Send Apache Logs to Papertrail With Rsyslog

apache_logs

Over the last few days, I’ve been looking at Apache web server logs, a lot, mostly quick checks for Shellshock probes and exploit attempts. All on client servers, thankfully. All of the servers I operate through DigitalOcean are patched up. It just so happens that all the sites I host have their DNS hosted by Cloudflare, which has been blocking all Shellshock attempts.

A majority of my sites send their Apache logs to Papertrail. Having all my apache logs easily accessible and searchable is extremely nice. It’d make sniffing out Shellshock attempts quite simple. You can check for Shellshock attempts relatively easily from the command line, as well, something like the command below would work:

1. Setup Rsyslog to Send to Papertrail

Anyway, sending Apache logs to Papertrail is pretty easy. I’m going to assume you’ve already setup rsyslog to send logs to Papertrail. If not, this post should help.

2. Add CustomLog Directive To Your VirtualHost

You just need to modify your virtualhost configuration and add a CustomLog directive. Here’s what I do to send longren.io logs to Papertrail:

The -t httpd piece sets the service name for Papertrail. The -p local1.info flag sets the priority. You’ll want to change the longren.io piece in the above code to whatever site you’re capturing logs for. You can also change or remove apache that immediately follows longren.io.

3. Reload Apache

After you’ve added the CustomLog directive to your virtualhost, you’ll want to reload Apache:

That’s all there is to it. You should start seeing your Apache logs in Papertrail shortly after reloading Apache.

Free Flat Buttons Are Free

freeflatbuttons

Include stylesheet, apply class, done.

I like flat design. I also like Free Flat Buttons, from freeflatbuttons.com. Did I mention they’re free? But most buttons are free, so the naming must be a marketing thing.

It’s been a while since Free Flat Buttons have seen any updates, but there’s really nothing to update in my opinion. They serve their purpose quite well. They look very nice when paired with FontAwesome, too.

Free Flat Buttons can be found on GitHub, it’s repository is very simple and only includes the button stylesheet and the HTML and CSS associated with the freeflatbuttons.com website.

They’re really simple to use, as they should be. All you have to do is include the CSS, <link rel="stylesheet" href="button.css">, include the FontAwesome CSS if you want it, <link href="http://netdna.bootstrapcdn.com/font-awesome/4.1.0/css/font-awesome.min.css" rel="stylesheet">, and then add a class to an anchor tag.

For a normal sized button, something like this:

To make a button with rounded corners, use style-2, the other styles are listed on the freeflatbuttons.com site:

Aside from the homepage, a demo can also be found on CodePen. I’ve embedded it below. Version 1.0 of Free Flat Buttons can be downloaded from http://www.flatbuttons.com/button.css.

See the Pen Flat Buttons by Anıl Bilir (@Qanser) on CodePen.

Anchor: Free Client Management & Invoicing App For Freelancers

main-screenshot

Get Paid Fast With Stripe Or PayPal

Anchor is a new invoicing webapp that you run on your own server. It’s written in PHP and is free to use for any freelancer, individual, or sole proprietor.

It provides more features than Slimvoice, the drawback being that you have to host it yourself. That’s not really an issue for most of my readers, however. :) The only thing I wish Anchor had was quotes and job creation.

Because of the lack of job and quote creation, I don’t use Anchor myself. I use Ultimate Client Manager for invoicing, quote creation, and job creation. It, unfortunately, is not free. However, the guys behind Anchor, 23rd & Walnut, also have a product named Duet. Duet includes many of the features that Ultimate Client Manager has and costs $49. Upgrading from Anchor to Duet is seamless.

Anchor includes a visual invoice builder, has the ability to send PDF invoices to your clients, and allows your clients to log in to Anchor to pay their invoices using Stripe or PayPal. The reporting interface is very nice, which you can see in the screenshot below.
reporting

There’s no limit on the number of clients or invoices. It provides a very nice looking dashboard, have a look at the demo to get a feel for the entire Anchor app. Anchor is an excellent option if you’re just starting out and need something to help keep track of clients and invoices.

If you’re interested in using Anchor, have a look through the documentation and just spend some time on the Anchor homepage to get familiar with the features offered.

Anchor and Duet seriously have me considering dropping Ultimate Client Manager. :)

TinyCert: Generate SSL Certificates And Become Your Own Certificate Authority

tinycert

A few days ago I moved longren.io to https. I didn’t pay for a certificate though like I would when setting up an e-commerce site or something else important.

I even get the little green lock symbol in the address bar, but I think this is mostly due to my use of Cloudflare.

TinyCert is a service I discovered that lets you be your own PKI/certificate authority. It’s entirely free and provides you with a very nice interface for managing your certificates. The image below shows the interface for managing your certificates. The list on the right is a list of certificates, as you can see I’ve got one made up for longrendev.io, but haven’t put it in place quite yet.
tinycertinterface

The support from TinyCert is very good as well, I had a few questions regarding how their certificates would work with Cloudflare and they quickly cleared my questions up. SSL Labs from Qualys gives the SSL certificate an “A” rating. Should you use certificates from TinyCert in production? Probably not. I am, however, due to my use of Cloudflare.
ssl

This post isn’t meant to show you how to install certificates or use TinyCert, it’s simply to make you aware of the tool and what can be done with it. TinyCert has a pretty extensive FAQ, so should you have questions, which I’m sure you do, head on over and start reading. If you do need help installing the certificates from TinyCert, their help center does a nice job of providing instructions for Apache and Nginx based setups.

Have fun with TinyCert, it’s a pretty awesome service that I’ll continue to use and will absolutely be donating to. But please remember, TinyCert certificates should not be used for regular public websites and the service is not a substitute for a proper certification authority, but for self-signed certificates.

Automate Taking Snapshots of Your DigitalOcean Droplets with DOSnapshot

dosnapshot1

Multi-threading. Auto-cleanup. Cron optimized.

There are a lot of neat tools people have built for DigitalOcean.

The app I’m really in love with is DOSnapshot, and is hosted on GitHub. DOSnapshot does exactly what its name would suggest, it takes snapshots of your droplets.

As of this post, I’m the only one that’s left a comment on the DOSnapshot Community Projects page, which took me a bit by surprise, given the quality of the tool.

Taking a snapshot of a DigitalOcean Droplet is essentially like making an exact copy of the Droplet (server) that you can then use again at a later time. Very useful for scaling and updating a Droplet to a newer version of your Linux distribution without losing all of the Droplet’s configuration.

Etel Sverdlov does a very good job of explaining the difference between snapshots and backups in this DigitalOcean community tutorial. I suggest you read it if you’re unsure what the differences between a backup and snapshot are.

1. Install DOSnapshot

DOSnapshot can be installed as a ruby gem, which is what I chose to do because it’s just so easy. Don’t install this on your DigitalOcean Droplet! It’s meant to run from your local machine. Installing DOSnapshot as a Rubygem is as simple as:

Pre-built binaries are also provided for Linux users, and OSX users have the option of installing via Homebrew Tap.

2. Set Your DigitalOcean Client ID and API Key

Once you’ve got it installed, you’ll need to set your DigitalOcean Client ID and API Key. You can set them as environment variables, or you can pass them as parameters when actually running DOSnapshot. This is straight from the README:

First you may need to set DigitalOcean API keys:

$ export DIGITAL_OCEAN_CLIENT_ID=”SOMEID”
$ export DIGITAL_OCEAN_API_KEY=”SOMEKEY”

If you want to set keys without environment, than set it via options when you run do_snapshot:

$ do_snapshot –digital-ocean-client-id YOURLONGAPICLIENTID –digital-ocean-api-key YOURLONGAPIKEY

3. Take A Snapshot

DOSnapshot has a pretty large number of options that you can specify. I’m going to keep this simple so you get the basics of it. Learning a few of the main options will be mostly what you need to know, after you’ve got them figured out, setting up a cronjob is cake.

You can take snapshots of all of your droplets at once, you can specify which droplets to take snapshots of, and you can specify droplets that you don’t want to take a snapshot of. I typically take a snapshot of a single droplet at a time, and I do it like this:

The above will take a snapshot of only one droplet, a droplet with an ID of 1111, replace 1111 with the ID of your droplet. You can find your droplets ID in your browser URL bar while managing the droplet. So if you see https://cloud.digitalocean.com/droplets/1234567, your droplet’s ID is 1234567.

Here’s all of the options.

4. Scheduling With Cron

First, you must have cron installed. There’s plenty of tutorials on how to do that. That tutorial even explains how to configure a cron job using the crontab utility. There’s an example crontab entry in the DOSnapshot README. Mine is pretty simple:

If you have questions about setting any of this up, feel free to leave a comment!