Linux server administration

This page explains how to perform Digital Archive related web host administration tasks on an InMotion virtual private server (VPS) with cPanel.


This documentation on this page assumes that you already know, or will learn, how to perform basic system administration tasks. For example, you must be able to navigate the file system, edit and delete files, and be familiar with system administration duties such as database management, permissions, FTP, and such. If these things are foreign to you, do not attempt to perform these tasks.


WMH stands for Web Host Manager. All of the Digital Archive sites are hosted on a dedicated Linux server which you manage using WHM.

To learn more about WHM, visit


Use the search box at the top to quickly find a feature. For example, as you type ftp, the features will immediately narrow down to just those related to FTP. This same technique works in cPanel.

Upload and extract a zip file

Follow these steps to upload a zip file to the web server and extract (unzip) its contents.


A zip file's contents are always extracted into a new folder having the same name as the zip file. The contents are never extracted directly into an existing folder. As such, you may have to move the contents after you unzip them.

Upload the zip file

  • Go to cPanel and choose File Manager
  • Navigate into the folder where a new folder should be created for the zip file contents.
    For example, if uploading an Omeka plugin, navigate into the plugins folder.
  • Click Upload in the top menu
  • Select or drag-in the zip file to begin uploading it
  • Wait for the upload to complete. When complete, the progress bar will:
    • Show 100% and change color from blue to green
  • Click the Go Back to link at the bottom of the page to return to the parent folder
  • Verify that the zip file is there. If not, click Reload in the menu above the file list

Extract the zip file contents

  • Right click on the zip file name and choose Extract
  • Click the Extract File(s) button
  • On the Extraction Results dialog, click the Close button
  • A new folder will appear having the same name as the zip file
  • If you don't see the folder, click the Reload button

Delete the zip file

  • Right click on the file name and choose Delete
  • On the Trash dialog, check the box that says Skip the trash
  • Click the Confirm button

Tips & Tricks

Compress a large folder on the server using zip

Use the zip command to avoid issues using the cPanel Compress feature. Also, the zip command reports what it's doing. As an example, to compress the files folder of a Digital Archive installation:

  • Open a terminal window
  • cd to the parent of the files folder
  • Type the command below
zip -r files

Compress and extract a large folder using tar


tar -czvf files-name.tar.gz directory


tar -xzvf files-name.tar.gz
What to do with the download file

Download files are in tar.gz format. Follow these steps to get the contents.

  • Download the file to the local computer
  • Upload the file to a temp directory on the server
  • Extract the contents on the server
  • Use the files on the server or download them to the local computer

Advanced System Administration

Configure PHP settings

To specify PHP configuration settings for a single site:

  • Log into WHM
  • Choose List Accounts
  • Go to cPanel for the domain
  • Choose MultiPHP INI Editor
  • Select the Basic Mode tab
  • Choose the site from the dropdown menu
  • Make the desired setting changes
  • Click the Apply button

Contact Manager

To control what notifications get emailed to you as the WHM administrator:

  • Log into WHM
  • Go to Contact Manager

Use the Communication Type tab to set the level of notification for Email (recommend High only).

Use the Notifications tab to set the importance of various kinds of notices. Not all notices are listed. If you are receiving unexpected emails for notifications you don't want to see, contact Inmotion support.

Disk Usage

To determine how much disk space each site is using:

  • Log into WHM
  • Choose List Accounts
  • Go to cPanel for the domain
  • Choose Disk Usage
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page where disk usage is listed by directory
  • Expand the domains directory to see usage for each domain

To see the size of child folders within a parent folder, in ascending order:

  • Log into WHM
  • Open a Terminal window
  • Navigate to the parent folder
  • Type du -h | sort -h

Folders for each domain are in /home/daus/domains/<site>

View logs for child processes

To see if any sites are hitting their max_children limit, open a WHM Terminal window and type the command below:

cat /opt/cpanel/ea-php81/root/usr/var/log/php-fpm/error.log |grep max_children

To change the max_children limit for an individual site:

  • Log into WHM
  • Go to MultiPHP Manager
  • Choose the User Domain Settings tab to see a list of sites
  • Find the site of interest and click its PHP-FPM Settings button
  • Change the value of the Max Children field
  • Click the Update button at the bottom of the page
  • To go back to the list of sites, click Go Back To User Domain Settings

View the CSF config file

  • Log into WHM
  • Choose Terminal
  • Type cd /etc/csf
  • Type less csf.conf
  • Use the up and down arrow keys to scroll a line at a time
  • Type q to quit

Check the status of SSL certificates

  • Go to the cPanel for
  • Choose SSL/TLS Status in the Security section

Check server status and uptime

WHM > Apache Status

Blocked IP addresses

To view blocked IP address, and to perform other IP operations:

  • Log into WHM
  • Go to ConfigServer Security & Firewall

To check for a blocked IP address:

  • Scroll to the csf - ConfigServer Firewall section
  • Paste the IP address in the text field next to the Search for IP button
  • Click the button

To block an IP address:

  • Scroll to the csf - Quick Actions section
  • Paste the IP address in the text field next to the Quick Deny Button button
  • Type do not delete in the comment field (see explanation below)
  • Click the quick deny button

To view all blocked IP address:

  • Scroll to the csf - ConfigServer Firewall section
  • Click the Firewall Deny IPs button to view the etc/csf/csf.deny file
  • When done, click the Return button at the bottom of the page

Note that each time a new entry is added to the csf.deny file, the oldest entry gets deleted. You can prevent that from happening by adding do not delete as the comment for the blocked IP. This trick is documented in the comments at the top of csf.deny. The default maximum number of entries is 200, but you could increase it by clicking the Firewall Configuration button and changing the value of DENY_IP_LIMIT

High 5 minute load average alert

This and similar notices from Inmotion occur when a poorly behaved crawler hits a site excessively. To find the offender, view the apachestatus.html file that's attached to the notice. In the Client column, look for a pattern of repeated IP addresses that are making GET /find requests. Follow the steps in the previous section to block the address.

Another way to see which IPs are hitting domains:

  • Open a WHM Terminal window
  • Type cd /var/log/apache2/domlogs and press Enter
  • Use the ls command to see the logs
  • Use cat, tail, or the nano editor to view one of the logs

You can also open cPanel and run the Metrics > Raw Access tool where you can download the current and archived logs as a .gz file.

Edit the crontab file

  • Open a WHM Terminal window
  • export EDITOR=nano
  • crontab - e

Reboot the server

WHH > System Reboot > Graceful Server Reboot