koding.com has a free VM running Ubuntu. The specs are pretty good, 1 gig memory for example. They have a terminal online you can access through their website, or use SSH. The VM will go to sleep approximately 20 minutes after you log out. The reason is to discourage users from running live production code on the VM. The VM resides behind a proxy. Running web servers that only speak HTTP (port 80) should work just fine, but I think you'll get into a lot of trouble whenever you want to work directly with other ports. Many mind-like alternatives offer similar setups. Good luck!
You'll also want to determine how long you'll need VPS web hosting. If you need hosting for a short time period—say, less than a month or two—you'll typically receive a refund should you cancel your hosting within 60 days. These money-back guarantees vary from web host to web host. For example, Company X may offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, while Company Y may offer a lengthy 90-day money-back guarantee. As always, it's best to shop around for the features that best suit your web hosting needs.
Choose our optional all-SSD storage arrays backing our VPC. Our Premium SSD storage is 25x faster than standard storage. Solid State Drives (SSD) are ideal for high performance, transactional databases or I/O intensive workloads. SSD storage arrays also provide 256-bit data at-rest encryption, making it optimal for security and compliance based workloads.
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VPS hosting is like you are living in an apartment complex. It means that other people are living in the same building, but you have your own secure apartment. You will get more room and restrictions will be fewer as compared to living in a dorm. It also means that if your neighbour is misbehaving, it is the problem of owner of building, not yours.
Virtual private servers connect shared Web hosting services and dedicated hosting services by filling the gap between them. Because virtual dedicated servers can have their own copy of the operating system, VPS provides the user with super-user privileges in the operating system. VPS enables the user to install any kind of software that is capable of running on that operating system.
Alrighty than, wait to see if they'll be adding support for smartnofes. In case they don't have plans to include SMART soon, than since you're good with computers I suggest you rent a managed VPS and just dive in it. Once you get the hang of it, it's not hard. But if you will use it only for your smartnofe, than turn off any other service to minimize the attack surface (like apache, mail and other servers you won't need).
cPanel will do almost everything for you (until things go wrong) but you still need to know how to use bash and yum, how to secure your VPS, and how to troubleshoot your own connectivity issues at a minimum if you decide to roll with an unmanaged service... also, whenever WHM/cPanel sends you an e-mail alert you should read it and follow any links to WHM/cPanel documentation - our support team had far too many cPanel tickets in which the subscriber forwarded along the alert after ignoring the link which described how to solve the problem.
You can easily customize the network configuration for your Amazon VPC. For example, you can create a public-facing subnet for your web servers that has access to the Internet, and place your backend systems such as databases or application servers in a private-facing subnet with no Internet access. You can leverage multiple layers of security, including security groups and network access control lists, to help control access to Amazon EC2 instances in each subnet.
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