A virtual private server (VPS) is a great platform for website hosting but it can be useful for many other things.
A VPS is an always-on always-connected server capable of running anything that can run on a standard Linux machine. This makes it useful literally any number of projects.
Below are some of the things you might consider doing with your VPS, in addition to hosting your website.
Creating a Private Sync Service
Dropbox makes life easier but it involves syncing your private data to a third party server which you don’t have control.
BitTorrent Sync is a private syncing service that allows users to sync their data between multiple devices.
Installing BitTorrent Sync on your VPS creates a syncing platform that matches the functionality of Dropbox without the privacy concerns.
Deploy a Personal Cloud
There’s a lot more to cloud than data syncing – contacts and calenders are also important.
OwnCloud can handle data syncing too but apart from that it includes a calender, task manager, document editing and galleries.
By hosting ownCloud on your VPS, you ensure that it’s both available from wherever you need it to be and also completely secure and under your control.
Encrypt your wireless connections
When connecting to a public wireless, you never know if someone is intercepting your connection.
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) encrypt the connection between your device and an online server making it impossible for anyone sitting in between to make sense of the data.
There are a lot of VPN solutions available that will work on a virtual private server but OpenVPN is one of the best
Run Private Analytics
This is for those who prefer to host their own web analytics rather than relying on services like Google Analytics.
Matomo is a feature rich web analytics tool that includes most of the features in Google Analytics including realtime analytics, geolocation, visitor tracking and referer analysis.
Web analytics is however just one of them. You can use your VPS to run business analytics, spinning it up to handle large data-scale data analysis without the need for a dedicated server.
Jupyter is a great example of a VPS-ready app that allows you to do data science in Python – and as an added bonus, it also serves as a development tool (but more on that in a moment).
Manage your Projects
If you run a small business and if that business employs remote workers, then you need a web-accessible project management tool
ProjectLibre is a comprehensive open source feature-rich project management tool that was voted one of the “Top Ten Open Source Projects Of 2013”.
Develop and Test your code
A VPS provides you with a perfect sandbox for development.
You can use you VPS to easily simulate testing environments for your applications, allowing you to debug well before going live.
Manage your IoT Devices
If you have a good number of sensors and smart devices, you can use your VPS as a hub for managing them.
The data you gather can be easily pushed to your VPN and analysed with the management tool of your choice.
Let us know other cool stuff that you are doing with your VPS.
Also, you can order yourself a VPS from as little as Ksh 800 per month here