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Six Things You Can Do With A VPS (plus a free $100 credit!)

In the spirit of Christmas, I thought I would get back into some basic blogging. I've been using Virtual Private Servers (VPSes) for over 10 years now, and can speak to their uses. Right away, I can think of at least SIX different uses for a VPS, whether you are a web application developer, bug bounty hunter, security researcher, linux enthusiast, data scientist, or just a plain old chatter. If you need convincing as to why you should really get a VPS to perform certain tasks, read on, there will be a link to my VPS code at the bottom of this blog post:

  1. Host your own website, webapp, or server

    This one is the most obvious use-case scenario. It is easy to deploy an apache or nginx instance and set up your own website on a linux machine, but did you know that you can host your own email server, minecraft server, FTP server, icecast music streaming server, or any other kind of server on a VPS? Well, you can! If you've ever been interested in serving content from a DIY-perspective, this is your track path.

  2. Perform bug bounty / hacking workflows

    Personally, I think doing recon and attacks from a home Internet IP is kind of tacky. It makes sense to designate a box as specifically for attack-purposes. When doing research, one might consider spinning up a fresh VPS before performing different scanning operations. For instance, I like to perform nmap and masscan scans from a debian VPS, and then to rsync the results to my local machine. This way, I offload the task of scanning to another machine, which frees up my local machine's resources for other purposes. This can be said for every topic here, technically, but especially so for computationally-intensive automation.

    To combine with number one, if you have a pro-version of Burp Suite, you can host your own Collaborator server on a VPS as well.

  3. App development

    Lets say you're on a Windows machine. You could start to develop a webapp this way, via .NET, but why? Gross. You'll eventually need to deploy it to a remote server anyway to deploy it, so why not do so from the beginning? Separation of concerns means you can keep your development environment separate from your local machine.

  4. Big data computation

    I have had a number of data-science students have trouble understanding this one, even though it is obvious to me. Let's say you have a big "job" to compute. Millions of rows, hundreds of columns, some crazy machine-learning thing written in Python. Why the heck would you do this locally in Jupyter? You're wasting so many cpu cycles by attempting to do this. If you format your job 'properly' then you can just set up a script, launch a VPS, and then run your job on the VPS without locking-up your local machine.

  5. Mine cryptocurrency

    While the profitability of this one is certainly questionable, it is nevertheless a thing you can do on your VPS. In a way, it might be even more secure than purchasing on an exchange. Mining Monero is trivial on a CPU, and, if you have the funds, can likely rent a VPS with a GPU and get some decent returns. Sure, you'll be paying more for the VPS in the beginning, but as we've all seen, there was a time not even 10 years ago when one Bitcoin was worth less than $1000. The Monero may not pay for the VPSes themselves right away, but can certainly outweigh the expenses on your server over time. Plus, with the free $100, you can set up some mining servers for a few months and make some profit. Can't argue with this one, right?

  6. Chat on IRC

    I love this last one. IRC is my preferred social network: not for content but for interface and flexibility (although I do love the ASCII/ansi art scene). However, you probably don't wanna chat on your local IP address, unless you like getting DDOSed. One solution I have for this is to chat from a VPS. It is easy to set up a debian box and irssi specifically for chatting-purposes. With my VPS code, you'll have essentially a year+ in free, safe IRC time if you spin up a low-resource machine :)

If you've made it this far, congratulations! Please enjoy a free $100 credit to use on VULTR for a VPS :) Happy hacking!

Get 100 USD FREE to try a VPS from Vultr

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