
It took me a while until I found a program that does this for me, anyhow luckily I found it.
It’s called webshell and is working pretty well. Check out the home page of WebShell for download and more info on it. I’ve succesfully installed it on FreeBSD 7.2.
All that is needed for the program to operate is python 2.3 or higher and python openssl (this is optional),
however most people would desire to have the service running over SSL thus this is mandatory.
On my FreeBSD box I had to install:
the port/package py26-openssl and subversion (this is a prerequirement in order to download the source via svn)
It also necessery to modify the and change the shebang's location pointing to python
in freebsd that is:

#!/usr/local/bin/python and not #!/usr/bin/python

as in linux.
Then I copied the downloaded source to /usr/local/web-shell/webshell as well as add recordto rc.local

# echo "/usr/local/web-shell/ -d" >> /etc/rc.local The last thing I did was manually start the daemon with:
# /usr/local/web-shell/ -d

Tadam, it's up and running accessing it is as simple as pointing the browser
to a domain name or ip on which the python service is running
Currently the running webshell for pc-freak can be accessed via

Mount remote Linux SSHFS Filesystem harddisk on Windows Explorer SWISH SSHFS file mounter and a short evaluation on what is available to copy files to SSHFS from Windows PC

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Reading Time: 6minutes


I'm forced to use Windows on my workbook and I found it really irritating, that I can't easily share files in a DropBox, Google Drive, MS OneDrive, Amazon Storage or other cloud-storage free remote service. etc.
I don't want to use DropBox like non self-hosted Data storage because I want to keep my data private and therefore the only and best option for me was to make possible share my Linux harddisk storage
dir remotely to the Windows notebook.

I didn't wanted to setup some complex environment such asSamba Share Server (which used to be often a common option to share file from Linux server to Windows), neither wanted to bother with  installing FTP service and bother with FTP clients, or configuring some other complex stuff such as WebDav – which BTW is an accepted and heavily used solution across corporate clients to access read / write files on a remote Linux servers.
Hence, I made a quick researchwhat else besides could be used to easily share files and data from Windows PC / notebook to a home brew or professional hosting Linux server.

It turned out, there are few of softwares that gives a similar possibility for a home lan small network Linux / Windows hybrid network users such, here is few of the many:

  • SyncThingSyncthing is an open-source file synchronization client/server application, written in Go, implementing its own, equally free Block Exchange Protocol. The source code's content-management repository is hosted on GitHub







  • OwnCloud – ownCloud provides universal access to your files via the web, your computer or your mobile devices







  • Seafile – Seafile is a file hosting software system. Files are stored on a central server and can be synchronized with personal computers and mobile devices via the Seafile client. Files can also be accessed via the server's web interface


I've checked all of them and give a quick try ofSyncthingwhich is really easy to start, just download the binary launch it and configure it under https://Localhost:8385 URL from a browser on the Linux server.
Syncthing seemed to be nice and easy to configure solution to be able to Sync files between Server A (Windows) and Server B(Linux) and guess many would enjoy it, if you want to give it a try you can follow this short install syncthing article.
However what I didsliked in both SyncThing and OwnCloud and Seafile and all of the other Sync file solutions was, they only supported synchronization via web and didn't seemed to have a Windows Explorer integration and did required
the server to run more services, posing another security hole in the system as such third party softwares are not easily to update and maintain.

Because of that finally after rethinking about some other ways to copy files to a locally mounted Sync directory from the Linux server, I've decided to give SSHFS a try. Mounting SSHFS between two Linux / UNIX hosts is
quite easy task with SSHFS tool

In Windows however the only way I know to transfer files to Linux via SSHFS was with WinSCP client and other SCP clients as well as the experimental:

As well as few others such as ExpandDrive, Netdrive, Dokan SSHFS (mirrored for download here)
I should say that I first decided to try copying few dozen of Gigabyte movies, text, books etc. using WinSCP direct connection, but after getting a couple of timeouts I was tired of WinSCP and decided to look for better way to copy to remote Linux SSHFS.
However the best solution I found after a bit of extensive turned to be:

SWISH – Easy SFTP for Windows

Swish is very straight forward to configure compared to all of them you download the .exe which as of time of writting is at version 0.8.0 install on the PC and right inMy Computer you will get a New Device called Swish next to your local and remote drives C:/ D:/ , USBs etc.


As you see in below screenshot two new non-standard buttons will Appear in Windows Explorer that lets you configure SWISH


Next and final step before you have the SSHFS remote Linux filesystem visible on Windows Xp / 7 / 8 / 10 is to fill in remote Linux hostname address (or even better fill in IP to get rid of possible DNS issues), UserName (UserID) and Direcory to mount.


Then you will see the SSHFS moutned:


You will be asked to accept the SSH host-key as it used to be unknown so far


That's it now you will see straight into Windows Explorer the remote Linux SSHFS mounted:


Once setupped a Swish connection to copy files directly to it you can use the Send to Embedded Windows dialog, as in below screenshot


The only 3 problem with SWISH are:

1. It doesn't support Save password, so on every Windows PC reboot when you want to connect to remote Linux SSHFS, you will have to retype remote login user pass.
Fron security stand point this is not such a bad thing, but it is a bit irritating to everytime type the password without an option to save permanently.
The good thing here is you can use Launch Key Agent
as visible in above screenshot and set in Putty Key Agent your remote host SSH key so the passwordless login will work without any authentication at
all however, this might open a security hole if your Win PC gets infected by virus, which might delete something on remote mounted SSHFS filesystem so I personally prefer to retype password on every boot.

2. it is a bit slow so if you're planning to Transfer large amounts of Data as hundreds of megabytes, expect a very slow transfer rate, even in a Local  10Mbit Network to transfer 20 – 30 GB of data, it took me about 2-3 hours or so.
SWISH is not actively supported and it doesn't have new release since 20th of June 2013, but for the general work I need it is just perfect, as I don't tent to be Synchronizing Dozens of Gigabytes all the time between my notebook PC and the Linux server.

3. If you don't use the established mounted connection for a while or your computer goes to sleep mode after recovering your connection to remote Linux HDD if opened in Windows File Explorer will probably be dead and you will have to re-enable it.

For Mac OS X users who want to mount / attach remote directory from a Linux partitions should look in fuguA Mac OS X SFTP, SCP and SSH Frontend

I'll be glad to hear from people on other good ways to achieve same results as with SWISH but have a better copy speed while using SSHFS.

How to enable VirtualBox Windows XP FullScreen with VboxGuestAdditions.iso on Ubuntu 11.10 Linux

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes

Right after installing Windows XP inside VirtualBox, I've found out everything works fine except the screen. Even though pressing (Right CTRL + F) was changing the Windows XP running window to FullScreen the XP screen was taking only a part of the whole screen area, where almost half of the screen was visible as simply staying blank.

A bit of research and I found the issue is caused by missing VirtualBoxGuestAdditions .

VBoxAdditions is a package which should be installed inside the VirtualBox by navigating to Devices -> Install Guest Additions

Virtualbox offers a download of a VboxGuestAdditions_4.1.2_Ubuntu.iso from url;, anyways this download fails since the URL is currently unavailable.

To fix this two ways are possible:

1. Download VBoxGuestAdditions.iso from here and put it in directory /usr/share/virtualbox , e.g.:

root@ubuntu:~# cd /usr/share/virtualbox
root@ubuntu:/usr/share/virtualbox# wget

2. Download and install virtualbox-guest-additions-iso_4.1.2-1_all.deb

root@ubuntu:~# wget
root@ubuntu:~# dpkg -i virtualbox-guest-additions-iso_4.1.2-1_all.deb

Next to enable and install guest additions once again use menus:

Devices -> Install Guest Additions

VirtualBox Install Guest Additions Ubuntu Screenshot

The screen to appear next will be similar to:

VBox guest Additions windows Ubuntu

Further on follow the few dialogs to complete the installations and integration of Guest Additions and restart the Virtual machine and hooray the Windows will appear in Full screen in VirtualBox ! 😉

How to make a mirror of website on GNU / Linux with wget / Few tips on wget site mirroring

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Reading Time: 4minutes


Everyone who used Linux is probably familiar with wget or has used this handy download console tools at least thousand of times. Not so many Desktop GNU / Linux users like Ubuntu and Fedora Linux users had tried using wget to do something more than single files download.
Actually wget is not so popular as it used to be in earlier linux days. I've noticed the tendency for newer Linux users to prefer using curl (I don't know why).

With all said I'm sure there is plenty of Linux users curious on how a website mirror can be made through wget.
This article will briefly suggest few ways to do website mirroring on linux / bsd as wget is both available on those two free operating systems.

1. Most Simple exact mirror copy of website

The most basic use of wget's mirror capabilities is by using wget's -mirror argument:

# wget -m

Creating a mirror like this is not a very good practice, as the links of the mirrored pages will still link to external URLs. In other words link URL will not pointing to your local copy and therefore if you're not connected to the internet and try to browse random links of the webpage you will end up with many links which are not opening because you don't have internet connection.

2. Mirroring with rewritting links to point to localhost and in between download page delay

Making mirror with wget can put an heavy load on the remote server as it fetches the files as quick as the bandwidth allows it. On heavy servers rapid downloads with wget can significantly reduce the download server responce time. Even on a some high-loaded servers it can cause the server to hang completely.
Hence mirroring pages with wget without explicity setting delay in between each page download, could be considered by remote server as a kind of DoS – (denial of service) attack. Even some site administrators have already set firewall rules or web server modules configured like Apache mod_security which filter requests to IPs which are doing too frequent HTTP GET /POST requests to the web server.
To make wget delay with a 10 seconds download between mirrored pages use:

# wget -mk -w 10 -np --random-wait

The -mk stands for -m/-mirror and -k / shortcut argument for –convert-links (make links point locally), –random-wait tells wget to make random waits between o and 10 seconds between each page download request.

3. Mirror / retrieve website sub directory ignoring robots.txt "mirror restrictions"

Some websites has a robots.txt which restricts content download with clients like wget, curl or even prohibits, crawlers to download their website pages completely.

/robots.txt restrictions are not a problem as wget has an option to disable robots.txt checking when downloading.
Getting around the robots.txt restrictions with wget is possible through -e robots=off option.
For instance if you want to make a local mirror copy of the whole sub-directory with all links and do it with a delay of 10 seconds between each consequential page request without reading at all the robots.txt allow/forbid rules:

# wget -mk -w 10 -np -e robots=off --random-wait

4. Mirror website which is prohibiting Download managers like flashget, getright, go!zilla etc.

Sometimes when try to use wget to make a mirror copy of an entire site domain subdirectory or the root site domain, you get an error similar to:

Sorry, but the download manager you are using to view this site is not supported.
We do not support use of such download managers as flashget, go!zilla, or getright

This message is produced by the site dynamic generation language PHP / ASP / JSP etc. used, as the website code is written to check on the browser UserAgent sent.
wget's default sent UserAgent to the remote webserver is:

As this is not a common desktop browser useragent many webmasters configure their websites to only accept well known established desktop browser useragents sent by client browsers.
Here are few typical user agents which identify a desktop browser:

  • Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:6.0) Gecko/20110814 Firefox/6.0
  • Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:6.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/6.0
  • Mozilla/6.0 (Macintosh; I; Intel Mac OS X 11_7_9; de-LI; rv:1.9b4) Gecko/2012010317 Firefox/10.0a4
  • Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; rv:2.2a1pre) Gecko/20110324 Firefox/4.2a1pre

etc. etc.

If you're trying to mirror a website which has implied some kind of useragent restriction based on some "valid" useragent, wget has the -U option enabling you to fake the useragent.

If you get the Sorry but the download manager you are using to view this site is not supported , fake / change wget's UserAgent with cmd:

# wget -mk -w 10 -np -e robots=off \
--referer="" \--user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20070725 Firefox/" \--header="Accept:text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,text/html;q=0.9,text/plain;q=0.8,image/png,*/*;q=0.5" \--header="Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5" \--header="Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate" \--header="Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7" \--header="Keep-Alive: 300"

For the sake of some wget anonimity – to make wget permanently hide its user agent and pretend like a Mozilla Firefox running on MS Windows XP use .wgetrc like this in home directory.

5. Make a complete mirror of a website under a domain name

To retrieve complete working copy of a site with wget a good way is like so:

# wget -rkpNl5 -w 10 --random-wait

Where the arguments meaning is:
-r – Retrieve recursively
-k – Convert the links in documents to make them suitable for local viewing
-p – Download everything (inline images, sounds and referenced stylesheets etc.)
-N – Turn on time-stamping
-l5 – Specify recursion maximum depth level of 5

6. Make a dynamic pages static site mirror, by converting CGI, ASP, PHP etc. to HTML for offline browsing

It is often websites pages are ending in a .php / .asp / .cgi … extensions. An example of what I mean is for instance the URL You see the url page is tutorial.php once mirrored with wget the local copy will also end up in .php and therefore will not be suitable for local browsing as .php extension is not understood how to interpret by the local browser.
Therefore to copy website with a non-html extension and make it offline browsable in HTML there is the –html-extension option e.g.:

# wget -mk -w 10 -np -e robots=off \
--random-wait \

A good practice in mirror making is to set a download limit rate. Setting such rate is both good for UP and DOWN side (the local host where downloading and remote server). download-limit is also useful when mirroring websites consisting of many enormous files (documental movies, some music etc.).
To set a download limit to add –limit-rate= option. Passing by to wget –limit-rate=200K would limit download speed to 200KB.

Other useful thing to assure wget has made an accurate mirror is wget logging. To use it pass -o ./my_mirror.log to wget.