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Free tier VPS and Cloud Instances that actually Work for FREE and Good in 2024

Welcome to The SmartGoat Blog, This post is a beginner’s guide to genuinely free web hosting and VPS solutions that not only work but are also good. If you’ve ever searched for these services, you know that the results can be frustrating. Here I tried to give you a rather small but almost accurate list.

While the available free tier opens the door to remarkable possibilities, it’s important to note that realizing their full potential may require some effort on your part. Along with free tier services, I also added some fantastic but cheap services for your convenience. So, join me as I explore the best options, share insights on what works, what doesn’t, and highlight those special points that make each provider unique. Let’s dive in!

Actually Free Tier VPS:

Let’s first talk about the providers that offers always free tier VPS. Here you will get a bare bone Linux computer with which you can do anything including but not limited to Web hosting, VPN server, Monitoring server etc. And the providers are Oracle Cloud and Google Cloud.

1. Oracle Cloud: 🔗

Oracle is the king of free tier cloud offering Here is a basic highlight of what you get –

  • 4 × Ampere A1 3Ghz CPU cores (Any region) [Arm64]
  • 24 GB total ram with Ampere CPUs (Any Region)
  • 200 GB of total boot drive (NVMe) (Home region)
  • 10 TB per month of Egress data to any region
  • 2 x (1vCPU + 1 GB RAM) AMD EPIC VM [x86/64]

Points to note: Each VM have a minimum boot drive capacity of 47 GB so you can create a maximum of total 4 VMs in any combination. You can create a 4 core 24 GB VM or individual 4 1 core vm, your choice. Oh and this VMs have very good performance.

Signing up can be difficult sometimes.You can happily use without upgrade but they shut down free tier VMs, To avoid that  Upgrade to PYAG account it won’t get charged.

2. Google Cloud Platform: 🔗

Our second contestant in our free tier VM is Google cloud. They recently increased their free tier offerings to make it more attractive too. Here is what you will get-

  • 1 x 1core(2vCPU) and 1 GB RAM [ EC2 micro (750hrs/month) ] instance only in us east-1 us-central-1 and us west-1.
  • 30 GB of Standard Persistent Disc (you should select carefully)
  • 1 GB Premium tier Egress bandwidth to any region (except China and Australia)
  • 200 GB Standard tier egress to any region. (This is a new addition)

This VMs are good, but not as good as OCI free tier, but in experience it was never a problem

Notes –

  1. If you want to deploy a WordPress website or a Ghost blog or any other PhP, Nodejs, Python website I recommend you to use CloudPanel on Oracle Cloud. There are beautiful guides available. And you will get your one click WordPress deployment.
  2. To do the same thing on Google cloud I recommend Hestia Control Panel ( CloudPanel requires minimum 2 GB RAM). You can install things manually also or by using docker and docker compose.
  3. You can also use your servers to run Uptime Kuma for monitoring any server website etc, Wireguard VPN, Pihole for ads and tracker blocking (do help us out in donation if you use adblocks), reverse proxy, Tailscale, NextCloud (Google drive alternative) Umami (Google analytics alternative) and many more.
  4. Google and Oracle both also gives free trial credits but they expire quickly.

Resources :

3. Fly.io (honourable mention): 🔗

Fly is an interesting service where you deploy services in docker only using CLI. You can run Ghost blogs, Pi-Hole etc. But there free tier is limited. It is complicated and definitely not for beginners.

  • Up to 3 shared-cpu-1x 256mb VMs
  • 3GB persistent volume storage (total)
  • 160GB outbound data transfer

This is all the always free tier I can find that you actually may want to use. But there are some great services with limited free trial and at great price point and convenience. Let’s talk about them too.

Good Free trial and Good Pricing or User friendly VPS (Not free forever)

1. AWS : 🔗

No AWS is not user friendly, and I personally don’t recommend beginners to use AWS unless they know what they are doing but They seriously have some impressive free trials and free tiers. Here is what you get –

  • 1 EC2 instance free for 12 months (750hrs/month) from the date of opening your AWS account. Free tier instance vary between regions but they do show the free tier instance and tags them free tier eligible
  • 30 GB of gp2/ gp3 SSD storage
  • 100 GB of egress bandwidth to any region.

Note:- They also provide many more things for free like Lambda functions S3 etc, so does GCP and others, but they do offer 1 TB per month of free CDN bandwidth with Cloudfront CDN. But remember web application firewall is not free in Cloudfront.

2. DigitalOcean : 🔗

DigitalOcean is a great company for easy self-hosting. If you join using referral link you get 100 to 200 USD credit to be used within 60 days. But where companies like DigitalOcean signs are simplicity. There is not much to choose from. They have 10-12 data centres but it is enough. And pre configured VMs which startes from 4 USD/month. The great part about DigitalOcean is their marketplace. Where you can find hundreds of applications with one click deployment options.

Only downside is they don’t have always free tier or very long free trial, but they sure are more user friendly. Btw don’t signup for Cloudways from DigitalOcean, they changed huge premium which I can’t justify.

3. Pikapods: 🔗

Pikapods is a fantastic way to cheaply self-host different services but without worrying about self hosting and deployment hassles. Their price starts from 1 -2 USD / month depending on the service you want to self-host. It is really easy and a recommendation from me. Good for running Ghost blogs or Uptime Kuma easily.

4. Some honorable mentions:

A) Linode

Linode’s story is similar to DigitalOcean’s, but I can’t personally try linode. I tried to signup but they blocked all my email addresses (legitimate ones) static security concerns.

B) Hetzner

Hetzner is also a very popular cheap option for hosting (starting 2.09 use/month). I mentioned it because it is cheap but does not have free tier.

C) Contabo

Contabo is another very cheap hosting provider, unbelievably cheap but that is the problem. There users actually complains on reddit of slow performance of VM and specially storage. I have not personally used them. Not highly recommended.

D) 000Webhost 🔗

Owned by hostinger it is basically to promote paid service of hostinger itself. To be Frank paid plans of hostinger are good, easy to setup and low maintenance, not free. But you are absolutely newbie and just want to tryout WordPress for free it is a good option. But absolutely not recommended for production deployment.

There are many more but the above mentioned are which I have looked at, or read extensive user reviews on reddit. Or used my-self at some point.

E) OVH

They are another interesting provider similar to DigitalOcean and Linode. Nothing special to say about them.

Additional FREE services to checkout:

In this section I am not talking about VPS but other things you may want to know about. I am just listing them here, not a topic for indepth discussion here.

  1. Hosting static website: Cloudflare Pages, Github pages, Netlify.
  2. WebApps : Vercel, Netlify, Cloudflare pages
  3. CDN: Cloudflare, Bunny, Cloudfront
  4. Website security: Cloudflare
  5. Object Storage: Cloudflare R2, Backblaze B2, Amazon S3
  6. Tailscale (zero-config VPN): Tailscale is an awesome service. Use Tailscale to expose your homelab to the internet

Conclusion:

So as you see a free tier service that actually works for free forever is pretty limited. So I also included some great but cheap options for you to try out. Fill free to comment down below if I missed some free tier services. Hopefully this post helps you a bit.

Note: This post were not sponsored, it was my experience over 1 years of touring around internet and giving my email to sketchy providers. This are affiliate links of companies if you use them you get discounts and I get some commissions.

  1. DigitalOcean link
  2. Hostinger link

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