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First Steps

User Accounts

Upon logging in to your VPS for the first time, one of the first things you will want to do is change the default root password by typing “passwd” at the prompt. Don't forget this password as there is currently no way to recover it.

The default encryption algorithm for passwords is DES, so only the first eight characters will be used. You can change this by editing “/etc/passwd.conf” following the indications in man passwd.conf.

It is also a good habit to create a regular user account for working, using “su” to obtain root privileges as needed. To create a regular user account which is part of the administrative “wheel” group:

useradd -m -G wheel <username>

Then immediately set its password with:

passwd <username>

This user will be in the “wheel” group and will be able to perform administrative tasks by runing “su” to obtain superuser privileges using the root password.

System Clock

It is customary on UNIX systems for the system clock to be set to UTC. To set the local time zone, find your zone file in “/usr/share/zoneinfo/” and link to it at “/etc/localtime” as follows:

ln -fs /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Helsinki /etc/localtime


Look at the first line of your control panel at and note YOUR_IP (e.g. and YOUR_HOSTNAME (e.g. netbsd99).

Start your server, and log in via the console. (default=root:root)

Open /etc/rc.conf in an editor and, replacing the text YOUR_HOSTNAME and YOUR_IP with your own actual host name and IP number, add:
ifconfig_xennet0="inet YOUR_IP netmask 0xffffff00"

Then put this in /etc/resolv.conf:


Add this to /etc/hosts:



/etc/rc.d/network restart


On NetBSD you can mount a pre-built (and still in progress) pkgsrc DESTDIR. Following the procedures below will effectively install the 2000+ included packages on your virtual NetBSD system.

Note that at the moment the pre-built pkgsrc assumes that its path is /images/pkg_neb501. Some programs won't work under a different prefix since they won't be able to find their shared libraries.

mkdir -p /images/pkg_neb501
rmdir /usr/pkg
ln -s /images/pkg_neb501 /usr/pkg
rm -rf /var/db/pkg
ln -s /images/pkg_neb501/db/pkg /var/db/pkg
mount -t nfs /images/pkg_neb501
export PATH=$PATH:/usr/pkg/bin:/usr/pkg/sbin

It is read only.

To set this up on boot, execute the steps above and then:

echo "nfs_client=YES" >> /etc/rc.conf
echo "rpcbind=YES" >> /etc/rc.conf
echo " vps" >> /etc/hosts
echo "vps:/images/pkg_neb501 /images/pkg_neb501 nfs ro" >> /etc/fstab
echo "export PATH=$PATH:/usr/pkg/bin:/usr/pkg/sbin" >> /etc/profile

Note that you cannot use both this pre-built pkgsrc and pre-built packages from It may be possible to set the system up so you can, however this is best left to the experienced NetBSD administrator.

Miscellaneous Tips

Free up disk space by removing unwanted sets

The default image comes with all distribution sets installed. You can free up some disk space by removing the ones you don't need.

First, check which distribution sets are installed:

ls /etc/mtree

Decide which sets you want to remove and examine their contents. For example, to remove games and all X11 sets:

for set in games xbase xcomp xetc xfont xserver ; do \
  tar tzf /usr/INSTALL/$set.tgz | sed -e 's/^\.//' >> /tmp/purgelist ; \

After examining “/tmp/purgelist” and removing any files you want to keep, do:

cat /tmp/purgelist | xargs rm