How to install OpenBSD on a SSDNodes VPS

on 2022-03-12

SSDNODES is a VPS provider that, in exchange for a long term commitment, proposes really (really) low prices. Officially, only Linux OSes are available but the prices are so low that I decided to give it a try and install OpenBSD on one of their VPS.

Step 1

Once in possession of a VPS, the first step is to activate the console. I won't explain here how since it is obvious from the interface. One thing to keep in mind is that activating or deactivating the console restart the server. Don't do it in the middle of a sysupgrade.

An other thing is that you should not access your VPS using ssh and the console at the same time with OpenBSD. It has been reported to freeze (and then you have to open a ticket).

Once the console is activated the VPS console can be accessed with a vnc client. This will be only useful for the install process.

Step 2

The network will not auto configuring during the OpenBDD. Therefore the network settings need to be gathered while still on Linux. The three information needed are the IP address (also visible on the web interface), the network mask and the gateway. For the IP and netmask can be found with ip a. For the gateway, it is a two steps process. The first line of route will give you the gateway hostname (here _gateway):

Destination     Gateway         Genmask         Flags Metric Ref    Use Iface
default         _gateway         UG    0      0        0 enp3s0

With this hostname, the gateway IPs (v4, v6) can be retrieved with host.

Step 3

You need to grab the install image of OpenBSD (the name should be installXX.img). Then you just have to dd it into the hard drive:

# dd if=installXX.img of=/dev/sda

I only had one experience of the system panicking while doing it. In that case, I just did a reinstall using the SSDNODES interface.

Step 4

Install OpenBSD as usual through the vnc client except for the network setting that needs to be set manually using the information gathered previously.

Step 5

Deactivate the console. Be careful, it will restart the VM. I usually turn it off before.