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Notes on Arch Linux with a Ramnode VPS

By Ev Bogue - July 29th 2016

I'm updating this piece today, because the instructions weren't right and I keep doing this.

Ever since Digital Ocean discontinued their Arch Linux support a few years ago, I've been looking for good Arch Linux VPS options.

I used Linode for a bit, but I found the $10 per month price point to be a bit much. It's a high-end VPS, so I understand the price. However, because of my minimal Arch Linux stack, I don't need tons of memory.

So I went back to Digital Ocean, sucked it up and used Debian. But over time I get annoyed with Debian because it's not cutting edge enough for me, so I've been looking for better options.

I tried Ramnode for a bit in early 2015. Ramnode worked great, but I went back to Digital Ocean -- I'm not sure why. And then again, Debian began annoying me again.

So yesterday I bought a quarter (four months) of time on a 256megabyte VPS at Ramnode using Bitcoin. This cost around $9.17 USD when I made the purchase.

The Arch Linux VPS with Ramnode a little difficult to get going, so I thought I'd record the setup here just in case you try it or I try to get it going again.

Getting Arch Linux going on Ramnode

Ramnode gives you a blank VPS with a virtual Arch Linux install CD. You have to mount the "CDROM" and boot.

This loads the Arch Linux install shell, which is familiar to anyone who's installed Arch Linux on their computer.

The Internet doesn't work out of the box, so I had to configure that myself.

First, check the interface name for ethernet

% ip link
1: lo: <LOOPBACK,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 65536 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1
    link/loopback 00:00:00:00:00:00 brd 00:00:00:00:00:00
2: ens3: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc fq_codel state UP mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 00:16:3c:54:da:f7 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff

'ens3' is the magic name we're looking for.

Next, stop dhcpcd -- otherwise netctl will give you an error when you try to load the profile.

% systemctl stop dhcpcd@ens3

Next write your netctl profile

% cp /etc/netctl/examples/ethernet-static /etc/netctl/ens3
% vim /etc/netctl/ens3

And configure it with the ip address of your VPS. Mine ended up looking this way:

Interface=ens3
Connection=ethernet
IP=static
Address=('168.235.78.40/24')
Gateway='168.235.78.1'
DNS=('8.8.8.8')

For some reason you can't stop netctl unless you...

% ip link set ens3 down

And start the netctl profile

% netctl start ens3
% netctl enable ens3

Ping somewhere, and your Internet should work now

% ping evbogue.com

And next install Arch Linux! Be sure to copy the 'ens3' profile to the new Arch Linux install, so you have Internet on reboot.

Ok, I think that's right -- for the next time I have to do this.

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Hi! I'm Ev Bogue. I'm a developer/writer living in Fayetteville, NC. ev@evbogue.com


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