Getting Started with Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean is an accessible cloud computing resource, which will give you access to a system without needing to maintain it or give up your current set up. It’s great for getting familiar with linux, testing projects, and even deploying an application. Here’s how to get started.

Through the github education pack, you get $50 of credit to Digital Ocean for free! This is about 10 months of usage, depending on what you’re using it for. To get the credit:

  1. Click the “Request a Discount” button in the top-right-hand corner of the github education pack page.
  2. Fill out the form as is appropriate for you (you almost certainly want an individual account, unless you know otherwise), and make sure you use your Oregon State email address when sending the request, even if this is not the email you have your github account with.
  3. Within a few days you should get an email confirming your university account. Then, if you go back to the github education pack page, there should be a discount key waiting for you.
  4. Go to Digital Ocean and sign up for an account, using the key provided by github in the Coupon section
  5. Now you can make a droplet! Login to Digital Ocean, and click the green “Create a Droplet” button in the top-right-hand corner.
  6. If you’re not sure what you want, name your droplet something sensible (“Schoolwork”, “Learning Linux”, “IRC”, etc.), then choose the $5/month sized machine – this will more than likely be more than enough space for right now.
  7. Select either the San Francisco (recommended) or New York Regions, and the default ubuntu version (recommended).
  8. If you would like for your droplet to be even more secure, you can create an ssh key by running ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "" and add the public key (copy-paste it) to DO. This is encouraged!
  9. Click “Create Droplet”, and you’re good to go! You will receive an email from Digital Ocean confirming your Droplet creations and providing you with a password to your Droplet. When you log in to your droplet for the first time, it will prompt you to change the password – you have to do this!
  10. You can now run ssh root@<IP Address> and either enter your password or authenticate with ssh (won’t require action from you) and BOOM! you’re in a VM on the cloud!

Congratulations! You’ve successfully spun up a Digital Ocean droplet.

Your digital ocean droplet will have an IP address that you use to ssh to. IP addresses tend not to be very human-friendly, so there are a few things you can do so you don’t have to remember it:

  1. Use an alias. If you’re in bash, open up your bashrc and add

    alias linux=“ssh root@

    to the bottom of it. Then you only need to run $ linux to ssh into your machine.

  2. One of the other advantages to having a student account is you get credit for a service called NameCheap. You can get an .me
    domain, and route it to the IP address of your droplet, so to ssh to your droplet would just be

    $ ssh

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