Comment on page

Monitoring and Alerting

Introduction

This section will provide the steps to install Prometheus, Grafana, Nginx and Certbot for monitoring your node server plus provide a means to send alerts using Telegram and PagerDuty. The Prometheus steps are once again taken from Digital Ocean's guide here, Grafana steps here, Blackbox Exporter steps here, Nginx steps here and finally the Certbot/Let's encrypt guide here.

NGINX

Before we install Prometheus we will need to install NGINX to serve the HTTP traffic.
sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx
Before testing Nginx, the firewall software needs to be adjusted to allow access to the service. Nginx registers itself as a service with ufw upon installation, making it straightforward to allow Nginx access.
List the application configurations that ufw knows how to work with by typing:
sudo ufw app list
You should get a listing of the application profiles:
Available applications:
Nginx Full
Nginx HTTP
Nginx HTTPS
OpenSSH
As demonstrated by the output, there are three profiles available for Nginx:
  • Nginx Full: This profile opens both port 80 (normal, unencrypted web traffic) and port 443 (TLS/SSL encrypted traffic)
  • Nginx HTTP: This profile opens only port 80 (normal, unencrypted web traffic)
  • Nginx HTTPS: This profile opens only port 443 (TLS/SSL encrypted traffic)
It is recommended that you enable the most restrictive profile that will still allow the traffic you’ve configured. We will choose 'Full' to begin with. Once Testing is fully complete you may want to restrict this further by changing to 'HTTPS' and deleting 'Full'
You can enable this by typing:
sudo ufw allow 'Nginx HTTPS'
You can verify the change by typing:
sudo ufw status
The output will indicate which traffic is allowed:

Prometheus

For security purposes, we’ll begin by creating the Prometheus user account, prometheus. We’ll use this account throughout the tutorial to isolate the ownership on Prometheus’ core files and directories.
Create these user, and use the --no-create-home and --shell /bin/false options so that these users can’t log into the server.
sudo useradd --no-create-home --shell /bin/false prometheus
Before we download the Prometheus binaries, create the necessary directories for storing Prometheus’ files and data. Following standard Linux conventions, we’ll create a directory in /etc for Prometheus’ configuration files and a directory in /var/lib for its data.
sudo mkdir /etc/prometheus
sudo mkdir /var/lib/prometheus
Now, set the user and group ownership on the new directories to the prometheus user.
sudo chown prometheus:prometheus /etc/prometheus
sudo chown prometheus:prometheus /var/lib/prometheus
With our user and directories in place, we can now download Prometheus and then create the minimal configuration file to run Prometheus for the first time.

Download Prometheus

First, download and unpack the current stable version of Prometheus into your home directory. You can find the latest binaries along with their checksums on the Prometheus download page.
cd ~
curl -LO https://github.com/prometheus/prometheus/releases/download/v2.28.1/prometheus-2.28.1.linux-amd64.tar.gz
Next, use the sha256sum command to generate a checksum of the downloaded file:
sha256sum prometheus-2.28.1.linux-amd64.tar.gz
Compare the output from this command with the checksum on the Prometheus download page to ensure that your file is both genuine and not corrupted.
Now, unpack the downloaded archive.
tar xvf prometheus-2.28.1.linux-amd64.tar.gz
This will create a directory called prometheus-2.28.1.linux-amd64 containing two binary files (prometheus and promtool), consoles and console_libraries directories containing the web interface files, a license, a notice, and several example files.
Copy the two binaries to the /usr/local/bin directory.
sudo cp prometheus-2.28.1.linux-amd64/prometheus /usr/local/bin/
sudo cp prometheus-2.28.1.linux-amd64/promtool /usr/local/bin/
Set the user and group ownership on the binaries to the prometheus user created in Step 1.
sudo chown prometheus:prometheus /usr/local/bin/prometheus
sudo chown prometheus:prometheus /usr/local/bin/promtool
Copy the consoles and console_libraries directories to /etc/prometheus.
sudo cp -r prometheus-2.28.1.linux-amd64/consoles /etc/prometheus
sudo cp -r prometheus-2.28.1.linux-amd64/console_libraries /etc/prometheus
Set the user and group ownership on the directories to the prometheus user. Using the -R flag will ensure that ownership is set on the files inside the directory as well.
sudo chown -R prometheus:prometheus /etc/prometheus/consoles
sudo chown -R prometheus:prometheus /etc/prometheus/console_libraries
Lastly, remove the leftover files from your home directory as they are no longer needed.
rm -rf prometheus-2.28.1.linux-amd64.tar.gz prometheus-2.0.0.linux-amd64
Now that Prometheus is installed, we’ll create its configuration and service files in preparation of its first run.

Configure Prometheus

In the /etc/prometheus directory, use nano or your favorite text editor to create a configuration file named prometheus.yml. For now, this file will contain just enough information to run Prometheus for the first time.
sudo nano /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
Warning: Prometheus’ configuration file uses the YAML format, which strictly forbids tabs and requires two spaces for indentation. Prometheus will fail to start if the configuration file is incorrectly formatted.
In the global settings, define the default interval for scraping metrics. Note that Prometheus will apply these settings to every exporter unless an individual exporter’s own settings override the globals.
Prometheus config file part 1 - /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml global:
scrape_interval: 15s
This scrape_interval value tells Prometheus to collect metrics from its exporters every 15 seconds, which is long enough for most exporters.
Now, add Prometheus itself to the list of exporters to scrape from with the following scrape_configs directive:
Prometheus config file part 2 - /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
...
scrape_configs:
- job_name: 'prometheus'
scrape_interval: 5s
static_configs:
- targets: ['localhost:9090']
Prometheus uses the job_name to label exporters in queries and on graphs, so be sure to pick something descriptive here.
And, as Prometheus exports important data about itself that you can use for monitoring performance and debugging, we’ve overridden the global scrape_interval directive from 15 seconds to 5 seconds for more frequent updates.
Lastly, Prometheus uses the static_configs and targets directives to determine where exporters are running. Since this particular exporter is running on the same server as Prometheus itself, we can use localhost instead of an IP address along with the default port, 9090.
Your configuration file should now look like this:
Prometheus config file - /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
global:
scrape_interval: 15s
scrape_configs:
- job_name: 'prometheus'
scrape_interval: 5s
static_configs:
- targets: ['localhost:9090']
Save the file and exit your text editor.
Now, set the user and group ownership on the configuration file to the prometheus user created in Step 1.
sudo chown prometheus:prometheus /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
With the configuration complete, we’re ready to test Prometheus by running it for the first time.

Starting Prometheus

Start up Prometheus as the prometheus user, providing the path to both the configuration file and the data directory.
sudo -u prometheus /usr/local/bin/prometheus \
--config.file /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml \
--storage.tsdb.path /var/lib/prometheus/ \
--web.console.templates=/etc/prometheus/consoles \
--web.console.libraries=/etc/prometheus/console_libraries
The output contains information about Prometheus’ loading progress, configuration file, and related services. It also confirms that Prometheus is listening on port 9090.
Outputlevel=info ts=2017-11-17T18:37:27.474530094Z caller=main.go:215 msg="Starting Prometheus" version="(version=2.0.0, branch=HEAD, re
vision=0a74f98628a0463dddc90528220c94de5032d1a0)"
level=info ts=2017-11-17T18:37:27.474758404Z caller=main.go:216 build_context="(go=go1.9.2, user=root@615b82cb36b6, date=20171108-
07:11:59)"
level=info ts=2017-11-17T18:37:27.474883982Z caller=main.go:217 host_details="(Linux 4.4.0-98-generic #121-Ubuntu SMP Tue Oct 10 1
4:24:03 UTC 2017 x86_64 prometheus-update (none))"
level=info ts=2017-11-17T18:37:27.483661837Z caller=web.go:380 component=web msg="Start listening for connections" address=0.0.0.0
:9090
level=info ts=2017-11-17T18:37:27.489730138Z caller=main.go:314 msg="Starting TSDB"
level=info ts=2017-11-17T18:37:27.516050288Z caller=targetmanager.go:71 component="target manager" msg="Starting target manager...
"
level=info ts=2017-11-17T18:37:27.537629169Z caller=main.go:326 msg="TSDB started"
level=info ts=2017-11-17T18:37:27.537896721Z caller=main.go:394 msg="Loading configuration file" filename=/etc/prometheus/promethe
us.yml
level=info ts=2017-11-17T18:37:27.53890004Z caller=main.go:371 msg="Server is ready to receive requests."
If you get an error message, double-check that you’ve used YAML syntax in your configuration file and then follow the on-screen instructions to resolve the problem.
Now, halt Prometheus by pressing CTRL+C, and then open a new systemd service file.
sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/prometheus.service
The service file tells systemd to run Prometheus as the prometheus user, with the configuration file located in the /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml directory and to store its data in the /var/lib/prometheus directory. (The details of systemd service files are beyond the scope of this tutorial, but you can learn more at Understanding Systemd Units and Unit Files.)
Copy the following content into the file:
Prometheus service file - /etc/systemd/system/prometheus.service
[Unit]
Description=Prometheus
Wants=network-online.target
After=network-online.target
[Service]
User=prometheus
Group=prometheus
Type=simple
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/prometheus \
--config.file /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml \
--storage.tsdb.path /var/lib/prometheus/ \
--web.console.templates=/etc/prometheus/consoles \
--web.console.libraries=/etc/prometheus/console_libraries
[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target
Finally, save the file and close your text editor.
To use the newly created service, reload systemd.
sudo systemctl daemon-reload
You can now start Prometheus using the following command:
sudo systemctl start prometheus
To make sure Prometheus is running, check the service’s status.
sudo systemctl status prometheus
The output tells you Prometheus’ status, main process identifier (PID), memory use, and more.
If the service’s status isn’t active, follow the on-screen instructions and re-trace the preceding steps to resolve the problem before continuing the tutorial.
Output● prometheus.service - Prometheus
Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/prometheus.service; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running) since Fri 2017-07-21 11:40:40 UTC; 3s ago
Main PID: 2104 (prometheus)
Tasks: 7
Memory: 13.8M
CPU: 470ms
CGroup: /system.slice/prometheus.service
...
When you’re ready to move on, press Q to quit the status command.
Lastly, enable the service to start on boot.
sudo systemctl enable prometheus
Now that Prometheus is up and running, we can install an additional exporter to generate metrics about our server’s resources.

Configure Prometheus to Scrape Node Exporter on the Node Server

Because Prometheus only scrapes exporters which are defined in the scrape_configs portion of its configuration file, we’ll need to add an entry for Node Exporter, just like we did for Prometheus itself.
Before we do that however we need to open the firewall on the Node server to allow connections from the Monitoring server.
On the Node Server:
sudo ufw allow from <Your_Monitoring_Server_IP> to any port 9100
Note: you may also need to open these ports within your AWS security groups
Open the configuration file.
sudo nano /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
At the end of the scrape_configs block, add a new entry called node_exporter.
Prometheus config file part 1 - /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
...
- job_name: 'node_exporter'
scrape_interval: 5s
static_configs:
- targets: ['<YOUR_NODE_SERVER_IP>:9100']
Because Node Exporter is running on the Node server , we need to add in <YOUR_NODE_SERVER_IP> with Node Exporter’s default port, 9100.
Your whole configuration file should look like this:
Prometheus config file - /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
global:
scrape_interval: 15s
scrape_configs:
- job_name: 'prometheus'
scrape_interval: 5s
static_configs:
- targets: ['localhost:9090']
- job_name: 'node_exporter'
scrape_interval: 5s
static_configs:
- targets: ['<YOUR_NODE_SERVER_IP>:9100']
Save the file and exit your text editor when you’re ready to continue.
Finally, restart Prometheus to put the changes into effect.
sudo systemctl restart prometheus
Once again, verify that everything is running correctly with the status command.
sudo systemctl status prometheus
If the service’s status isn’t set to active, follow the on screen instructions and re-trace your previous steps before moving on.
Output● prometheus.service - Prometheus
Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/prometheus.service; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running) since Fri 2017-07-21 11:46:39 UTC; 6s ago
Main PID: 2219 (prometheus)
Tasks: 6
Memory: 19.9M
CPU: 433ms
CGroup: /system.slice/prometheus.service
We now have Prometheus installed, configured, and running. As a final precaution before connecting to the web interface, we’ll enhance our installation’s security with basic HTTP authentication to ensure that unauthorized users can’t access our metrics.

Securing Prometheus

Prometheus does not include built-in authentication or any other general purpose security mechanism. On the one hand, this means you’re getting a highly flexible system with fewer configuration restraints; on the other hand, it means it’s up to you to ensure that your metrics and overall setup are sufficiently secure.
For simplicity’s sake, we’ll use Nginx to add basic HTTP authentication to our installation, which both Prometheus and its preferred data visualization tool, Grafana, fully support.
Start by installing apache2-utils, which will give you access to the htpasswd utility for generating password files.
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install apache2-utils
Now, create a password file by telling htpasswd where you want to store the file and which username <username> you’d like to use for authentication.
Note: htpasswd will prompt you to enter and re-confirm the password you’d like to associate with this user. Also, make note of both the username and password you enter here, as you’ll need them to log into Prometheus in Step 9.
$ sudo htpasswd -c /etc/nginx/.htpasswd <username>
The result of this command is a newly-created file called .htpasswd, located in the /etc/nginx directory, containing the username and a hashed version of the password you entered.
Next, configure Nginx to use the newly-created passwords.
First, make a Prometheus-specific copy of the default Nginx configuration file so that you can revert back to the defaults later if you run into a problem.
sudo cp /etc/nginx/sites-available/default /etc/nginx/sites-available/prometheus
Then, open the new configuration file.
sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/prometheus
Locate the location / block under the server block. It should look like:/etc/nginx/sites-available/default
...
location / {
try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
}
...
As we will be forwarding all traffic to Prometheus, replace the try_files directive with the following content:
/etc/nginx/sites-available/prometheus
...
location / {
auth_basic "Prometheus server authentication";
auth_basic_user_file /etc/nginx/.htpasswd;
proxy_pass http://localhost:9090;
proxy_http_version 1.1;
proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
proxy_set_header Connection 'upgrade';
proxy_set_header Host $host;
proxy_cache_bypass $http_upgrade;
}
...
These settings ensure that users will have to authenticate at the start of each new session. Additionally, the reverse proxy will direct all requests handled by this block to Prometheus.
When you’re finished making changes, save the file and close your text editor.
Now, deactivate the default Nginx configuration file by removing the link to it in the /etc/nginx/sites-enabled directory, and activate the new configuration file by creating a link to it.
sudo rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default
sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/prometheus /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
Before restarting Nginx, check the configuration for errors using the following command:
sudo nginx -t
The output should indicate that the syntax is ok and the test is successful. If you receive an error message, follow the on-screen instructions to fix the problem before proceeding to the next step.
Output of Nginx configuration tests:
nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful
Then, reload Nginx to incorporate all of the changes.
sudo systemctl reload nginx
Verify that Nginx is up and running.
sudo systemctl status nginx
If your output doesn’t indicate that the service’s status is active, follow the on-screen messages and re-trace the preceding steps to resolve the issue before continuing.
Output
● nginx.service - A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; enabled; vendor preset: en
Active: active (running) since Mon 2017-07-31 21:20:57 UTC; 12min ago
Process: 4302 ExecReload=/usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on; -s r
Main PID: 3053 (nginx)
Tasks: 2
Memory: 3.6M
CPU: 56ms
CGroup: /system.slice/nginx.service
At this point, we have a fully-functional and secured Prometheus server, so we can log into the web interface to begin looking at metrics.

Testing Prometheus

Prometheus provides a basic web interface for monitoring the status of itself and its exporters, executing queries, and generating graphs. But, due to the interface’s simplicity, the Prometheus team recommends installing and using Grafana for anything more complicated than testing and debugging.
In this tutorial, we’ll use the built-in web interface to ensure that Prometheus and Node Exporter are up and running before moving on to install Blackbox Exporter and Grafana.
To begin, point your web browser to http://your_server_ip.
In the HTTP authentication dialogue box, enter the username and password you chose earlier.
Prometheus Authentication
Once logged in, you’ll see the Expression Browser, where you can execute and visualize custom queries.
Prometheus Dashboard Welcome
Before executing any expressions, verify the status of both Prometheus and Node Explorer by clicking first on the Status menu at the top of the screen and then on the Targets menu option. As we have configured Prometheus to scrape both itself and Node Exporter, you should see both targets listed in the UP state.
If either exporter is missing or displays an error message, check the service’s status with the following commands:
sudo systemctl status prometheus
sudo systemctl status node_exporter
The output for both services should report a status of Active: active (running). If a service either isn’t active at all or is active but still not working correctly, follow the on-screen instructions and re-trace the previous steps before continuing.

Installing Blackbox

The Blackbox exporter enables blackbox probing of endpoints over HTTP, HTTPS, DNS, TCP and ICMP. We can use it for checking the uptime status of both the Node and Monitoring servers.

Create a Service User

For security purposes, we’ll create a blackbox_exporter user account. We’ll use this account throughout the tutorial to run Blackbox Exporter and to isolate the ownership on appropriate core files and directories. This ensures Blackbox Exporter can't access and modify data it doesn't own.
Create these user with the useradd command using the --no-create-home and --shell /bin/false flags so that these users can’t log into the server:
sudo useradd --no-create-home --shell /bin/false blackbox_exporter
With the users in place, let’s download and configure Blackbox Exporter.

Installing Blackbox Exporter

First, download the latest stable version of Blackbox Exporter to your home directory. You can find the latest binaries along with their checksums on the Prometheus Download page.
cd ~
curl -LO https://github.com/prometheus/blackbox_exporter/releases/download/v0.12.0/blackbox_exporter-0.19.0.linux-amd64.tar.gz
Before unpacking the archive, verify the file’s checksums using the following sha256sum command:
sha256sum blackbox_exporter-0.19.0.linux-amd64.tar.gz
Compare the output from this command with the checksum on the Prometheus download page to ensure that your file is both genuine and not corrupted:
If the checksums don’t match, remove the downloaded file and repeat the preceding steps to re-download the file.
When you’re sure the checksums match, unpack the archive:
tar xvf blackbox_exporter-0.19.0.linux-amd64.tar.gz
This creates a directory called blackbox_exporter-0.19.0.linux-amd64, containing the blackbox_exporter binary file, a license, and example files.
Copy the binary file to the /usr/local/bin directory.
sudo mv ./blackbox_exporter-0.19.0.linux-amd64/blackbox_exporter /usr/local/bin
Set the user and group ownership on the binary to the blackbox_exporter user, ensuring non-root users can’t modify or replace the file:
sudo chown blackbox_exporter:blackbox_exporter /usr/local/bin/blackbox_exporter
Lastly, we’ll remove the archive and unpacked directory, as they’re no longer needed.
rm -rf ~/blackbox_exporter-0.19.0.linux-amd64.tar.gz ~/blackbox_exporter-0.19.0.linux-amd64
Next, let’s configure Blackbox Exporter to probe endpoints over the HTTP protocol and then run it.

Configuring and Running Blackbox Exporter

Let’s create a configuration file defining how Blackbox Exporter should check endpoints. We’ll also create a systemd unit file so we can manage Blackbox’s service using systemd.
We’ll specify the list of endpoints to probe in the Prometheus configuration in the next step.
First, create the directory for Blackbox Exporter’s configuration. Per Linux conventions, configuration files go in the /etc directory, so we’ll use this directory to hold the Blackbox Exporter configuration file as well:
sudo mkdir /etc/blackbox_exporter
Then set the ownership of this directory to the blackbox_exporter user you created in Step 1:
sudo chown blackbox_exporter:blackbox_exporter /etc/blackbox_exporter
In the newly-created directory, create the blackbox.yml file which will hold the Blackbox Exporter configuration settings:
sudo nano /etc/blackbox_exporter/blackbox.yml
We’ll configure Blackbox Exporter to use the default http prober to probe endpoints. Probers define how Blackbox Exporter checks if an endpoint is running. The http prober checks endpoints by sending a HTTP request to the endpoint and testing its response code. You can select which HTTP method to use for probing, as well as which status codes to accept as successful responses. Other popular probers include the tcp prober for probing via the TCP protocol, the icmp prober for probing via the ICMP protocol and the dns prober for checking DNS entries.
For this tutorial, we’ll use the http prober to probe the endpoint running on port 8080 over the HTTP GET method. By default, the prober assumes that valid status codes in the 2xx range are valid, so we don’t need to provide a list of valid status codes.
We’ll configure a timeout of 5 seconds, which means Blackbox Exporter will wait 5 seconds for the response before reporting a failure. Depending on your application type, choose any value that matches your needs.
Note: Blackbox Exporter’s configuration file uses the YAML format, which forbids using tabs and strictly requires using two spaces for indentation. If the configuration file is formatted incorrectly, Blackbox Exporter will fail to start up.
Add the following configuration to the file:
/etc/blackbox_exporter/blackbox.yml
modules:
http_2xx:
prober: http
timeout: 5s
http:
valid_status_codes: []
method: GET
You can find more information about the configuration options in the the Blackbox Exporter’s documentation.
Save the file and exit your text editor.
Before you create the service file, set the user and group ownership on the configuration file to the blackbox_exporter user created in Step 1.
sudo chown blackbox_exporter:blackbox_exporter /etc/blackbox_exporter/blackbox.yml
Now create the service file so you can manage Blackbox Exporter using systemd:
sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/blackbox_exporter.service
Add the following content to the file:
/etc/systemd/system/blackbox_exporter.service
[Unit]
Description=Blackbox Exporter
Wants=network-online.target
After=network-online.target
[Service]
User=blackbox_exporter
Group=blackbox_exporter
Type=simple
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/blackbox_exporter --config.file /etc/blackbox_exporter/blackbox.yml
[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target
This service file tells systemd to run Blackbox Exporter as the blackbox_exporter user with the configuration file located at /etc/blackbox_exporter/blackbox.yml. The details of systemd service files are beyond the scope of this tutorial, but if you’d like to learn more see the Understanding Systemd Units and Unit Files tutorial.
Save the file and exit your text editor.
Finally, reload systemd to use your newly-created service file:
sudo systemctl daemon-reload
Now start Blackbox Exporter:
sudo systemctl start blackbox_exporter
Make sure it started successfully by checking the service’s status:
sudo systemctl status blackbox_exporter
The output contains information about Blackbox Exporter’s process, including the main process identifier (PID), memory use, logs and more.
Output● blackbox_exporter.service - Blackbox Exporter
Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/blackbox_exporter.service; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running) since Thu 2018-04-05 17:48:58 UTC; 5s ago
Main PID: 5869 (blackbox_export)
Tasks: 4
Memory: 968.0K
CPU: 9ms
CGroup: /system.slice/blackbox_exporter.service
└─5869 /usr/local/bin/blackbox_exporter --config.file /etc/blackbox_exporter/blackbox.yml
If the service’s status isn’t active (running), follow the on-screen logs and retrace the preceding steps to resolve the problem before continuing the tutorial.
Lastly, enable the service to make sure Blackbox Exporter will start when the server restarts:
sudo systemctl enable blackbox_exporter
Now that Blackbox Exporter is fully configured and running, we can configure Prometheus to collect metrics about probing requests to our endpoint, so we can create alerts based on those metrics and set up notifications for alerts using Alertmanager.

Configuring Prometheus To Scrape Blackbox Exporter

As mentioned in Step 3, the list of endpoints to be probed is located in the Prometheus configuration file as part of the Blackbox Exporter’s targets directive. In this step you’ll configure Prometheus to use Blackbox Exporter to scrape the Nginx web server running on port 80 that you configured in the prerequisite tutorials.
Open the Prometheus configuration file in your editor:
sudo nano /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
At this point, it should look like the following:
/etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
global:
scrape_interval: 15s
scrape_configs:
- job_name: 'prometheus'
scrape_interval: 5s
static_configs:
- targets: ['localhost:9090']
- job_name: 'node_exporter'
scrape_interval: 5s
static_configs:
- targets: ['<YOUR_NODE_SERVER_IP>:9100']
At the end of the scrape_configs directive, add the following entry, which will tell Prometheus to probe the endpoint running on the local port 80 using the Blackbox Exporter’s module http_2xx, configured in Step 3.
/etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
...
- job_name: 'blackbox'
metrics_path: /probe
params:
module: [http_2xx]
static_configs:
- targets:
- http://localhost:80
relabel_configs:
- source_labels: [__address__]
target_label: __param_target
- source_labels: [__param_target]
target_label: instance
- target_label: __address__
replacement: localhost:9115
By default, Blackbox Exporter runs on port 9115 with metrics available on the /probe endpoint.
The scrape_configs configuration for Blackbox Exporter differs from the configuration for other exporters. The most notable difference is the targets directive, which lists the endpoints being probed instead of the exporter’s address. The exporter’s address is specified using the appropriate set of __address__ labels.
You’ll find a detailed explanation of the relabel directives in the Prometheus documentation.
Your Prometheus configuration file will now look like this:Prometheus config file - /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
global:
scrape_interval: 15s
scrape_configs:
- job_name: 'prometheus'
scrape_interval: 5s
static_configs:
- targets: ['localhost:9090']
- job_name: 'node_exporter'
scrape_interval: 5s
static_configs:
- targets: ['<YOUR_NODE_SERVER_IP>:9100']
- job_name: 'blackbox'
metrics_path: /probe
params:
module: [http_2xx]
static_configs:
- targets:
- http://localhost:80
- http://<YOUR_NODE_SERVER_IP>:9100
relabel_configs:
- source_labels: [__address__]
target_label: __param_target
- source_labels: [__param_target]
target_label: instance
- target_label: __address__
replacement: localhost:9115
Save the file and close your text editor.
Restart Prometheus to put the changes into effect:
sudo systemctl restart prometheus
Make sure it’s running as expected by checking the Prometheus service status:
sudo systemctl status prometheus
If the service’s status isn’t active (running), follow the on-screen logs and retrace the preceding steps to resolve the problem before continuing the tutorial.
At this point, you’ve configured Prometheus to scrape metrics from Blackbox Exporter.

Installing Grafana

Grafana is an open-source data visualization and monitoring tool that we will integrate with Prometheus to provide a graphical representation of the data being pulled from the Node Server.
It will require the following:
  • A registered Domain name from a Domain Registrar.
  • An A record with your_domain pointing to your server’s public IP address.
  • An A record with www.your_domain pointing to your server’s public IP address.
  • Nginx installed and configured
  • Installation of a Let's Encrypt SSL certificate with Certbot
  • Ensure port 443 is open for the Monitoring server within your AWS security groups
  • You may also need to open port 80 within your AWS Security groups temporarily until SSL has been configured and port 443 is available

Complete Nginx Configuration

The first step is to install Nginx which we have partially completed prior to installing Prometheus. We will pick up where we left off. These steps are taken from Digital Ocean's Nginx guide here.
We can check with the systemd init system to make sure the service is running by typing:
systemctl status nginx
You should receive the following showing the service is active
● nginx.service - A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running) since Fri 2020-04-20 16:08:19 UTC; 3 days ago
Docs: man:nginx(8)
Main PID: 2369 (nginx)
Tasks: 2 (limit: 1153)
Memory: 3.5M
CGroup: /system.slice/nginx.service
├─2369 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on;
└─2380 nginx: worker process
When using the Nginx web server, server blocks (similar to virtual hosts in Apache) can be used to encapsulate configuration details and host more than one domain from a single server. We will set up a domain called your_domain, but you should replace this with your own domain name.
Nginx on Ubuntu 20.04 has one server block enabled by default that is configured to serve documents out of a directory at /var/www/html. While this works well for a single site, it can become unwieldy if you are hosting multiple sites. Instead of modifying /var/www/html, let’s create a directory structure within /var/www for our your_domain site, leaving /var/www/html in place as the default directory to be served if a client request doesn’t match any other sites.
Create the directory for your_domain as follows, using the -p flag to create any necessary parent directories:
sudo mkdir -p /var/www/your_domain/html
Next, assign ownership of the directory with the $USER environment variable:
sudo chown -R $USER:$USER /var/www/your_domain/html
The permissions of your web roots should be correct if you haven’t modified your umask value, which sets default file permissions. To ensure that your permissions are correct and allow the owner to read, write, and execute the files while granting only read and execute permissions to groups and others, you can input the following command:
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/your_domain
Next, create a sample index.html page using nano or your favorite editor:
nano /var/www/your_domain/html/index.html
Inside, add the following sample HTML:/var/www/your_domain/html/index.html
<html>
<head>
<title>Welcome to your_domain!</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>Success! The your_domain server block is working!</h1>
</body>
</html>
Save and close the file by typing CTRL and X then Y and ENTER when you are finished.
In order for Nginx to serve this content, it’s necessary to create a server block with the correct directives. Instead of modifying the default configuration file directly, let’s make a new one at /etc/nginx/sites-available/your_domain:
sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/your_domain
Paste in the following configuration block, which is similar to the default, but updated for our new directory and domain name:/etc/nginx/sites-available/your_domain
server {
listen 80;
listen [::]:80;
root /var/www/your_domain/html;
index index.html index.htm index.nginx-debian.html;
server_name your_domain www.your_domain;
location / {
try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
}
}
Notice that we’ve updated the root configuration to our new directory, and the server_name to our domain name.
Next, let’s enable the file by creating a link from it to the sites-enabled directory, which Nginx reads from during startup:
sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/your_domain /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
Two server blocks are now enabled and configured to respond to requests based on their listen and server_name directives (you can read more about how Nginx processes these directives here):
  • your_domain: Will respond to requests for your_domain and www.your_domain.
  • default: Will respond to any requests on port 80 that do not match the other two blocks.
To avoid a possible hash bucket memory problem that can arise from adding additional server names, it is necessary to adjust a single value in the /etc/nginx/nginx.conf file. Open the file:
sudo nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
Find the server_names_hash_bucket_size directive and remove the # symbol to uncomment the line. If you are using nano, you can quickly search for words in the file by pressing CTRL and w./etc/nginx/nginx.conf
...
http {
...
server_names_hash_bucket_size 64;
...
}
...
Save and close the file when you are finished.
Next, test to make sure that there are no syntax errors in any of your Nginx files:
sudo nginx -t
If there aren’t any problems, restart Nginx to enable your changes:
sudo systemctl restart nginx
Nginx should now be serving your domain name. You can test this by navigating to http://your_domain, where you should see something like this:
Nginx first server block

Install Let's Encrypt SSL Certificates with Certbot

Let's Encrypt is a free SSL service that can be installed on Linux hosts as an easy way to secure websites. The installation steps are taken from Certbot's guide here.
Ensure your version of snapd is up-to-date
sudo snap install core; sudo snap refresh core
Install certbot
sudo snap install --classic certbot
Execute the following instruction on the command line on the machine to ensure that the certbot command can be run.
sudo ln -s /snap/bin/certbot /usr/bin/certbot
Run this command to get a certificate and have Certbot edit your Nginx configuration automatically to serve it, turning on HTTPS access in a single step.
sudo certbot --nginx
select both domains by entering 1,2
Choose to re-direct HTTP to HTTPS
Congrats! your certificate has been installed.
Optional: Test the certificate's strength using Qualys.
Note: The certificate will expire in three months and would normally auto-renew. You can test the auto-renewal process will work by entering the following command
You can test automatic renewal for your certificates by running this command:
sudo certbot renew --dry-run

Configuring Grafana

Download the Grafana GPG key with wget, then pipe the output to apt-key. This will add the key to your APT installation’s list of trusted keys, which will allow you to download and verify the GPG-signed Grafana package:
wget -q -O - https://packages.grafana.com/gpg.key | sudo apt-key add -
In this command, the option -q turns off the status update message for wget, and -O outputs the file that you downloaded to the terminal. These two options ensure that only the contents of the downloaded file are pipelined to apt-key.
Next, add the Grafana repository to your APT sources:
sudo add-apt-repository "deb https://packages.grafana.com/oss/deb stable main"
Refresh your APT cache to update your package lists:
sudo apt update
You can now proceed with the installation:
sudo apt install grafana
Once Grafana is installed, use systemctl to start the Grafana server:
sudo systemctl start grafana-server
Next, verify that Grafana is running by checking the service’s status:
sudo systemctl status grafana-server
You will receive output similar to this:
Output● grafana-server.service - Grafana instance
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/grafana-server.service; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running) since Thu 2020-05-21 08:08:10 UTC; 4s ago
Docs: http://docs.grafana.org
Main PID: 15982 (grafana-server)
Tasks: 7 (limit: 1137)
...
This output contains information about Grafana’s process, including its status, Main Process Identifier (PID), and more. active (running) shows that the process is running correctly.
Lastly, enable the service to automatically start Grafana on boot:
sudo systemctl enable grafana-server
You will receive the following output:
OutputSynchronizing state of grafana-server.service with SysV service script with /lib/systemd/systemd-sysv-install.
Executing: /lib/systemd/systemd-sysv-install enable grafana-server
Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/multi-user.target.wants/grafana-server.service → /usr/lib/systemd/system/grafana-server.service.
This confirms that systemd has created the necessary symbolic links to autostart Grafana.
Grafana is now installed and ready for use. Next, you wil secure your connection to Grafana with a reverse proxy and SSL certificate.

Setting Up the Reverse Proxy

Using an SSL certificate will ensure that your data is secure by encrypting the connection to and from Grafana. But, to make use of this connection, you’ll first need to reconfigure Nginx as a reverse proxy for Grafana.
Open the Nginx configuration file you created when you set up the Nginx server block with Let’s Encrypt in the Prerequisites. You can use any text editor, but for this tutorial we’ll use nano:
sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/your_domain
Locate the following block:/etc/nginx/sites-available/your_domain
...
location / {
try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
}
...
Because you already configured Nginx to communicate over SSL and because all web traffic to your server already passes through Nginx, you just need to tell Nginx to forward all requests to Grafana, which runs on port 3000 by default.
Delete the existing try_files line in this location block and replace it with the following proxy_pass option:/etc/nginx/sites-available/your_domain
...
location / {
proxy_pass http://localhost:3000;
}
...
This will map the proxy to the appropriate port. Once you’re done, save and close the file by pressing CTRL+X, Y, and then ENTER if you’re using nano.
Now, test the new settings to make sure everything is configured correctly:
sudo nginx -t
You will receive the following output:
Outputnginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful
Finally, activate the changes by reloading Nginx:
sudo systemctl reload nginx
You can now access the default Grafana login screen by pointing your web browser to https://your_domain. If you’re unable to reach Grafana, verify that your firewall is set to allow traffic on port 443 and then re-trace the previous instructions.
With the connection to Grafana encrypted, you can now implement additional security measures, starting with changing Grafana’s default administrative credentials.

Updating Credentials

Because every Grafana installation uses the same administrative credentials by default, it is a best practice to change your login information as soon as possible. In this step, you’ll update the credentials to improve security.
Start by navigating to https://your_domain from your web browser. This will bring up the default login screen where you’ll see the Grafana logo, a form asking you to enter an Email or username and Password, a Log in button, and a Forgot your password? link.
Grafana Login
Enter admin into both the Email or username and Password fields and then click on the Log in button.
On the next screen, you’ll be asked to make your account more secure by changing the default password:
Change Password
Enter the password you’d like to start using into the New password and Confirm new password fields.
From here, you can click Submit to save the new information or press Skip to skip this step. If you skip, you will be prompted to change the password next time you log in.
In order to increase the security of your Grafana setup, click Submit. You’ll go to the Welcome to Grafana dashboard:
Home Dashboard
You’ve now secured your account by changing the default credentials. Next, you will make changes to your Grafana configuration so that nobody can create a new Grafana account without your permission.

Disabling Grafana Registrations and Anonymous Access

Grafana provides options that allow visitors to create user accounts for themselves and preview dashboards without registering. When Grafana isn’t accessible via the internet or when it’s working with publicly available data like service statuses, you may want to allow these features. However, when using Grafana online to work with sensitive data, anonymous access could be a security problem. To fix this problem, make some changes to your Grafana configuration.
Start by opening Grafana’s main configuration file for editing:
sudo nano /etc/grafana/grafana.ini
Locate the following allow_sign_up directive under the [users] heading:/etc/grafana/grafana.ini
...
[users]
# disable user signup / registration
;allow_sign_up = true
...
Enabling this directive with true adds a Sign Up button to the login screen, allowing users to register themselves and access Grafana.
Disabling this directive with false removes the Sign Up button and strengthens Grafana’s security and privacy.