If you know what you are doing with managing a web hosting server and have enough Linux knowledge to find your way around, then you can quickly spin yourself up an affordable VDS (Virtual Dedicated Server) for hosting your website, app, databases or emails using Google Cloud. The cost would come at a fraction of a provider of solid dedicated servers, but you need to know what you are doing, because you are the support when you host with Google Cloud.
You can sign up for a 1 year free trial which gives you US$300 to spend in trial credits, which is well and truly enough to run a solid VM (Virtual Machine) for hosting websites, apps, emails etc for a year. You do need to enter a credit card number however, but you dont get charges anything until you either run out of trial credits and/or upgrade to a paid package. Ive been using my trial credits for almost a year, which equated to AU$450 roughly when i signed up for my trial and have been running a 2xCPU 2GB RAM dedicated server for a few websites and an app of mine as well as testing out features and spinning up multiple VM’s for different purposes. I still have just over $100 left of those credits at the time of writing. Its provided me with a great hosting environment for almost a year.
Once youve signed up for a trial or paid account, you want to use the Compute Engine menu and navigate to VM Instances
On the page you are taken to, you will see listed any instances that have already been created, as well as the options to create a new instance, import instances etc.
From here you can also manage settings of existing instances, start them, stop them or reboot them etc.
To create a new instance, click the CREATE INSTANCE button at the top of the page.
From the next page you will need to configure your new VM instance before it is created. You will need to set details such as the instance name, which needs to be lower case with no spaces, the chosen region and zone for the new VM instance and configure the machines compute specs (CPU and RAM etc). You can choose from pre defined setups or create a custom setup.
You will need to set up your boot disk, which is where you choose the operating system you want to use, disk options such as size and SSD or standard storage.
within the boot disk setup options, you will have a huge range of different operating systems to choose from or specific application setups. You also need to set the boot disk type and the size of the storage. You can always increase the storage later, but you cant reduce it easily.
Most web hosting servers (well decent ones) are hosted on Linux operating systems as they are known to have low resource requirements and are more secure and durable than Windows based servers etc. This is why you will see such a large amount of differnt Linux builds available to choose from based on the server you want to set up.
You will end up with sudo access to configure the server manual afterwards.
You can also configure other options such as setting custom firewall rules for this instance from here. You need to however have created the firewall rules already, I posted a guide on how to do this here, which can help you get this set up if needed.
You then just click on create and wait a couple of minuted while your VM instance is created.
Once the instance has been created, you can use the SSH button to connect to it using Google Clouds browser based shell terminal and start configuring your server.
You can also quickly and easily spin up pre built machine setups for different purposed, such as a LEMP stack web server in less than 1 minute. Just use the search bar at the top of the VM Instances page to search for your desired stack.
You can then spin up your desired stack pre configured and ready to use within moments.