Category Archives: CentOS

Linux: How do you find out what your server’s outgoing ip is?

There are many times when I needed to find out my outgoing (or external) IP for the servers which are behind load balancers or firewalls.  I used to just login to another external server from the server in question and find out by looking at “who” what my external ip is.  Even though it works and I am so used to it, today I decided to figure out a more graceful way of finding my outgoing ip.  As most of us already know, is the quickest way to find out your outgoing ip from the browser.  So I decided to use the same way on the servers.  So I issued a wget:


Well that does the trick.  But being lazy as I am, I did not want to have to cat the output file to find out the ip (plus there is no point of creating extra files and doing extra work to remove them).  So if you are ssh’ed in, you can issue following command (I am sure there is another way of doing it, but this is the quickest way I could think of):

wget -q -O -

-O tells wget to redirect output to the following file (- being the standard out ).  So it basically echo’s output to our console.

-q makes wget run in  quiet mode so you do not see all of the connection/download/etc output.

That is it!  I am curious to know what other ways people use to get the same information.  Please share your way if possible.


DISCLAIMER: Please be smart and use code found on internet carefully. Make backups often. And yeah.. last but not least.. I am not responsible for any damage caused by this posting. Use at your own risk.

Quick tip: how do you rename all files so spaces are converted to underscores?

My friend today asked me how to convert all spaces in filenames under a specified directory to underscores. Also, at the same time lowercase all of the filenames. Here is a quick script to do what is needed. Let us start with creating some test data in a temp directory:

mkdir temp
cd temp
touch Foo FooO "Foo Bar" "FOO BAaR"
\ls | while read -r FILENAME
mv -v "$FILENAME" `echo $FILENAME| tr ' ' '_'| tr '[A-Z]' '[a-z]'`

Note:  I intentionally have slash in front of ls (\ls).  \ls means that we want to make sure there is no ls alias overwriting our command. This is needed if your system has alias setup to display ls in a different way instead of default listing.  mv -v shows us the filenames being renamed as your script goes through the whole dir.  Your output should be like:

`Foo' -> `foo'
`FOO BAaR' -> `foo_baar'
`Foo Bar' -> `foo_bar'
`FooO' -> `fooo'

One of the very powerful commands in this post is the “tr” command. This command is not as popular as sed or awk but it is very useful and simple to use (read more about tr).

If you only needed to convert spaces to underscores and you are using CentOS/Fedora/Redhat, you can use this simpler method. NOTE: this command is not available on all distributions: rename " " "_" *

Learn more about rename command
DISCLAIMER: Please be smart and use code found on internet carefully. Make backups often. And yeah.. last but not least.. I am not responsible for any damage caused by this posting. Use at your own risk.

Apache/http monitoring: monitor http traffic in realtime using httptop

Server monitoring is a big part of running a solid web site.  As an admin, you must know what is going on your server.  One of the tools most Linux/Unix admins are used to is called “top”.  “top” by itself is a very powerful tool.  Here is a quick guide on how to read output from top:  introduction to load averages under top.  It just makes sense that somebody went and created httptop to monitor http traffic.

Install perl modules:

install Term::ReadKey
install File::Tail
install Time::HiRes

Now copy paste the script below and save it in a location and set +x attribute on it so you can execute it.  On my setup, I have the script under /usr/bin/httptop:

#!/usr/bin/perl -w
use Time::HiRes qw( time );
use File::Tail (  );
use Term::ReadKey;
use Getopt::Std;
use strict;
### Defaults you might be interested in adjusting.
my $Update = 2; # update every n secs
my $Backtrack = 250; # backtrack n lines on startup
my @Paths = qw(
my $Log_Format = "combined";
my %Log_Fields = (
combined => [qw/ Host x x Time URI Response x Referer Client /],
vhost => [qw/ VHost Host x x Time URI Response x Referer Client /]
### Constants & other thingies. Nothing to see here. Move along.
my $Version = "0.4.1";
sub by_hits_per (  ) { $b->{Rate} <=> $a->{Rate} }
sub by_total (  ) { $b->{Total} <=> $a->{Total} }
sub by_age (  ) { $a->{Last} <=> $b->{Last} }
my $last_field = "Client";
my $index = "Host";
my $show_help = 0;
my $order = \&by_hits_per;
my $Help = "htlwufd?q";
my %Keys = (
h => [ "Order by hits/second" => sub { $order = \&by_hits_per } ],
t => [ "Order by total recorded hits" => sub { $order = \&by_total } ],
l => [ "Order by most recent hits" => sub { $order = \&by_age } ],
w => [ "Show remote host" => sub { $index = "Host" } ],
u => [ "Show requested URI" => sub { $index = "URI" } ],
f => [ "Show referring URL" => sub { $index = "Referer" } ],
d => [ "Show referring domain" => sub { $index = "Domain" } ],
'?' => [ "Help (this thing here)" => sub { $show_help++ } ],
q => [ "Quit" => sub { exit } ]
my @Display_Fields = qw/ Host Date URI Response Client Referer Domain /;
my @Record_Fields = qw/ Host URI Referer Domain /;
my $Max_Index_Width = 50;
my $Initial_TTL = 50;
my @Months = qw/ Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Nov Dec /;
my %Term = (
HOME => "\033[H",
CLS => "\033[2J",
START_TITLE => "\033]0;", # for xterms etc.
END_TITLE => "\007",
START_RV => "\033[7m",
END_RV => "\033[m"
my ( %hist, %opt, $spec );
$SIG{INT} = sub { exit };
END { ReadMode 0 };
### Subs.
sub refresh_output
my ( $cols, $rows ) = GetTerminalSize;
my $show = $rows - 3;
my $count = $show;
my $now = (shift || time);
for my $type ( values %hist ) {
for my $peer ( values %$type ) {
# if ( --$peer->{_Ttl} > 0 ) {
my $delta = $now - $peer->{Start};
if ( $delta >= 1 ) {
$peer->{ Rate } = $peer->{ Total } / $delta;
} else {
$peer->{ Rate } = 0
$peer->{ Last } = int( $now - $peer->{ Date } );
# } else {
# delete $type->{$peer}
# }
$count = scalar( values %{$hist{$index}} ) - 1 if $show >= scalar values %{$hist{$index}};
my @list = ( sort $order values %{$hist{$index}} )[ 0 .. $count ];
my $first = 0;
$first = ( $first <= $_ ? $_ + 1 : $first ) for map { $_ ? length($_->{$index}) : 0 } @list;
$first = $Max_Index_Width if $Max_Index_Width < $first;
print $Term{START_TITLE}, "Monitoring $spec at: ", scalar localtime, $Term{END_TITLE} if $ENV{TERM} eq "xterm"; # UGLY!!!
my $help = "Help/?";
my $head = sprintf( "%-${first}s %6s %4s %4s %s (%d total)",
$index, qw{ Hits/s Tot Last }, $last_field,
scalar keys %{$hist{$index}}
# Truncate status line if need be
$head = substr($head, 0, ($cols - length($help)));
print @Term{"HOME", "START_RV"}, $head, " " x ($cols - length($head) - length($help)), $help, $Term{END_RV}, "\n";
for ( @list ) {
# $_->{_Ttl}++;
my $line = sprintf( "%-${first}s %6.3f %4d %3d %s",
substr( $_->{$index}, 0, $Max_Index_Width ), @$_{(qw{ Rate Total Last }, $last_field)} );
if ( length($line) > $cols ) {
substr( $line, $cols - 1 ) = "";
} else {
$line .= " " x ($cols - length($line));
print $line, "\n";
print " " x $cols, "\n" while $count++ < $show;
sub process_line
my $line = shift;
my $now = ( shift || time );
my %hit;
chomp $line;
@hit{@{$Log_Fields{$Log_Format}}} = grep( $_, split( /"([^"]+)"|\[([^]]+)\]|\s/o, $line ) );
$hit{ URI } =~ s/HTTP\/1\S+//gos;
$hit{ Referer } = "<unknown>" if not $hit{Referer} or $hit{Referer} eq "-";
( $hit{Domain} = $hit{Referer} ) =~ s#^\w+://([^/]+).*$#$1#os;
$hit{ Client } ||= "<none>";
$hit{ Client } =~ s/Mozilla\/[\w.]+ \(compatible; /(/gos;
$hit{ Client } =~ s/[^\x20-\x7f]//gos;
# if $now is negative, try to guess how old the hit is based on the time stamp.
if ( $now < 0 ) {
my @hit_t = ( split( m![:/\s]!o, $hit{ Time } ))[ 0 .. 5 ];
my @now_t = ( localtime )[ 3, 4, 5, 2, 1, 0 ];
my @mag = ( 3600, 60, 1 );
# If the hit didn't parse right, or didn't happen today, the hell with it.
return unless $hit_t[2] == ( $now_t[2] + 1900 )
and $hit_t[1] eq $Months[ $now_t[1] ]
and $hit_t[0] == $now_t[0];
splice( @hit_t, 0, 3 );
splice( @now_t, 0, 3 );
# Work backward to the UNIX time of the hit.
$now = time;
$now -= (shift( @now_t ) - shift( @hit_t )) * $_ for ( 3600, 60, 1 );
$hit{ Date } = $now;
for my $field ( @Record_Fields ) {
my $peer = ( $hist{$field}{$hit{$field}} ||= { Start => $now, _Ttl => $Initial_TTL } );
@$peer{ @Display_Fields } = @hit{ @Display_Fields };
$peer->{ Total }++;
sub display_help {
my $msg = "httptop v.$Version";
print @Term{qw/ HOME CLS START_RV /}, $msg, $Term{END_RV}, "\n\n";
print " " x 4, $_, " " x 8, $Keys{$_}[0], "\n" for ( split "", $Help );
print "\nPress any key to continue.\n";
### Init.
getopt( 'frb' => \%opt );
$Backtrack = $opt{b} if $opt{b};
$Update = $opt{r} if $opt{r};
$Log_Format = $opt{f} if $opt{f};
$spec = $ARGV[0];
die <<End unless $spec and $Log_Fields{$Log_Format};
Usage: $0 [-f <format>] [-r <refresh_secs>] [-b <backtrack_lines>] <logdir | path_to_log>
Valid formats are: @{[ join ", ", keys %Log_Fields ]}.
for ( @Paths ) {
last if -r $spec;
( $spec = $_ ) =~ s/%/$ARGV[0]/gos;
die "No access_log $ARGV[0] found.\n" unless -r $spec;
my $file = File::Tail->new(
name => $spec,
interval => $Update / 2,
maxinterval => $Update,
tail => $Backtrack,
nowait => 1
) or die "$spec: $!";
my $last_update = time;
my ( $line, $now );
# Backtracking.
while ( $Backtrack-- > 0 ) {
last unless $line = $file->read;
process_line( $line, -1 );
$file->nowait( 0 );
ReadMode 4; # Echo off.
print @Term{"HOME", "CLS"}; # Home & clear.
### Main loop.
while (defined( $line = $file->read )) {
$now = time;
process_line( $line, $now );
while ( $line = lc ReadKey(-1) ) {
$show_help = 0 if $show_help;
$Keys{$line}[1]->(  ) if $Keys{$line};
if ( $show_help == 1 ) {
$show_help++; # Don't display help again.
} elsif ( $now - $last_update > $Update and not $show_help ) {
$last_update = $now;
refresh_output( $now );

Save/exit and make sure you make it executable by setting it to +x (chmod +x httptop)

Now you can run httptop by typing:  httptop -f combined -r 1 /usr/local/apache2/logs/access_log

NOTE:  Your access_log file might be in different location.  Point to the right location.  This sets the refresh rate to 1 sec (-r 1).  Now you can run httptop any time you want to checkout how your http traffic is doing.  Remember to press “?” to get help once you are in.


DISCLAIMER: As always, if you find any inaccurate information, please comment and let me know. When you do comment, make sure you give me some references to confirm.

MySQL: How do you enable sphinxse (Sphinx Storage Engine) in your mysql installation?

As you may know mysql fulltext search is not highly scalable.  One of the options to get around this scalability limitation, which I prefer, is to use Sphinx.  You can use Sphinx with out having to alter your mysql installation.  But, if you would like to use from within mysql and not have to worry about how to pass data between Sphinx and MySQL, you can enable sphinxse (sphinx storage engine).  It is not included with mysql by default so you will have to compile it yourself.

Here are the instructions on how to get sphinxse compiled with your mysql installation on CentOS x64.  I am sure same instructions will work for other flavors but I have not tested it.  I will be compiling the most current version of sphinx (0.9.8) with most current stable version of mysql (5.0.51b) at the time of the writing.  Let’s get the appropriate packages first:

tar zxpf sphinx*
tar zxpf mysql*

You will also need “bison”, “patch”, “automake” and “libtool” installed.  Let us just do a yum install for it.

yum -y install bison patch automake libtool

NOTE:  if you don’t install bison, you will get the following error:
sed '/^#/ s|y\.tab\.c||' >sql_yacc.cct && mv sql_yacc.cct
sed: can't read No such file or directory
make[2]: *** [] Error 2

Let us continue with patching mysql source with sphinx storage engine (sphinxse) code and compile/install our new binaries.

cd mysql*
patch -p1 < ../sphinx-0.9.8/mysqlse/sphinx.5.0.37.diff #Make sure everything succeeded.
mkdir sql/sphinx
cp ../sphinx-0.9.8/mysqlse/* sql/sphinx
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/mysql --with-sphinx-storage-engine
make install

Now start your mysql installtion and check if engine support is compiled in:

mysql> show engines\G
Engine: SPHINX
Support: YES
Comment: Sphinx storage engine 0.9.8

To read more about how to use Sphinx storage engine, please refer to:  Sphinx documentation for using sphinx storage engine

DISCLAIMER: Please be smart and use code found on internet carefully. Make backups often. And yeah.. last but not least.. I am not responsible for any damage caused by this posting. Use at your own risk.

Linux: yum options you may not know exist.

Most of the users who work with distributions such as: centos, fedora, redhat, etc use yum as a package update/installer. Most of them know how to do “yum update [packagename]” (to update all or [certain packages]) or they do “yum install packagename” to install certain package(s). But yum can do so much more. Here are some options you may find useful:

Following command will search for the string you specified. Generally this will give you all of the packages which has specified string in title or description. Most of the time you will have to look through a lot of output to find what you are looking for.

yum search string

Probably one of the most important options for yum is provides/whatprovides. If you know what command you need, you can find out what package you have to install in order to have that command available to you.

yum provides (or whatprovides) command

Following command is same as above but with less output.

yum -d 1 provides command

So for example if you are trying to figure out what you need to install to use bunzip2, type:

yum -d 1 provides bunzip2

you will get a similar output as below.

# yum -d 1 provides bunzip2
bzip2.x86_64 1.0.2-13.EL4.3 base
bzip2.x86_64 1.0.2-13.EL4.3 base
man-pages-fr.noarch 0.9.7-13.el4 base
man-pages-ja.noarch 20050215-2.EL4.3 base
man-pages-pl.noarch 0.23-5 base

As you can see bunzip2 is part of bzip2 package. So now you can you just install bzip2.x86_64 to get bunzip2.

To learn more about what else is available, read man yum.