I've been considering taking the leap and learning how to run a server for quite some time. After all, there are many reasons I can think of for why it's a good idea. Then again, I'm bound to suffer some pain down that road. At the moment I feel a soothing ignorance while contemplating it, so I've decided to ride that feeling for as long as it stays.

For obvious reasons I'll document the process. There's so much I don't know. So very much.

.io Domain

I've been looking at these for quite some time. They're the trendy thing right now, and I was happy to find out that stenbeck.io was available (there are some wealthy Stenbecks in Sweden that could have bought it before me). The .io domains are a bit more expensive than what I'm used that a domain costs, but all in all I think it's worth it.

I remember looking here and there for where to register .io domains, and I think it was some Quora answer that put the on the path to iwantmyname.com. I've been using an "old world" hosting provider to handle my domains, and I'm very happy to say that iwantmyname.com is a breath of fresh air. Their control panel is modern, more akin to something you'd run into in 2014.


Honestly, my only requirements for the hosting was that I wanted root access to a VPS, and access to a massive lump of resources for learning. That's it. I don't know enough to have any other requirements.

I only looked at two options for where I should host; Linode and DigitalOcean. Both let me have root access to any VPS i create with them. Any of those would have fulfilled my needs perfectly. However, after stumbling upon a very humble and balanced Quora answer by Moisey Uretsky, cofounder of DigitalOcean, I decided to go with them. I figure I can always switch if I don't like it, and the honest answer scored some browney points in my book.

Note: The discount code in the Quora reply is expired, but if you click any of the DigitalOcean links in this post you get a $10 credit.

Server Setup

While setting up the DigitalOcean Droplet (which is their word for a VPS) I was very helped by their excellent learning resources. They're exactly at the right technical level for me.

Base Setup

Most of what I did was standard stuff. I've listed the steps I took below.

  1. Register my domain name.
  2. Register a DigitalOcean account.
  3. Set up hostname.
  4. Set up a Droplet (VPS).
  5. Set up SSH keys.
  6. Set up Nginx web server.
  7. Celebrate!

Next Up

I modified the Nginx configuration file to serve a particular folder as the web root. That's what you're seeing right now. There's an article on how to use Nginx server blocks that I'll check out tomorrow. For now, serving it up like this looks good enough to me.

I have to say that editing HTML straight in nano on my remote VPS does have its nerdy charm. However, I am so extremely happy I don't have to do this for every single site.