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Setting up a “always free” virtual private server (VPS) on Google Cloud Platform

Overview Free Google Cloud Platform

While many providers offer smaller VPSs that you can try for free for a limited period, there aren’t many that are free indefinitely. This post will cover how to set up a Google Cloud Platform f1-micro VPS that is marketed as “always free.” Google has a wide selection of VPS settings, and unlike other providers, the free tier is tucked away among all the other possibilities. This tutorial will walk you through each stage of the setup procedure.

When you sign up for Google Cloud Computing for the first time, you’ll be given a coupon that allows you to rent a variety of non-free VPS configurations for up to $300 in the first 12 months.

You can proceed straight to Set up an f1-micro instance if you already have a valid Google Cloud Platform account (either in test mode or upgraded). Otherwise, you’ll have to create a new test account first.

Create a test account on Google Cloud Platform

Go to the Google cloud console and select Try For Free (https://console.cloud.google.com/getting-started).

On the shown dialogue, fill in the required information. It will be necessary for you to input authentic credit card details. Even if you use up all of the $300 in the test phase, Google will not charge your credit card.


The free-trial phase begins after all of the required information has been entered.

Google’s “always free” products include the f1-micro VPS. You will not be able to utilize these free products after the 12-month trial term has expired or you have used up all of the credit on your voucher. You’ll need to upgrade your account to allow Google to charge your credit card in this scenario. The f1-micro VPS, on the other hand, will remain free. Be advised that if you utilize more than 1 GB of free network egress traffic per month, you may be credited (excluding Australia and China).


Set up an f1-micro instance

Although the setup of an f1-micro VPS as described in this article is free, it is possible that you are actually utilizing a non-free product owing to some misconfiguration.

I cannot be held liable for any costs incurred on your account, particularly if you exceed the monthly traffic volume limit of 1 GB. To avoid any unexpected charges, make sure you use the correct settings and check your balance frequently.

Create a new instance under the Google Cloud Platform’s compute engine area (https://console.cloud.google.com/compute/).

You can define the setup of your VPS in the next dialogue. You can alternatively go with a lot more powerful setup, but you’ll only get a free VPS if you use the correct F1-micro parameters.

Select micro (1 shared CPU) as the machine type for the N1 series and give it a suitable name. The “always free” promotion will only apply to instances in specific US locations. This covered the regions us-central1 (Iowa), us-east1 (South Carolina), and us-west1 (Washington) (Oregon).

IMPORTANT

Examine the text next to your preferences. It must appear as shown below, with a free usage time equal to the number of days in the current month multiplied by 24 hours (720 hours for November with 30 days).

Your VPS instance will be free only if this text is visible!

In the Boot disc section, select Change. You have the option of changing the pre-installed operating system. More crucially, this window allows you to increase the amount of persistent storage space. Increase the value to 30 (which is included in the “always free” package) and click the Select button to exit the dialogue.


If you plan to use your VPS as a web server, the firewall section allows you to automatically add exceptions for ports 80 and 443. Firewall rules can be added and changed at any time.

Finally, select Create to complete the procedure.

You’ll have a running f1-micro instance in a few seconds. It’s accessible through the SSH drop-down menu.

To access the VPS, use the first option in the menu to start an ssh-shell in a new browser window.


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