Using Vagrant next steps

We’ll I’ve succeeded in getting a functional box up and running for my Laravel project. First tested it on a local VM using virtualbox, Vagrant and a bunch of shell scripts which I compiled from a lot of other similar efforts found on the internet. It stil lrequired a lot of trial and effort to get it where it is now. A functioning box which will run my project. It will deploy the code from a git repository and will use a previous database backup to initiate the database. No database migrations for me at the moment.

Next step was to get it running on DigitalOcean (referral link), I used the DigitalOcean Vagrant provider which you can find on GitHub. Just follow the instructions and the next time you call “vagrant up” it’s running on a VPS at DigitalOcean.

I’ve still got several things to figure out:

  • How to seperate configuration from scripts.
  • Getting Certbot included in the build proces and automate renewal.
  • How to do an upgrade without destroying the previous build.

So, still some tinkering to do…

Using Vagrant to deploy Laravel box

I’ve building a personal project in Laravel for maintaining my bookmarks. I’ve been toying with this for some time and I’m now ready enough to deploy it to VPS somewhere. This so I can open it up for beta testing by others then me myself. But how to deploy in a repeatable fashion that is easy. I could use ready made setups, like Envoyer, but they all cost money to keep them running and for a simple hobby project I find this overkill.

For local development there is an easy solution to get a VPS running (using virtualbox), it’s called Homestead and is a lifesaver (and time saver). It uses Vagrant to give you a box complete with all the software configured and using shared folders syncing all the coding developments with your local filesystem. You can work on your local filesystem and test the output on the VPS.

So I started looking at using Vagrant for creating a test and production box which looked similar to Homestead but as simple as possible for my needs. I found many setup’s on how to create your own VPS with Vagrant and I think I’ve got it almost nailed to get a machine up and running using Vagrant with shell scripts where I can test and deploy my own project. I might release it when I’m satisfied and documented it just enough to maintain/eaplain it.

Setting up a new mailserver with MIAB

Just finished setting up a new mailserver using Mail-in-a-box and moved one of my existing domains over to it. After testing it at home on a VM I discovered it was extremely simple compared to doing it all yourself as I’ve done untill now. Moving away from my Mac mini to a VPS first meant setting it up and configuring it all by hand. Mail-in-a-box takes all that away, it just ask for your email adres for a login and thats it. It configures everything itself. The only thing that you’ll have to do is to point the nameservers for your domain to your new box at your registrar. Mail-in-a-box takes care of setting up all the DNS records, security, SSL certificates, mail configuration, etc…

I’ts almost as simple as getting a gmail account but more secure and private, no snooping for ads or reading of your email by third parties! Support is also excellent by other users and developers. The few questions I had where answered within several hours.

I’ll let it run for a few weeks before moving all other domains over to this new server. Just want to make sure it’s stable without any hickups.

In 2007 after became succesful I started this dedicated site for my documentation set and tips & tricks on how to install a fully functioning mail and webserver on your Mac. By this time I had 3 Mac mini’s, one in a datacenter at and two at home with different versions of Mac OSX for development and support. When the move from PPC to intel happened I bought another Mac mini and sold the oldest.

The information the site represented what I have done myself on my own mini’s. The documentation is the result of a lot of Googling and late night experiments. I was no expert on any off the stuff you find here but I’ve noticed I learned a lot about managing and configuring a mailserver.

We do learn some of the stuff by doing it all ourself and by helping out others in solving the problems they encounter with installing the software. We try to write down why some choices where made and why and try to explain possible alternatives. We don’t want you to expect that we have all the answers, but we try to find a workable solution for people who run into problems.

By the way we all do this next to our regular day job, it is a hobby. If you like what you found and it was really useful to you we would appreciate it if you would donate a small amount to cover the expenses for hosting the site.

In 2013 I stopped using a mini in a datacenter to host everything as VPS hosting was getting so cheap and ubiqutous that for the same cost as hosting the Mac mini I could rent 10+ VPS servers. This however meant that I had to move away from Mac OSX as an operation system and went for Ubuntu. Next to that I got a new job that came with bigger responsibilies and workload and didn’t want to keep spending every evening getting the latest version to work or solving problems.

Currently investigating the possiblities of leaving the need for tweaking my own setup and use the excellent work of others on Mail-in-a-box

I’ve started the blog at in 2005 to document my experiences as a switcher from a combination of Windows and Linux to Mac OS X. I had bought one of the first Mac mini’s when OSX was released which promised the usability of Windows and the robustness of a Unix core.

Fortunatly the switching was quite easy and painless when it concerned applications on the desktop. OS X was far more intuitive then any other OS I’ve ever encountered. The only difficulty was to discover the easier way to do things.

Therefore the purpose of the blog somewhat changed because I had more problems getting the server side of things to work as they where not that obvious as the desktop apps. I wanted the Mac mini to replace the old Sun Ultra 5 sparcstations I had running as my internet infrastructure at home. I hosted my own web and mailserver of a couple of old Sun Sparcstations that I got from work.

Documentation was available on the internet but mostly for Linux or FreeBSD installs, the docs for OS X mostly concerned older versions of the OS or the applications in question. I was spending a lot of time googling, posting questions on forums and mailinglists to find the specific info needed to get everything I want in working order. I documented my progress and the steps I took as I learned the hard way when one of the Suns failed earlier and I could not rebuild it quickly because I forgot how to do this and didn’t remember all the settings. Later came the idea of sharing the information in the blog and it transformed into a manual of some sorts which others can use to install the software themselves.

I’m not pretending to be an expert on any off the stuff you find here. I’m just writing down my findings and the settings that made it work for me. I do learn a lot by trying on my own systems and helping out others with the problems they encounter with installing the software. I don’t have all the answers but the ones I do find I try to write down as clear and understandable as possible.

The blog became quite popular and therefore in 2007 I started a new dedicated site to this endavour: