Reducing Server Anxiety

Are you known for your coding skills, but get a lump in your throat the moment you’re asked to do anything related to servers? You’re not alone.

Managing servers may seem intimidating but with a little practice and encouragement you’ll be anxiety free in no time. How do you practice without wrecking your production app or destroying your local dev environment?

  1. Practice setting up and connecting — For a minimal cost you can spin up a remote instance and try going through tutorials from Digital Ocean, Linode, or your other favorite VPS provider. Add a few users and modify permissions.

  2. Create your own cheat sheet — One of the best ways to really learn something is to teach it. Generating a set of quick tips or instruction guide where you explain what’s happening will make it easier to remember in the future. A few cheat sheet examples apache-cheat-sheet Linode Cheat Sheet General Server Cheat Sheet

  3. Setup a variety of environments in a practice server — Choose a sample application using something you are familiar with already (Apache, MySQL, PHP, Nginx, Postgres, Redis, etc) then install and configure that environment on a remote or local practice server.

  4. Practice investigating failures — How would you check for memory issues? How would you review logs? How would you stop / start / restart services if needed?

  5. Check question and answer sites — If you have a question about servers, chances are that someone else has had that question as well. Reading responses to server questions on sites like Server Fault can provide answers and link to additional useful resources.

  6. Read through troubleshooting guides — Such as Apache Troubleshooting or Linux Server Common Site Issues

  7. Connect with IRC groups or a mentor — The best way to abolish anxiety is to connect with others who are experts in their field and find out what worked for them.

This is just a quick list to get you started. Have other ways to reduce server anxiety?

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