I was asked by a friend to help him out with his project recently. He needed a trustable server guy to do all the back-end work because it involves payment and all that. I decided to take the chance to learn NodeJS, as well as handle all that server admin stuff that I have always thought of doing but was too intimidated to, because of how complex Amazon Services were.
Then, a senior (who happens to be a very awesome server guy) told me about Digital Ocean.
I’ve only ever heard of VPS thanks to my ex-company using it, and at that time they already hit the ground running with Amazon AWS and EC2 and all that difficult stuff. I needed a place to get my feet wet, and this is it. What is DO (Digital Ocean)? It’s a cheap VPS hosting. Uhm… I’m not familiar with this stuff, but it’s like a blank slate for you to do whatever you want on.
Typical webhosting services provide a CPanel or some very restrictive SSH access, which limits the things you can do for your server, like installing necessary software or tinkering with system settings. Most of the time, they have pre-installed services for you (e.g. an older, stabler Ruby on Rails, or WordPress) and you can’t change them because you don’t have the permission to.
Previously, I used OpenShift and Heroku, but found them to be opinionated and limiting, especially since I didn’t know what I could (or couldn’t) do. Although those are free services, I think paying a mere 5USD per month for DO is a better investment for learning and future projects.
Anyway, this is just a post to say I like DO very much. The control panel is minimal and easy to use. The “droplets” & “snapshot” feature is all I need. They have tutorials for almost anything to get you started. I installed NodeJS, MySQL, Git, setup user accounts other than root, and other Linux-y stuff, which I haven’t done in 3 years, all rather easily, thanks to the easy-to-follow tutorials.
With the way things are going, my hopes to write a NodeJS game server one day doesn’t feel that impossible after all.