There’s a reason why Digital Ocean is listed under my Recommended page. You can spin up a server in 60 seconds for less than a dollar a week. What this means to the aspiring hacker or network security professional is that a very minimal fee you can host a variety of quick cloud services such as e-mail, VPN, webhosts, application servers, FTP etc.
How does this work? You pay time on reserved server space up to a monthly cap depending on which tier of hardware/bandwidth you use. When you create a droplet (server) you reserve the space and you pay for its usage. If you completely wipe out the droplet your charges stop.
One really neat thing to use with Digital Ocean is using it as a VPN. Some of you may be unfamiliar with what a VPN so I’ll very briefly explain what one does.
A VPN acts as a middle-man so speak and encrypts traffic between you and the end device so that you can send traffic over public internet (Free Wifi anyone?) anonymously. This is often how companies will allow their workers to reach back to their cooperate network securely from home or on the road.
The advantages to having a VPN offsite from your primary machine is that you can compartmentalize your home network from your public facing network. Another advantage is that the only security you need to worry about is the security of the box itself, none of the other outlying infrastructure.
Rather than do my own write-up on how to install and use OpenVPN, I’ve actually found a really good tutorial here that explains the process. Once you figure out Digital Ocean’s very simple interface it shouldn’t take you very long to get this setup.
Let me know if you have any problems in the comments!