You're going to be creating your first Cloud account with an online platform called DigitalOcean (DO). This is a very well known platform in the Cloud space, and is very popular with developers and people who need a remote system to test things on, just like you.
All you need right now is a Linux system that's easy to create, you can SSH into, and it doesn't matter if you break it. DO's Droplets are perfect for this. This is DO's Virtual Machine, and is their equivalent to AWS's EC2 Instance. We just need the one.
It's certainly true that you could use VirtualBox or VMWare Workstation to create a local, free virtual machine, but they're actually a lot more work. And as DigitalOcean is a Cloud provider, you can simply delete the instance once you're done with it and it stops costing you anything.
To get started, you're going to need an account with DigitalOcean. Signing up is very easy and isn't something you should struggle with.
Don't forget to enable Two-Factor Authentication if you signup using an email and password (versus a social login like Google.)
Creating a Droplet#
The next best thing to do now is create a Droplet and SSH into it.
Before you create a Droplet, however, I recommend you learn to add SSH Keys to new or existing Droplets. This document also includes additional links that teach you how-to, for example "Create SSH Keys with PuTTY on Windows", which is likely something you've never done before. Overall the process is simple:
- Create an SSH Key
- Add it to your account
- Use it when you create a Droplet
Speaking of Droplets, DO has excellent documentation all round, which includes how-to create a Droplet.
You only need one Ubuntu 22.10 Droplet for the time being. By using Ubuntu 22.10, you're using the latest release and can follow along with this book easily enough.
Whilst you're still learning, I recommend you never leave your system running, instead simply delete it when you've finished with it. If you want to keep it around, that's fine too, but just remember to turn it off to reduce costs and automated attacks against the system.
That's right: automated attacks against the system. Traffic is routed throughout the public Internet using (piublic) IP addresses. The structure of these addresses is extremely well defined and understood, so it should come as no surprise that malicious actors have written code that can compute, scan, and potentially automatically exploit any remote systems it finds on the public Internet.
You can prevent this with firewalls and beyond, but I recommend simply turning off your Droplet when you're not using it.
Once you have your Droplet up and running, and you've got an SSH terminal open, you're ready to take on all the remaining sections of this book.