fyi: Consider reading this first (newer blog post): How to buy a new domain and SSL cert from NameCheap, a Server from Digital Ocean and configure it.
Why do I need a free Development IDE/VM
- You already have heaps of sub domains/sites/blogs on one CPanel domain and you don’t want to slow down your server anymore.
- You need a new collaboration web server setup in minutes.
- You want a server where you have full control to install the latest widgets (NGNIX, NodeJS etc).
- You want a single interface where you can deploy, develop and test online.
- You want to save money
- You want to access and edit your sites from anywhere.
Now there is no need to spend valuable development time on setting up hardware/software platform. You can create, build and run almost any development stack in minutes. Cloud9 maintain the server and you have full control it.
Signing up for a C9 account.
Cloud 9 offer a number of hosting plans (one free) with a range of hardware resources for when you want to scale up. The free tier is great if you want to keep your development environment closed. Use this link and get $19 free credit https://c9.io/c/DLtakOtNcba
Before you connect to your digital ocean VM connect to the server via the console in the digital ocdan admin pane (you may need to reset your root password) and then install NodeJS (Required by c9.io IDE).
- curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_6.x | sudo -E bash –
- sudo apt-get install -y nodejs
- node -v
Now you will have node v6.3.0
Create a development Workspace.
Once you create a Cloud 9 account you can create a VM workspace. You can choose some common software packages to installed by default. Don’t worry you can install anything you want later from the command line in the VM.
How simple is that, a new development environment in minutes.
You can edit new code, play with WordPress or NodeJS all from the one Cloud9 IDE. The Cloud 9 IDE allows you to open a “bash terminal” tab, folder list, web browser, code window and debug tools (all from the web).
Code on the left, WordPress on the right, terminal on the bottom 🙂
You can Install what you want
Because you have access to the Linux bash terminal you can for example type the following to install an NGNIX web server.
- sudo apt-get update
- sudo apt-get install nginx
- sudo service nginx start
Full Bash Terminal
As usual installing stuff in Linux requires loads of googling and editing config files so beware.
What are the downsides of a c9.io Ubuntu server?
Your development environment (public of private) is mostly off limits to the outside world unless you invite people in who have a Cloud 9 account. This is great if you want to develop a customers website off the grid and keep is secure or share the development with other developers. Cloud 9 don’t really have a “goto production plan” so you will need to find a host to deploy to when you are ready.
Luckily this is where http://www.digitalocean.com comes in, Digital Ocean allow you to create a real/public VM (just like Cloud 9) and best of all you can connect it to the Cloud 9 IDE..
The only downside is you will need to move on from the free Cloud 9 account and pay $9 a month to allow you to connect securely (via SSH) to your new (Real) Digital Ocean VM. On the up side the $19 month plan gives you twice the ram (1GB) and 10x the storage (10GB) and you can have 2 premium (private accounts).
Signing up for a Digital OceanAccount
The cheapest Digital Ocean Hosting plan is $5 a month. If you want $10 free credit at Digital Ocean (two months free) please use this link: https://www.digitalocean.com/?refcode=99a5082b6de5
Granting SSH Access (before you create a server (droplet))
Tip: Add your Cloud 9 SSH key to your account before creating a droplet (VM). I added my SSH key when the VM/Droplet was create and I could not connect to it from Cloud 9. I then deleted the droplet, added the SSH key to my Digital Ocean account here then created the Droplet (VM) and all was ok. You can find your SSH key on the front page of your cloud 9 desktop.
This is the magic option, if you skip this you will be emailed a password to your VM and you will be on your own connecting to it with a secure terminal window. If you add your Cloud 9 SSH key ( found in your Cloud 9 IDE https://cloud.digitalocean.com/settings/security ) you can connect to and control your new Digital Ocean VM from the Cloud 9 UI.
Now you can create a server (droplet)
A digital ocean server can be setup in minutes. If you only use it for 2 weeks you will only be charged for 2 weeks. If you use my link your first 2 months are free (if you select a $5 server).
Your server should be created in well under 5 minutes. Write down your VM’s IP.
Connecting your C9 account to Digital Ocean Droplet
Now go back to Cloud 9 and login. Go here ( https://c9.io/account/ssh ) and add your SSH key from Digital Ocean.
Cloud 9 guide on setting up SSH on your server: https://docs.c9.io/docs/running-your-own-ssh-workspace
fyi: Here is a more recent post of how to connect Cloud 9 with AWS.
Create a new workspace with these settings (but use your IP from digital ocean) to connect to your new Digital Ocean VM.
Now you can develop like a pro. Cloud 9 will allow you to login to your development environment from anywhere and resume where you left off.
Traps and Tips
- Consider buying this course: https://www.udemy.com/all-about-nodejs/?dtcode=9TQkocT33Eck
- Get your VM/Droplets right (if they don’t work as expected delete them and start again).
- Know how to safely shutdown a Linux VM.
- If you receive the error “Could not execute node.js on email@example.com bash: /usr/bin/nodejs:” in C9 when connecting to the server try installing node via the digital oceans manual console window.
Connecting your new Cloud IP to a CPanel sub domain
If you have CPanel domain elsewhere you can link your new Digital Ocean Cloud VM IP to a new sub domain.
- Login to your CPanel domain UI.
- Click Simple DNS Zone Editor
- Type the sub domain name (swap my domain.com to your domain).
- Enter the IP for your Digital Ocean domain (you get this from the Digital Ocean account page).
- Click Add a record.
- Now when someone types http://newcloud.mydomain.com they get redirected to your new cloud domain but the URL stays the same (how professional is that).
- You can add multiple A name records pointing to the same IP.
$19 a month gives me a kick arse www.c9.io development environment and a few VMs.
$5 a month gives me my own real VM that I can scale up.
You can easily deploy an SSD cloud server in 55 seconds for $5 a month. Sign up using my link and receive $10 in credit: https://www.digitalocean.com/?refcode=99a5082b6de5
After a few weeks, do check your website with https://www.shodan.io and see if it has open software or is known to hackers.
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