Programming On a Dedicated Server or A VPS

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Before we answer that question, let us answer first what is a VPS and what is a dedicated server. This is very important for us to know exactly where we are going to program.

Let’s first tackle VPS. VPS is the acronym for virtual private server. They are virtual because they are not actually a physical machine, but one of many virtual instances of a machine inside a single server. Private because, like shared hosting services, you are sharing one server hardware to other users, but here, you have your own fixed amount of storage space, processing power, resources and bandwidth separate from others. You can compare owning a VPS service to owning a condo unit. You are sharing one building with others, but you have your own private space where you can do almost anything you want.

Now, we’re going to tackle a dedicated server. As the name implies, a dedicated server is dedicated, only one user is using it at a given time. Naturally, a dedicated server will use a server’s full capacity giving the user more power and bandwidth allocation and speed. Performance can be multifold more powerful than a mid-range VPS. Dedicated servers, in addition, allows you to do everything on it, except for illegal activities. You can set up your own file hosting server, streaming website, large forum and many other performance and bandwidth-intensive projects in a dedicated server, whereas in a VPS, you can’t do that.

VPS vs Dedicated

With the brief information we presented earlier, you already know that the cheapest dedicated server is still more powerful than the highest class VPS server. However, real world things should be considered when choosing whether to program on a dedicated server or a VPS.

Although dedicated servers offer more performance, the price is one thing you will have to consider. Programming on a dedicated server may cost you more than programming on a VPS server. One of the reasons behind this is the amount of time you may have to spend in order to flesh out your web app or website, which, of course, will require you a possible of several months of renting a dedicated server for ~$200 a month. The price and the resources are just wasted during programming and development phase in a dedicated server.

Therefore, your best choice is to program on a VPS – it has a dedicated-server-like environment at a fraction of the cost. For a high-end development needs, $30 a month for a VPS is enough, heck there are even cheap VPS costing only $5-15 a month and can meet the needs of a solo developer. You should only consider using dedicated server near the launch phase in order to actually test your website or web app for performance, functions and more.

Open Source Explained

Open Source Explained

Open Source Software

The term “open source” is something available to the public that can be modified or shared by anybody.  The term is usually used in reference to software development, in fact you have probably used open source software without ever being aware of it.  Open source projects encourage collaboration and community development.

What is open source software?

When we talk about open source software, we mean that the source code (the programming most users never see) is able to be changed or modified by anyone with the skill to do so. Programmers with access to the source code can add or remove features or enhance it however they like.

What’s sets open source software apart?

Most software is proprietary and that means that the source code can only be modified the company or organization that created it.  They retain exclusive control over their products and legally they are the only ones who can change it.  Microsoft and Adobe with all the products they put out are two examples of proprietary software.

Open source software is different, the authors make the complete source code available, giving you the chance to copy the code, learn from it, and share it.  WordPress is an example of this. Both products, proprietary and non have user agreement you must adhere to in order to use the software but the user agreement differ greatly.  Open source licenses guarantee that if you modify the source code you to you cannot charge a licensing fee from it.  The idea is to promote sharing and collaboration within the software industry.

Open Source Explained

Does this only benefit programmers?

Not at all.  You have benefited from open source technology without even realizing it.  Many of the sites you visit on the internet are hosted on servers using Apache Web server application and your Android phone is built using the Linux kernel.  So you have been using open source technology all along.

Programmers do like open source software because it gives them more control, they can remove things they don’t like and add things that they want.  Open source software is also a teaching tool, programmers can learn to write better code by seeing what others are doing.  Work is shared allowing for critique and help when you need it. This leads to another advantage of open source software, mistakes are generally fixed quickly.  You don’t need permission from the author to change the code so if you spot a bug…fix it.

Does open source mean the software is free?

Technically, no but….

A programmer can charge money for software they create, but open source licenses require you to release the source code so most find it far more lucrative to charge for service and support versus charging for the software.

That is open source in a nutshell.  If you’re still a little confused by the idea, that’s okay.  Here’s a video that breaks it down pretty simply…and they use lego.  Cool, right?

Linux for Beginners

Linux for Beginners

Linux

If you’re a newbie interested in learning Linux, the first thing you need to decide on is which version should you install and get a handle on first.  There are a couple of different flavours of Linux, not knowing where to begin is perfectly normal.

Where to set up Linux

You have a couple of options, the first is to partition your hard disk and install Linux that way, and you would have a dual boot.  Instruction on how to do that are in the following video.

The second option is to use a VPS, you get a fresh installation of Linux and here you can practice learning without messing with your home computer.  Most VPS services have tech support available in case something goes wrong.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu is one of the most commonly used versions of Linux, it’s a debian-based Linux operating system.  It’s the default setup for most VPS, most prefer it because it is very easy to use.  This is probably a good starting point since there are plenty of resources to help you learn the ins and outs.  There is an Ubuntu community forum where new users and veterans post questions and get help from others.  If you’re going to install it on your home machine you can download it for free here.

Debian

The previous operating system Ubuntu is based off this one, Debian.  While you have the option to use either one, there is a difference between them.  Ubuntu is a little easier to use, it focuses on ease of use while Debian is focused on stability.  However they both use similar commands for installation and managing packages.  No matter which you decide on both have plenty of resources and a vibrant support community.  There are plenty of tutorials and tips if you get stuck.

Fedora

This is another version of Linux, but Fedora is all about innovation and a shorter period of support on products.  Fedora is based on Red Hat making it incompatible with Debian or Ubuntu.  Fedora is also very security conscious, using security-enhanced-linux or Selinux and the purpose of that is to keep the system as secure as possible.  You can download Fedora here,  as well as get support from the community.

Ultimately which version you decide to try first is completely up to you and nothing is stopping you from trying them all.

But…

Ubuntu being the most popular with the biggest community, might give it the slight edge on which you should learn first.  Learning the different Linux commands might be overwhelming at first but with some support you’ll have the hang of it in no time.

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