How to use One Click A.I. to Automatically Install and Manage Applications

Table of Contents

  1. What is an Application?
  2. What is One Click A.I.?
  3. Get a Pod with the One Click A.I. Platform
  4. Accessing the One Click A.I. Platform for the First Time
  5. Navigating the features of One Click A.I.
  6. Browsing the Application Catalog and Selecting an Application
  7. Installing, Uninstalling, Upgrading and Backing up an Application
  8. Domains
  9. Restoring a Backup of an Application and Deleting a Backup of an Application
  10. Crons
  11. FTP
  12. Managing Databases
  13. In Conclusion

 


What is an Application?

Want your own blog that runs on WordPress? WordPress is an application.

Or maybe you would like to start selling your homemade quilts and need an online store with a shopping cart? PrestaShop is a nice application for that. It’s an application.

Your own wiki, perhaps? Check out MediaWiki, another application.

Your own bulletin board with the phpBB application, your own social network with the Dolphin application, your own cloud sharing platform (with mobile support!) with the ownCloud application…. the list goes on for 200+ applications that we support.

These are all web applications, and we let you install as many of them as you like on your own Pod, in just seconds, with a single click.

 


What is One Click A.I.?

One Click A.I. is a SolarVPS feature that automates the installation and management of applications to your Pod. The applications catalog consists of over 200 applications such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, ownCloud, and more. A single Pod can support multiple applications.

With the One Click Application Install (A.I.) Platform, you are able to…

  • Browse through an application catalog of over 200 applications
  • Install applications with a single click
  • Backup and restore applications with a single click
  • Manage ftp, cron, databases and more

In this article, we will walk through the process of using One Click A.I.


Get a Pod with the One Click A.I. Platform

Each Pod you use requires you to choose an OS Template. We’ve built a custom OS Template based on CentOS 6.3 to implement One Click A.I., and in order to use this feature you must have a Pod that uses this template. There are two ways for you to get a Pod that uses this template, both will be described below.

  1. Order a new Pod, and choose One Click Application Install Platform as the OS Template.
  2. Perform an OS reinstall on an existing Pod that you own (you will lose your data if choosing this option).

To order a new Pod, you would simple go to the Store, select Linux, and then Choose “One Click Application Install Platform” as the OS template. Here is what that step looks like:

Selecting One Click A.I. OS Template from the Store

 

 

To perform an OS reinstall to this template instead of ordering a new Pod, you would select the Pod to perform the reinstall on from Pods>>My Pods, go to the Reinstall tab for that Pod, and then select the template for the One Click Application Install Platform. Here is what that step looks like:

OS Reinstall to One Click A.I.

 

 

You now have a Pod that supports one click installs!!


Accessing the One Click A.I. Platform for the First Time

The Pods>>My Pods tab shows all of your Pods. The Pods>>My Applications tab shows only your Pods that have the One Click A.I. Platform installed as the OS Template. It looks like this:

My Applications tab

If the Pod that you want to manage is booted, click on either the Hostname or the Manage button to start managing applications for this Pod. If it is not booted, you will be informed that you need to boot the Pod before continuing

In the above example, I would select the ai3.com Pod. If this is your first time accessing this Pod in the My Applications tab, it will take a few minutes for the platform to initialize for first time use. A progress meter will update you as this happens. Here is what that looks like:

Preparing A.I. One Click Installer


Navigating the features of One Click A.I.

After One Click A.I. has been prepared for first time use, you will be brought to this screen:

First time in one click A.I. after initial preparation
One Click A.I. has a set of sub-features, shown in the gray tabs above. Those are

  1. Applications- This is where you can see a list of your installed applications, install new applications, uninstall applications, upgrade applications and backup applications. 
  2. Domains- This is where you can add and remove domains that applications can be installed to. DNS must already be configured for these domains, adding a Domain here does NOT configure an A Record. If you don’t configure any domains, you can still install applications to your ip address.
  3. Backups- This is where you can list, restore, and delete backups of applications that exist on your server.
  4. Cron- This is a web interface for you to configure cron jobs.
  5. FTP- This is an interface for you to manage FTP users.
  6. Database- This allows you to manage your databases.

We will work through using each of these sub-features.


Browsing the Application Catalog and Selecting an Application

Click the “Install New Application” button. You will be brought to this screen, where you can choose an application:

Select an application to install

 

The most popular applications are shown in the Applications Ribbon, you can click on one of the icons to select that application. Or, to browse the full catalog of 200+ applications, click the “Select an Application” dropdown. This dropdown organizes the applications by category, with the applications alphabetized under each category. It also allows you to start typing to find an application that you might be looking for. For example, you could type “own” and the list in the dropdown would narrow down to the application named “ownCloud”.

When you select an application, either by choosing it from the dropdown or by clicking on an icon for a popular application, you will see two tabs. One for “Overview” and another for “Screenshots”. The “Overview” tab will show you the version number of the application, a summary of what the application does and its features, and a link to the support site for the application. The “Screenshots” tab will show you screenshots of the selected application, allowing you to see what the application would look like if it were installed.

Also, one an application has been selected, an “Install” button appears. Here is what it looks like when WordPress has been selected:

Example of WordPress selected in One Click A.I.


Installing, Uninstalling, Upgrading and Backing up an Application

Once you have decided what application to install, you can install it by clicking the Install button that is beside the dropdown. Clicking this button will bring you to the installation form for this application, where you can customize the installation details if you’d like to.

Here is what that form looks like for WordPress. It will be slightly different depending on what you choose to install.

Installing WordPress

 

The Domain  is the domain where the application will be accessible from. If you have configured Domains (to be described later) they will be listed in the Domain dropdown. The IP address will always be an option in the Domain dropdown. In the above example, we will use the ip, 65.98.86.60.

The Directory is where the application will be accessible from on the Domain, everything after the first slash. To install to the root directory of http://65.98.86.60/ you should leave this blank. For a domain of 65.98.86.60 and a Directory of Word895 the application would be accessible from http://65.98.86.60/Word895/

Not everything that you install requires a database, but for those that do, you can choose a Database Name, User, and Password. You can also just accept the default values.

The settings that follow are specific to the application that you are installing. Most applications require an admin account. We will generate a random password as the default admin password for all applications that you install, but you can change this per application if you like. You should make sure to remember this admin username and password.

In this example, you could accept all of the defaults as above, and simple click Install Now. On clicking, you will see a progress meter until the application install finishes (they usually take 5-10 seconds). When it finishes, you will be brought back to the Applications tab and you will see your new application in the list of installed applications.

WordPress finished installing

 

Your WordPress installation is ready to be used!! You can click on the link to your WordPress, or the link to the admin dashboard for WordPress. If you had more applications installed, those would also be installed from here.

Notice that you can backup an installed application by clicking the Backup button. After clicking that, you will see a progress meter while the backup occurs, and once finished, your tab will change to the Backups tab. Backups include both the files and database which support your application, however, they are made to your Pod. Backups are useful for being able to roll your application back to a previous state, but since they are stored on the same disk as your Pod, they are not a disaster recovery solution. You can have as many backups as you like (provided you do not run out of disk space) for any of your applications. Restoring a backup is as easy as one click from the Backups tab.

Notice also that you can uninstall or delete an application by clicking the red Delete button. After confirming that you want to do this, the application will be uninstalled. Note that if you have a backup, you would be able to restore it!

Not shown above, but if a new version of the application was available, an arrow icon would show beside the version number which you could click to automatically upgrade your application.


Domains

Remember when you installed an application, and had to select a Domain from the Domains dropdown? In our example, we installed to the ip address. However, if you had a domain such as example.com, you could also install to that domain.

First, you must setup an A record for that domain. That is outside of the scope of the KB article, and we are going to assume that has already been done.

In order for the new domain to appear in the Domains dropdown when installing an application, you will have to first add it to the Domains tab of A.I. This page is very simple, it just allows you to add an delete domains which will appear in that dropdown. Here is what the screen looks like:

Domains tab in One Click A.I.

The IP address always shows, and cannot be deleted (and that is why the Delete button is disabled for it). To add a domain, simply enter it into the input which says “Enter domain” and click the Add Domain button. This has already been done for example.com, which is why it shows in the list of Domains.


Restoring a Backup of an Application and Deleting a Backup of an Application

This article has already covered how to create a backup. To restore or delete a backup, click on the Backups tab. This will list all of your existing backups, with buttons to Restore or Delete each backup. Here is what that looks like:

Restoring and Deleting Application Backups

 

Individual backups are organized under their Application name, with backups for instances of that application beneath the application name. In the above example, I have one backup of my one instance of WordPress. This shows me the name of the backup file, the version of the application at the time of the backup, the web address for the instance of the application that was backed up, the size of the backup, and the date that the backup was made.

A backup can be deleted by clicking on the Delete button, and then confirming the action.

A backup can be restored by clicking the restore button. If a backup is of an application that contains both files and a database, you will be given the option to restore either the files, database or both. On confirming this action by clicking OK, the restore will start immediately.

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 5.31.27 PM

Note that a restore will overwrite your current files and/or database with the contents of the backup!!


Crons

Some applications automatically setup cron jobs when they are installed. For those that do, you can edit those cron jobs from the Cron tab. You can also add and delete any cron job you want; this is simply a web interface to Cron.

Cron is a time-based job scheduler which enables jobs to run at periodic times or dates. Cron is outside of the scope of the KB article, but you can find a lot of information online to learn more about Cron. It is used, for example, to run hourly or daily maintenance on some applications.

With an understanding of Cron, the interface is self explanatory. If you don’t know anything about Cron and don’t want to learn, you can happily install and use applications without ever using this tab. :)

Cron tab in One Click A.I.

 


FTP

This tab allows you to add, delete, and edit users who have ftp access to your server. Users can only have access to directories in /home/uniqueFolderName or /home/uniqueFolderName where uniqueFolderName is a random directory name that is tied to your specific A.I. platform.

FTP tab in one click a.i

 

If you don’t need FTP access, there is no reason for you to ever use this tab.


Managing Databases

The Database tab lists all of the databases that are used by your application. You can see which users have access to each database, delete a database, create a new database, create a new user, and add users to a database.

Like the Cron tab, if this is over your head, you can easily skip ever having to use this tab. :)

There is also a link to PHPMyAdmin which will open PHPMyAdmin in a new window.

Database Tab in One Click A.I.

 


In Conclusion

We created this feature so that you can install the applications that you need in seconds. We created this feature to remove the headaches and complications that come with installing and maintaining applications. We hope that we’ve achieved this, and if you have any questions, please contact us.

 

Matthew McCaffrey

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