0. Prerequisites

Main system

ClonePanel is written for *nix systems, and uses several of their standard features (most notably rsync and hard links). I use Centos 4 but other linux distributions should run with little or no modification; some tweaking may be required for *bsd systems. In principle it should also run on MS Windows using Cygwin (untested so far, but I think rsync should work and apparently hard links are supported on NTFS file systems). If you find changes are needed please let me know what you do so I can improve the program for everyone.

Edit: With some small reservations it does seem to work on Windows using Cygwin (more details).

The main installation to run backups, monitoring and dns control requires a low-powered computer on a DSL connection with a static IP address*. If you prefer to run this system in a datacenter then a small VPS would be suitable. I suggest having disk space available at least 2 x that which you want to back-up.

For security I recommend NOT running any other services on the same system (web server, mail server, ftp server etc.). Access keys stored on the ClonePanel system would allow anyone with access to it to also access all connected systems.

As an example, a P3-500 with 128Mb memory on a 512/128k ADSL connection works without any problems and runs at very low load. So dig out that old PC, download the latest Centos distribution, choose a minimal install and you’re ready to go!

Web Hosts

ClonePanel backup and monitoring works with hosting ranging from dedicated server down to shared hosting plans – really the only requirement is that the host permits user-level SSH (secure shell) access. Many hosts will do this on request, even if they don’t advertise it, particularly if you explain that it is for taking backups using rsync. CPanel hosts usually use “jailshell” – a slightly limited version of the standard bash shell – this works just as well.

I’m listing some hosts I’ve used with brief reviews in the hosting category.

If you want to use ClonePanel to control DNS records (edit zone files) then you will need WHM access to a CPanel server (a reseller account) or a VPS / dedicated server that allows you to change the nameserver setup.

* Strictly speaking a static IP address is required only because it’s used as an additional security feature in the remote-access setup (the key will only work from a single IP address). If you really want to run on a dynamic IP then a small change to setup_remote_key will permit this for you.

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