digitaloceanThis article is a little geeky but those who have ever set up servers, installed website based applications or simply wanted to play around with that type of stuff should continue on.

Over the past few weeks there have been several articles in the news about a politician using a private email server instead of their government issued email account. This led me to some researching into what it would take to get my own email server running.  I’ll skip the email portion as that is A LOT of work but surprisingly, setting up a server online can be done in under a minute!

  • My server was set up in Amsterdam.  For fun I moved the installation to a machine in San Francisco.  I also have the choices of New York, Singapore and London and can move it around as much as I want.
  • I set up Owncloud in one click.  (Tutorial)  There are over 20 one click applications that can be installed.  Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal are some content management systems included.  You can also one click a LAMP server (comes with Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP already set up).
  • Operating system choices include Ubuntu, FreeBSD, Fedora, Debian, Coreos and Centos.
  • I set up SSL for free. (Tutorial)  Using a service from, I was able to obtain a personal use SSL certificate and install it for free.  Https:// without paying anything!
  • I set up VNC to remotely control the machine with a graphical interface. (Tutorial)
  • I set up SSH to connect securely. (Tutorial)
  • Best of all…I didn’t pay a penny.  And at the rates I’m being charged, I won’t pay anything for about 2-3 months! ($10 free referral)  If I cancel before then, I will never pay anything at all.

The service I’m using can be found at  As mentioned above, there is a $10 credit if you are referred by a current user, so help yourself to $10 by clicking the referral link. Digital Ocean isn’t the only option (Google seems to offer a lot more advanced options) but Digital Ocean was simple to set up and had a ton of online tutorials and guides to help the new user.  The tutorials linked above are easy to follow so I won’t waste your time going over them here.  Enjoy.

P.S. Your server will have an IP address assigned to it based on which location you deploy. I didn’t like typing in the IP address each time and some domain prices are so cheap I just added one (Tutorial). So far this has been my only cost but a lot of domains are on sale right now so I picked one up for a little over $5.  Check it out if you want…   Seriously, its not yours. Its mine!