Check-in 11: Cloud server

23 April 2019   PDF version

For this check-in, I’d like you to allocate a virtual Linux server from a cloud provider. I’m going to recommend DigitalOcean, although you could go with another provider if you wish. Their services start at just $5/month, for which you’ll need a credit card.

(The course will be over in a month, but you’ll have to remember to destroy the server to stop being charged monthly. If signing up with a credit card is problematic for anyone, just contact me privately and I’ll arrange to pay the fee for you.)

Here are the rough instructions:

  1. Create an account at You don’t have to use your LIU email.
  2. In your account security settings, add one or more SSH public keys. This is essentially the same thing you did for GitLab, so you can add the same key that’s stored in your local VM. Run this:
    atom ~/.ssh/

    and then copy the entire text that pops up in Atom into the “SSH key content” on DigitalOcean (it should begin with ssh-rsa AAA …)

  3. Next, use the green Create button to create a droplet (their term for a cloud server).
  4. There will be a number of options to choose. The most important is the Operating System. I strongly recommend Ubuntu. The version that’s selected by default will be the latest LTS (Long Term Support) release, which isn’t a bad idea. But you can select something a bit more recent if you prefer.
  5. Stick with the Starter plan, but for the machine configurations, scroll the carousel to the left to find the cheaper options. The $5/month configuration will do just fine.
  6. You don’t need backups (for now), or block storage. The data center can be anywhere in the world that you prefer.
  7. The only other setting that’s important is “Add your SSH keys.” You should check the box next to the key(s) you uploaded previously. This will allow you to log in.
  8. Finalize with the big green Create button at the bottom. You should see a scroll bar as the machine is being allocated. When finished, it will pop up with an IP address.
  9. Send me the IP address by email.
  10. Also, try logging in from your local VM’s terminal (or wherever you got your public key):
    ssh root@

    (Substitute your droplet’s IP address in place of