Fixing subdomain folders with wildcard cert

This is something I’ve had to do twice now, and it’s not all that hard, but I keep forgetting.  The specific problem is when you have a wildcard security certificate for your domain, but your subdomain just points to the same folder as your primary domain – even though it works correctly when you access it’s insecure version.

I’m sure there are other causes and fixes for this, but I find what I need to do is:

  1. Log into WHM
  2. Search “Install an SSL Certificate on a Domain”
  3. Then hit the “Browser certificates”
  4. Find the correct wildcard certificate and click the “user certificate” button
  5. Under “domain”  change “*.yourdomain.com” to “yoursubdomain.yourdomain.com”
  6. Then hit the install button

And that should be all you need to do!  You can just do this with as many sub-domains as you need.  If you want to check what certificates you have installed, you can search for “Manage SSL Hosts” in WHM and it will tell you there.

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How to convert a VirtulBox VM to a bootable drive

This is quite easy so I was surprised that I couldn’t find a walk-through anywhere…so here’s one :)  This is specifically for a VM of Ubuntu, so it’s possible there may be other hurdles in place for different operating systems.

Step 1

Create a VM normally in VirtualBox (or use an existing one), install the operating system, and add any programs or files you want to have readily available on the bootable disk.

Step 2

This is the tricky part, you can use Virtual Box to convert a vdi to an iso, but you have to do it from the terminal.  On my machine it wouldn’t work at all in windows default terminal, but I have Cygwin installed, and was able to use that.  You first need to cd into the directory where Virtual Box is installed, and run the following command.  The folder structure is specific to my machine and will most likely need to be changed on yours.

"/cygdrive/p/Programs/VirtualBox/VboxManage.exe" clonehd 'F:/Documents/Virtualbox/Ubuntu_2017/Ubuntu 2017.vdi' 'F:/Documents/Virtualbox/Ubuntu_2017.iso' --format RAW

More simply you need to run something like this:

VboxManage.exe clonehd 'vdi_location.vdi' 'where_generated_iso_will_be_location.iso' --format RAW

Step 3

Use rufus to install the ISO as a bootable image on your USB drive

And that’s about all you need to do!  Then you can take a carbon copy of your VM with you wherever you go :)  Great for travelling, which was my need.

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nodejs with cygwin

I keep having to redo this, so I’m copying down the trick from this article here, so I can find in the future.  To get NPM and NodeJS to work in cygwin on windows, you just have the alias them using these commands in your .bash_profile:

alias npm="/cygdrive/p/Programs/nodejs/npm.cmd"
alias node="/cygdrive/p/Programs/nodejs/node.exe"

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Load balancing with WHM, NGINX, and mirrors

UPDATE 10/31/2017

I had to do a lot of server updates to get PHP7 running, and the process broke NGINX Admin, so I had to switch to Engintron. The install instructions for that are:

  1. cd /
  2. rm -f engintron.sh
  3. wget –no-check-certificate https://raw.githubusercontent.com/engintron/engintron/master/engintron.sh
  4. bash engintron.sh install



I have a project where I need to do a bit of load balancing to keep a website online for a very small window of time when it would receive an extremely high level of traffic.  I saw a dramatic increase in performance after simply installing NGINX, but I also wanted to be able to use mirrors and change the split of traffic during that peak time if we experienced any issues. NGINX does have a module for setting up upstream proxies to handle load balancing, but for this project redirects were simpler and more flexible.

This does only apply to virtual private servers or dedicated hosting – you won’t be able to run this kind of setup in a shared hosting environment.  Start by installing NGINX, below I have instructions on how to add NGINX if your site is on CPanel.

  1. cd /usr/local/src
  2. wget http://nginxcp.com/latest/nginxadmin.tar
  3. tar -xf nginxadmin.tar
  4. cd publicnginx
  5. ./nginxinstaller install

You will also need to delete the automatically generated vhost file for the domain/subdomain you want to change.  And you’ll need to re-delete it if your ever regenerate the vhosts.  You can do this by:

  1. cd /etc/nginx/vhosts/
  2. rm sub.domain.com

NGINX comes pre-installed with the split clients module.  This module is specifically designed for A/B testing, but it will also allow you to split up your traffic between different sites and allow you to adjust how much traffic each site receives.  If you’re using NGINX CP as I described above then you can either edit you NGIX config in WHM, or you can find the file at “/etc/nginx/nginx.conf” to edit from the shell.  In my example below I am also using the $http_referer variable to set-up a separate redirect specifically for direct traffic.

http {
split_clients "${remote_addr}" $mirror {
	33%	"http://google.com";
	33%	"http://yahoo.com";
	*	"http://bing.com";
server {
	listen [::]:80;
	server_name sub.domain.com www.sub.domain.com;
	location / {
		add_header X-Cache "Redirect load balancing";
		if ($http_referer = "") {
			set $mirror "http://duckduckgo.com";
		return 302 $mirror;



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HTTPS subdomains

This is pretty much just ripped from this article.  But it took me forever to find a solution, so I’m writing this down!

It is possible to secure a sub-domain without a separate IP or SSL certificate but only if it is a wildcard certificate!  Just Host offers these, but what it doesn’t offer is decent support on the matter 😛

When you make a subdomain, say “sub.example.com”  going to http://sub.example.com – will be just fine.  But, going to https://sub.example.com will load up the contents of your default directory (a.k.a. public_html)  So, in order to get that to work you have to force it to point to the right directory using .htacces, like so:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} ^443$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^sub.example.com$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/sub-folder/
RewriteRule ^(.*) /sub-folder/$1

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