Get started with cloud hosting for free

Did you know that most cloud computing providers offer free hosting to get you started? My personal favourite is Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) and their free tier when linked to an EC2 instance. You can read about the offering direct on the AWS site here.

It’s a great way to get into the world of cloud hosting and elastic computing without any financial commitment. You can run your server almost 24 x 7 for up to 12 months and not pay a cent. In order to take advantage you need to sign up for an AWS account and enter billing details. You also need to be mindful not to leave the server running when you don’t need it as it may start accumulating costs.

We had a great example of this for my son this past weekend. He’s been talking about setting up a Minecraft server for some time. Several of his mates have had a go and he wanted to get involved. All his friends had set their server up using their own computer connection at home so game speed is limited by the speed of their own network connections. I helped him setup his server, leaning about several strategies for cloud and server computing.

We discussed and chose the following specifications for his server;

  • Asia Pacific – Sydney hosting
  • t2.micro instance
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Connect via RDP
  • Install, Google Chrome, Java and Minecraft
  • Open ports in AWS and on Windows Firewall for connectivity
  • Test everything is working

The t2.micro instance is probably not going to support his needs once he’s ready to game but it’s getting him used to what is needed and also allows him to test it with his friends.

Once he’s ready to launch with all his friends, he wants to learn how to upgrade (or launch new) instance and possibly assign an elastic IP address.

If you’d like help or advice on how to get started with AWS, please contact me today.