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Show HN: Dply – Free temporary Linux servers (dply.co)
673 points by OwainX on Nov 24, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 198 comments

This is a project I've been working on for a while. Dply allows you to quickly create a temporary cloud server (1CPU/512MB RAM/20GB SSD) for free. You can have one free server running at any time. Log in with your Github account and it will allow you to create your server using your Github ssh-key. Servers are free for 2 hours and expire after that time (unless you choose to add more time via credit card or bitcoin). It's a quick and easy way to demo some code on a live server or just play around with a few popular Linux distros.

We also provide the ability to create a button for your project allowing you to let people create a server with your service/project running on it for free to try it out. Create a yaml or bash user-data script and others can launch servers with it.

For the last 11 years on and off I've run a small Linux distribution. I work for a well known cloud host by day but in talking with users learned that it's a hassle sometimes to create an account, billing profile and all that when you just need to quickly test or share something so I built this in my free time.

Do you expect to make money on this?

Honestly, no idea. I have a decent credit grant that will cover free 2 hour servers for a while so it was worth trying out.

How do I log into my server?

All servers are created with ssh-key authentication only. You are provided the option to select from the ssh keys on your Github account when you create a server. Your key will be applied to the "root" account.

I am happy to answer any questions about dply.co and would love any feedback.

Suggestion, after the server successfully created, show the command that they can execute to access the server (ssh root@<ip>, with <ip> being replaced with the real ip).

We've had several people suggest making this more prevalent and it's on our todo list :)

I haven't used your service yet, but if I understand the limitation correctly (only github logins/only one server per login) I think it should also be possible to automatically derive a subdomain name from the github username and have that point to the server. Not sure if that's a good idea, just throwing an idea over the wall :-)

This is a pretty cool service! I have had my moments when I had to set up the AWS free tier a few hours before a very important client meeting.

I have this gut feeling that this service will make the cloud technology a bit more accessible for a budding to medium skilled developer.

Personally, I have hesitated a lot to try out AWS and other cloud services at college due to the "over billing nightmare" you have every time you sign up with the credit card. This is particularly an issue at the part of the world I come from. Hopefully, this will bring down that barrier and bring more college students in to experimenting with the cloud tech.

Also, considering the way client meetings getting rescheduled in many cases might help you in generating a lot of cash. ;) (If they haven't created it to restore state in their yaml or bash user-data script, of course!)

> the part of the world I come from

Just curious, is a $5/month DO server cost prohibitive in your neck of the woods?

Pretty sure he is talking about the people that got hacked (with 2 factor on) and had their acc used to mine bitcoins. I remember reading about that twice one or two years ago

Or maybe even less nefarious reports about people accidently ordering a bigger machine and forgetting about it until the month is over. Can result in 1+k bill as well.

Or the most talked about problem. Downloading something from the glacier.

They're mostly avoidable problems. And they still terrify people with little income

It's definitely a worry, but to their credit AWS at least are pretty nice about accidentally racking up a big bill. Last month I forgot to shut down a GPU instance I'd been experimenting with on my personal account and got hit with $150 I hadn't been expecting, but on explaining the situation to support they cancelled the bill from the previous month and applied a credit to my account to cover the time it had been active this month. I'm going to guess that's a one time thing, but the gesture was very much appreciated.

There are quite a lot of cases where you could find yourself facing a large bill unexpectedly. Forgetting about a server you spun up to try something out, with may platforms having your server hacked (or even DDoSed) could result in huge bills for bandwidth. With Dply you only pay what you pay up-front if you choose to add time to a server. There are no bills racking up. The flip side is that if you forget about it, it could vanish on you. Automating your deployment with something like a user-data script that pulls your code from Github would make this less of a concern. Permanent services on Dply are certainly possible but not the primary use case for most users.

I like the simplicity, well done for getting this up and running!

Please be more open about the pricing though. When the service costs are not upfront and are buried in the FAQs, I lose trust in the service.

Every real customer of yours will want to know what it costs. Have a simple pricing page at the very least, and link to it from the standard 'how does this work?' and other places. Just saying that you can pay $2 to keep your server running longer is not good enough.

A great suggestion. We've received quite a few suggestions for improvement. As the MVP/First beta we aimed for absolute simplicity in the design and implementation as it's easier to add things than take them away. The homepage and informational sections of the site will receive some improvements over time as we get more feedback like this.

It's cool project. Well done! OP

This is my first try: I tested to create a "dply" button on https://dply.co/button. I tried not to fill out the form and clicked "CREATE BUTTON". The page replied with errors and their trace. SQL statements and other Ruby keywords were shown.

I think it would be better if there is an error handler, like a warning that form is not filled out completely.

We found an issue where the stacktrace was originally enabled in our code twice so when it was switched off it was being overridden. That's been fixed. Adding better form validation for the button creation form is also on our list. Our primary focus as we receive bug reports is on issues that directly affect server creation, deletion and billing as those are the highest impact. Since the button form just creates a shortlink and saves some text it's a lower priority but we should have significant improvements in place for that page in the next week or so.

The server name field might be better suited to be a white box like the rest of the options after you click New Server. Nice idea. Might want to have some kind of vetting of accounts if it gets bigger.

Strongly agree. I missed the server name field and got an error about the syntax for server names instead of 'you didn't enter a server name' error. Field should be visually similar to the other fields.

Same here

Agreed, I completely missed the server name field. Scanned over it thinking it was a horizontal line with a label below and didn't bother to read it.

That's a pretty cool service, I think I can use that for a github project of mine.

You should consider adding a "shutdown and delete" button to get rid of VMs when your users are done with them.

We'll be adding an "expire now" option for servers on the free plan this weekend :)

We've rolled out an initial version of the "expire now" functionality. Click the [X] in the top right of any free server's box in the dashboard and you'll be taken to a confirmation page letting you expire the server's remaining time immediately

> credit card or bitcoin

Thank you for allowing Bitcoin. Many people don't have a credit card (everyone who has one gets it only because all the American companies require it, but I never needed one in the Netherlands or Germany, the two countries I have experience with).

You're welcome. Thanks to Stripe there was no extra work required on our end to accept Credit card, bitcoin and alipay. We hope to keep all these options around. There are concerns about having a bitcoin option leading to more abuse so we'll be gathering data over the coming weeks and hopefully the measures we're taking to prevent abuse will allow us to continue to offer the Bitcoin option.

Can I make another free server immediately afterwards?

What's your anti-abuse policy/process?

As a free service we will pretty strictly enforce abuse reports and take action on them. We're using a few methods to profile users based on their github account/ssh key and other factors to block abusers once their identified. Dply servers are blocked from using SMTP ports to prevent spam.

Yes. You can create another server once the first expires but automating this process is not allowed and therefore we do not provide an API.

What constitutes abuse? I imagine certain applications that would be fine with the server going up and down every 2 hours. That would effectively mean that they would have free service indefinitely. For example, a Tor bridge.

In general abuse is anything that is illegal under US law, causes a disruption of service or is otherwise disruptive to our ability to run the service. As far as our TOS goes, if we say it's abuse, it is. We will be very strict in our enforcement. We're hoping that backend procedures and processes we have in place will help us to profile abusers and prevent them from using the services as our goal is to prevent abuse while making the barrier to getting started as low as possible for legitimate users.

A tor bridge/relay might not be an issue but TOR exit nodes will almost certainly result in abuse complaints and action being taken.

Shhhh, you're gonna ruin it for everybody else!

We were all thinking it.

Or bitcoin miners

You would mine maybe 1 penny per day. Not worth the click.

....that's not how fraud works.


Just google aws bitcoin mining abuse and see what happens when shitty people have access to free servers.

Pretty sure it only makes sense when you can spin up AWS GPU instances, which you probably cannot do here.

When there are no costs, it makes sense spin up anything. You literally can't lose. It's just opportunity costs at that point.

Unless you missed the no API part. If it takes a person 5 clicks to launch an instance, the reward has to pay for the cost.

Why aren't people using AWS free tier to Bitcoin mine?

Seems a bad prop.

I am sure that some people did try to use the free tier, and that AWS probably has some decent controls in place to monitor for this type of activity. They are also a MASSIVE company that can absorb loss much easier than a startup. [1]

As far as the API goes, I don't know if you're aware of how hacking works, but not having an api has protected exactly no one ever. Calling your application secure because "it has a button, not an API" is completely absurd. [2]

As far as costs, you understand that people do thousands of tasks on mechanic turk for pennies right? 5 clicks to make a penny or two isn't out of the question, EVEN WITHOUT AUTOMATION, when the cost for living in some parts of the world is egregiously low. [3]

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6818015

[2] http://www.seleniumhq.org/docs/01_introducing_selenium.jsp

[3] http://online-job-work.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/mechan...

> As far as costs, you understand that people do thousands of tasks on mechanic turk for pennies right?

You still have to invest either your time or hire someone to set things up for the mechanical turk setup - the opportunity cost you pointed out earlier. And pennies per turk isn't worth it if your ROI is micropennies per turk. Depending on how much friction there is, it may be cheaper to trick your turks into running the bitcoin miner on their own computers.

Not saying there's no potential for abuse - as you say, there is - but saying there's "no costs" and that "You literally can't lose" is about as accurate as saying there's "no profits" and that "You literally can't win". Unless CPU bitcoin mining is wildly more profitable than my understanding, given that you're competing against GPU and ASIC miners.

Maybe one of the alt-currencies that are supposedly harder to GPU mine...?

Yup. The way Dply works makes it a bad value prop for abusers. It's also not the best option for someone who would be better served going with DO directly or running a permanent service. Where we think Dply shines is with the button https://dply.co/button which makes it easy for OSS projects and others to let people try out their services at no cost and without a high barrier to entry. If I am reading the readme.md of a project on Github and there is a button to let me deploy an instance of it and try it out on a real server for free I'd be tempted to click it. If 2 hours isn't enough I might add more time. Each paid server covers the cost of a lot of free ones.

Having the ability to add more time with Bitcoin or Alipay is also a plus for some people.

> Unless you missed the no API part. If it takes a person 5 clicks to launch an instance,

Or screen scraping. That's still a thing.

Yah. Except this is writing a script to mayyybbbbeee make a penny.

I understand hacking. I think this entire project is dead on arrival because it has no business value. He is offering to save me 2 cents at digital ocean and maybe profit if I pay 2x the DO price for a VM with less features. That is why this is a dead product.

Wringing your hands about being hacked to make $0.25 Bitcoin mining? That that is not the problem here.

You can likely use curl in a script to do it.

Are you saying one can / can't spin up a free two-hour server more than once?

Let me quote the parent post:

> Yes.

Thanks for pointing out that I should be clearer.

Really what I was seeking is to clarify the ambiguity in the parent post's "yes but sometimes no" answer.

Presumably the creator has some limitation in mind such as one user can only spin up so many free 2-hour boxes per 24-hour period, 30-day period, etc. I don't think this was answered clearly as the current answer does not define any limitations which is presumably not reality or it would be abused.

Right now you can have one free server at any time. There is no daily limit currently.

We do not provide an API and automating server creation is a violation of our TOS and would be considered abuse.

When you need a server and can log in and fill out the form, you can create one :)

FYI, small typo on https://dply.co/how - "it's" should be "its".

Also on https://dply.co/help/sshkey there's mention of "pubic" key instead of a public key.

Or it signifies the beginning of key-authenticated intercourse. Just saying...

Haha.. ok that one is hilarious.. and it's been fixed (the typo that is)

Looks cool, I hope it works out for you!

First impressions: From the sub-pages ("how it works" etc) you should add clearer links to the start page/maybe add a login button on those as well?

You should have some info about who you/your company are if you want people to maybe give you money (maybe that's even legally required)

Great feedback. The goal was to keep things as clean and basic as possible but the site itself will continue to be improved as we learn more about how people use the service.

Love this. I shall have all kinds of fun destroying various linux distros without a care in the world for the consequences. Looking forward to seeing where you go with this. I understand your reservations about building an API but is something I'll look forward to playing with when/if you do eventually provide one! Good luck with the project, I'll be watching this one closely.

how will you deal with abuse? scripts to just spin and mine bit coin etc. cool project!

This initial release is designed to test two things.

1.) Our abuse processes. The goal in this area is to both be very strict in preventing abuse while trying to do so with as little inconvenience for legitimate users as possible and

2.) Testing the ROI. Cloud servers are really inexpensive for short periods and we will be testing conversion rates to see if the project can be self-sustaining through the added time model.

At the point someone's wanting something for a month, why wouldn't they go pay $5 to DigitalOcean, vs. $10 to you?

Why wouldn't Dply just become a DigitalOcean reseller and only cost $5?

I could definately see this working out as a customer aquistion channel for DO, eith Dply getting a referral fee.

Because he works for AWS :D. But ditto for AWS

Actually, I work for DO :) But Dply is not a DO project or product. It's my personal side-project and while I have DO's blessing to run it, it's otherwise unrelated and acts like any other DO customer reselling or running an SaaS.

Automatic deletion, the built in user-data button system and our acceptance of Bitcoin and Alipay provide options that DO itself currently does not offer.

This is the MVP/Initial Beta of Dply and we're hoping to learn a lot from it. One thing we are testing is whether we'll see high enough conversion rates by users adding time to their servers to cover the costs of the free servers and hopefully make a profit. Acting as a DO referrer is a backup option that could add credit to the platform to help cover costs if the current model proves unsustainable.

My bad!

I can see the potential for this in the following scenario:

People start using it to showcase the service/software by clicking on a button on GitHub.

Or imagine yet: going to the docker hub, clicking on a button, and getting a server with that up and running.

This might be huge. Providing support for an image with docker and allowing one to use docker compose or the such seems the way to go here.

If this post doesn't reach some of the projects with more potential, you should try to reach out to them yourself.

Nobody's gonna mine bitcoin on a machine with half a gigabyte of RAM and 1 CPU.

Doesn't mean nobody is going to try...

Excellent project! I wish I had this kind of service available a few years ago.

Minor question: are the servers configured for IPv4 only?

Right now they are but if there is enough interest we could enable ipv6 in an update in the near future.

Awesome service! I've been testing it hard these days and I'm very pleased. One small request, could you allow changing the ssh port to 443 from the web?

something that would be awesome is if there was a command line tool to spin one up & it'd have a ticking timer to let me know how much time is left.

I agree with this. It would be much better to annoy users with constant "time remaining" notifications than to unexpectedly delete everything when the time expires. This would also function as an up-sell promotion, a literally "limited time offer" to extend the server's life. I'm not sure it's feasible, but what if you also added a command within the instance to extend its life to the next tier?

Cool idea, I love it. Solves all of the probs you mentioned. I'm going to try it out and see how it works for me. Thanks.

Thanks a lot, this service looks really useful.

Would it be possible to offer a LAMP install for two hours?

This is already possible. They support Cloud-init: https://dply.co/help/cloud-init

Ah, didn't read closely enough. Thank You.

Very nice project, a lot of times I wished there was something to start a server for a quick ssh/ping/traceroute/debug from outside my network.

Well done!

A few security aspects that I've noticed so far:

- calling the action(s) with an id that doesn't exist will show a pretty useful stacktrace, it should probably be disabled for production

- calling the action(s) with ids close to my server, I can do things to other people's servers (presumably, I didn't confirm the action for any of those, but I can at a minimum see what others have named their servers)

Not trying to be abusive, I just want to make sure we find the security bugs before the bad guys do, because I really like what you've built here.

Thanks. We also received a ticket about these issues and have deployed fixes. You discover all kinds of things when you go from 15 users to 700 in a matter of an hour or two :)

I work with OwainX and he is having some issues with his HN account right now (he's blocked from commenting?).

He wants to make sure that everyone knows he's heard your suggestions and comments and is working on them.

An Expire Now option for free servers should be coming later today!

CircleCI gives you 30 minutes of playtime on a 32 cores, 60GB RAM VM. All you have to do is log in with GitHub, start a build of any of your public repo & click "Rebuild with SSH".

(No affiliations, I just find this mind blowing)

Great tidbit. Perhaps it's just not well known.

Edit: Multiple machines if your build is in parallel. Nice.

> Parallelism and SSH Builds

> If your build has parallel steps, we launch more than one VM to perform them. Thus, you’ll see more than one ‘Enable SSH’ and ‘Wait for SSH’ section in the build output.

[1]: https://circleci.com/docs/ssh-build/#parallelism-and-ssh-bui...

I love this feature about CircleCI - Pretty sure your builds are limited to 4GB per container however.

It could use a 'destroy' button (on the page where it shows "add time", "reboot", "rebuild"). This could save you some money.

I work with OwainX and he is having some issues with his HN account right now. He wanted to make sure that you know he heard your comment and an Expire Now option is coming for servers on the free plan later today!

I've seen a number of services just like this that come and go because of the persistent abuse problems this kind of thing attracts. Perhaps using github for authentication will help but I'm skeptical of how far it will get you. Do you have any other novel strategies to reduce the abuse problem?

What kind of abuse has caused problems for the other services?

A very obvious case would be people sending email - spammers are always hunting to find ways to get their traffic out from IPs without reputation problems. They'll send email from this service and then the services IP addresses will become blacklisted - or more likely the underlying service provider will kick them out to protect their IP space.

That's just the most trivial issue, though, and can be part way resolved by host blocking outbound in 25. You'll also get botnet C&C, hosting of illegal content, use to mask scanning traffic, etc. All of these are sometimes operated by people who do not have a problem with ephemeral services and will happily automate creating new accounts and setting up new "temporary" servers. Using github for authentication will partially help as github no doubt has mechanisms in place to limit automatic account creation, but I'd only trust that so far.

Looks like they already do that according to the FAQ.

First, it can cost way too much money for the service to be sustainable. Second, it opens up many liability issues. Third, your upstream provider can stop the service when they feel there's any kind of a problem at all – even if you work for Amazon.

Sounds pretty cool. I was confused where to get the pricing with the text "Keep it longer for as little as $2 via Credit Card or Bitcoin". I had to go to the FAQ to know how much time $2 gave me.

This is definitely for work you could live without, i.e. don't use it for production services. The automatically deleted approach as the first message does lower the trust of stuff not disappearing under your feet.

I think the homepage could do with explaining who it's intended for.

I actually think its a great model.

easy to deploy, easy to clean up afterwards. exactly how "Cloud" should be.

Would it be possible to add NixOS as an option?

I'd find that very useful for demonstrating it to people, which... okay, might not be why you're running this. Nowadays I'm handing out shell accounts to my own server, which is mostly fine, but misses out on some of the functionality.

Dply is built on the DigitalOcean cloud which doesn't allow custom OSes so we are somewhat limited in that regard. As others have written scripts to convert a DigitalOcean droplet to Arch and Alpine we are experimenting with making those options available. It appears this exists: https://github.com/jeaye/nixos-in-place which might make NixOS possible as well. We will be carefully reviewing these options as just because there is a hacky way to convert a droplet on DO doesn't mean it'll result in something suitable for re-use or work as expected with cloud-init and ssh key insertion on Dply.

I kept on getting the "Server name must be etc.". Took me a while to realise that there's a server name field at the top of the page. Maybe make it look like the other fields?

I also fell for this. The input field should probably be made more obvious (lighter background) because at first it looks like a cosmetic spacing rule.

It's sort-of using material design, but in this context the text field should probably have a 'placeholder' to make it clearer.

One of the biggest pieces of feedback we've received and near the top of the list to fix. To start with, we'll be giving this field a white background so it's not so easy to miss.

Is it possible to destroy a server before it's time is up? What if I made a server, but now want to try out a different one without waiting 2 hours.

I think DigitalOcean probably bills Dply for one hour minimum so if you could immediately destroy and recreate then you'd quickly add up to a lot more OpEx.

DigitalOcean does it's billing based on a per-minute basis based on their hourly rates. We have already implemented a feature in our backend code to allow users to "expire" free servers and are working on adding that to the dashboard UI and this option should be available this weekend.

That's not what their website claims.

How am I billed?

Each Droplet is billed per hour up to its monthly cap.

Do I have to pay the cost of the server every time I create a new one?

No—you only need to pay for 1 hour of usage. For example, spinning up a new 512MB server just to test something for a couple of minutes will only cost you $0.0074


There seems to be a "Rebuild" button that allows you to recreate the server from another base image.

Yeah, I didn't notice that you could change the OS when rebuilding a server. It should also let you edit the cloud-init script thing.

Cool idea and service, however, I would think this is going to be used a lot for abuse and since you are targeting people who only need a server for a very short span of time I doubt many will continue and actually paying for the service.

But I hope you will succeed because there will probably come a time when I need something like this.

First impressions:

* I love this idea. This is basically what I use Digital Ocean for, and this reduces the steps.

* I would like to see bitbucket sign-in and keys support.

* I missed the server name field on my first pass. My eyes were drawn to the drop-downs. So when I hit the submit I got an error and, even then, it took me a moment to see where the servername should go.

* I probably wouldn't have noticed the "create a button" if I hadn't read about it here.

* I agree with others that a "destroy" option would be nice.

* The button is cool.

This whole approach makes me want to start embedding cloud-init scripts in all my repositories. But then I loose using cloud-init for pulling down my personal dotfiles and preferred packages. I'll have to think about how to solve that.

Great idea! I hope this takes off.

Thanks. A lot of this feedback I've been hearing from others today. We'll be updating the serer name field to stand out visually better and doing updates to the home page and informational pages to both highlight the button capability and better present details like pricing. An "expire now" option for servers on the free plan will be in place this weekend which will allow you to delete a free server before it expires.

Ever wanted to find out what happens when you rm -rf / --no-preserve-root

Well now you can find out.

brb, off to rm -rf / --no-preserve-root.


ls -al / ls: command not found


That's what echo * is for!

First, on the FAQ's section "How do I connect to the ssh service on my server?" is a typo: > An ssh-key is required to connnect to your server.

Second, any plan other login/signup methods?

Cool idea, I'll play with it.

No plans for different login methods anytime soon. The Github integration also handles the ssh key management so we don't have to store anyone's keys in our database or worry about updates on their key in Github not being immediately reflected. We'll get that typo fixed :)

Great. Free VPN on demand :)

Exactly what I did. Good practice for getting a server setup quickly. https://medium.com/@therockspush/setting-up-a-free-cloud-bas...

It can be more automated. Here's what I do.


Lines 1-9 can be the cloud-init you pass to the server. Lines 12-15, run them one by one. Done.

I did something very similar a few years ago with http://stackmonkey.com. Note the site's cert is currently invalid and there are no pool controllers running, so you can't start a server until someone starts a pool controller. The idea was to tie starts of instances to something decentralized (Bitcoin) and then securely fetch the configuration data from somewhere you control. Thinking IPFS for that in the next iteration.

The pricing seems very fair, you should make it more prevalent.

For the initial release we focused on extreme simplicity in our design. It's easier to add things than remove them. We'll be making updates to the homepage and informational pages in the coming weeks to make information more prevalent and respond to feedback and suggestions like this one.

If like me you are wondering about the prices, I finally found the FAQ (link in small font at the bottom of the page) and there is the relevant information:

    2 Days: $2
    1 Week: $3
    1 Month: $10
    6 Months: $50
So, if you need a long term server (which is not what this service is intended for) it's a lot more expensive than other cheap VPSs (it's easy to find OpenVZ VPSs for as little as $15/yr).

The price reinforces the idea of free temporary Linux servers with short TTL. I think it's smart and the price point could possibly make up for the money lost providing a free service. I am curious as to how it'll turn out financially.

That's the real test here. A 2 hour instance is dirt cheap and each paid server covers the cost of at least 100 free ones but until the data starts rolling in we don't know what the base conversion rate will be and whether this can be self-sustaining in the long run.

I totally agree with that, that's why I explicitly said "which is not what this service is intended for". My point was to inform people who might be looking for the same information as me, not at all to criticize this service.

Is the paid version supposed to work yet? I just tried to create a 2 day instance and clicking the "pay with card" button doesn't do anything.

On a related note, does anyone know a good way to pay USD for things like this with a foreign (e.g. UK) bank account. If I use my UK VISA I get stung by my bank's criminal conversion change/rate. This is rarely something I need to do but it has arisen a few times now.

There are a number of UK credit cards offering 0 fee payments overseas(Aqua, Post Office, I think AMEX). There is also a credit card from Halifax offering a good deal on withdrawals, but apparently, it's hard to get. In addition to that, there are a number of companies offering prepaid cards such as Revolut and another one which I can't remember now.

I've not heard of Revolut so I'll look into them, thanks.

I had a look at Monzo before but there was (and still is) a huge waiting list.

The other prepaid card company you're thinking of is probably Monzo.

Try Supercard[0] by Travelex - no fees or charges involved. You configure it via your mobile and it simply passes transactions straight through to a UK card at the standard Visa conversion rate.

Primary use case is travelling abroad, but there's no reason it can't be used for purchases like this in foreign currencies (I've used it both ways myself).

[0] - http://supercard.io

The paid option uses the stripe checkout integration and clicking the button will launch a modal to enter details. This does require Javascript be enabled. The actual payment processing is done completely on Stripe's end so we're not capturing or storing anything there. If you continue to have problems open a ticket by clicking the question mark in the corner of any page and we'll help get it sorted.

Switching to a better bank will do it, but debit cards with free international transactions might be a bit of a fringe product.

Credit cards tend to get much better deals.

Is it a debit card? My credit card doesn't charge any extra fees for international transactions run in the local currency. Some shady merchants will try to claim they have to run in USD or can't take a US credit card but so far I've always been able to insist when abroad.

I have a Nationwide credit card, which has no charges for non-GBP purchases, and uses spot rates for currency conversion. Highly recommended it, if they still offer it to new customers.

Revolut or Monzo don't charge conversion fees.I've used both and they're both very good!

Great service! I needed a free host to demo a class project. Works great, but the user script didn't setup right... maybe I just didn't know how to use it but I tried to follow your example. Would be great to be able to test that before running up a server.

Edit: if you want to check it out in the next hour and a half

I am not sure what's the use case for this.

For deployment of small web apps, you have heroku, GAE and now, all of which offer "permanent" hosting.

It seems to be great to host Demos for open source projects on there!

Ditto. Or I can spin up a paid VM for an hour for a penny or less.

For those who want Arch Linux, you can just run this script: https://github.com/gh2o/digitalocean-debian-to-arch

This comes at a time when, as a Linux newbie, I am curious about exploring the range of various Linux distros and GUIs out there. Would this be a nice tool to see the differences in the windowing interface of various Linux distros and learning more about navigating Linux through X windows, KDE, Gnome, etc, vs just using a command line?

None of our base images include a GUI by default but by using a user-data script you can automate the setup of one.


^ This link will let you create an Ubuntu 16.04 server and will install and configure x2go and an XFCE desktop as soon as it boots. I prefer x2go since it runs over ssh and supports ssh-key authentication by default.

These are servers, so you most likely won't get a GUI.

Could definitely set up some script that goes and sets up a gui from a package repository - but the other comment is right, virtualbox is way better for this kind of thing.

Ah! Brilliant, I was looking for this recently but could not find a reason why someone would make this though. Thanks!

Really wanted to give this a go but unfortunately when I try and create a server it doesn't do anything, just refreshes to the main dashboard. No error or any other detail is shown. But overall nice idea, would probably use it to provide demos of a script / project for a fixed 2 hour window.

ok, seems to be fixed now... it's simple, and effective.

I selected the wrong SSH key to add to my server and now have to wait 2 hours to rectify my mistake.

Cool service though!

Nice service! I could see this being really useful for web scraping or for offloading compilation. (Or any relatively short computation, really.)

I caught a bit of an awkward sentence on the FAQ though: "Unless specifically specified otherwise.."

Just "specified" will do :)

The compiler tool chain is not installed by default on the Ubuntu 16.04 image I used. GCC installs in a few seconds. You'd need to automate the setup. So startup is a bit costly (in time) for compiling, CI, etc. Maybe dlpy could add a dev-ready image one day.

edit: the init scripts make setup easy:


Wouldn't web scraping be considered abusive usage as it is frowned upon by most websites?

IMO scraping is only abusive if the site explicitly asks to not be scraped (via the site's robots.txt)

There are plenty of ways to scrape responsibly.

Scraping, when done responsibly (respecting robots.txt and not overloading a server with requests) wouldn't be considered abusive in most cases. While we will be strict in enforcing abuse policies, when it's obvious a user acted with good intentions we can work on a case by case basis.

It could be done in an abusive way, certainly.

> Your new server's first two hours are FREE. Keep it longer for as little as $2 via Credit Card or Bitcoin. Your server is deleted automatically when its time runs out, never incur unexpected bills.

How much longer? This can't be $1/HR

2 Days: $2 1 Week: $3 1 Month: $10 6 Months: $50

From https://dply.co/help/faq

You should disable bitcoin somehow, or this will end very, very badly for you.

Part of the goal in the beta is to improve the abuse processes and profiling abusive users based on the small amount of data we collect (Github account/ssh keys) with the goal of creating a process that lets us effectively block abusive users without creating higher barriers for others to get started. We'll be tweaking things as we go and whether to keep the Bitcoin option will depend on what the measurable effect of it turns out to be.

In the future if abuse becomes a problem we may consider things like requiring a certain amount of history in the Github account.

If that's the angle you are going to take, you should send me a message, will at the company I work for, bitaccess.co

We have a lot of experience mitigating fraud and identifying fraudulent accounts. Might be able to give you a few pointers and save you some time.

If you need temporary linux servers, check out linuxacademy.com.

I have a paid account and besides accessing the content, i can spin up to six virtual machine to test stuff, at no extra cost besides the montly fee.

Pretty cool! Spun up a new server in like 30 seconds. I can see this being helpful for small POC's and the like.

I'd say a good next step would be to add some more user-data example scripts for common setups.

Awesome job!

We may create a community repository of user-data scripts allowing you to check a "Share this with the community" option on the Dply button creation page. For now, DigitalOcean has a nice Github repository of user-data scripts you can use: https://github.com/digitalocean/do_user_scripts/

Aren't you guys worried that this is going to be used for hacking?

Of course we are. The two things this MVP/Beta is testing are:

1.) Our backend abuse procedures and methods for profiling abusive users to keep them from coming back.

2.) Whether enough people will choose to keep a server by adding more time to pay for the free ones. Each paid server covers the cost of over 100 free 2 hour servers.

We will continue to adjust things based on what we learn and in the future we may add things like a requirement of a certain level of activity and history on Github. Combined with being able to profile abusers this would create a high barrier to entry for anyone wanting to abuse the service without adding a big barrier for legitimate users.

I am not really sure how this works exactly but since they are receiving my email and ssh keys from GitHub, can't they simply use it for malicious purpose?

The SSH key that github has is considered public. The public key can't be used maliciously. The private key is on your machine. The two keys have to be used together to make anything happen.



They have access to the public key, not the private key. If you're sufficiently paranoid you could imagine someone acquiring gtihub.com and waiting for `git origin add` typos (let's hope you're also paranoid enough to not ignore new/unknown server keys being added to your known_hosts file).

I'm wondering what the digital ocean terms and conditions are around this, Dply looks like it is subcontracting their infrastructure, is that allowed?

DO absolutely allows (and encourages) resellers and SaaS platforms on their service. My day job is with DO and Dply was built as a side project to meet some needs I have heard from developers, students, and open source projects.

Dply operates with DO's blessing but is otherwise unrelated in any official sense. We launched under a credit like those offered in the Hatch program for startups: https://www.digitalocean.com/hatch/

Just tried this and I really like it. I hope this is here to stay. The Dply button could be huge!

Have you evaluated using containers for this type of workloads? You could save a fuckton of money this way.

Containers and container services are great but sometimes you need a full server and doing a PaaS with containers has it's own challenges to ensure isolation, have network setup work easily and other factors. I use containers for some of my own stuff but other things are just better with a full VM.

The biggest issue that I can see with this is abuse.

Do you have a way of preventing email spam and outgoing DoS attacks?

SMTP ports are blocked and we recommend using a transactional mail service if your server needs to send mail.

We're implementing a number of things to profile abusers and prevent abuse on the platform and will be strictly enforcing policies against abuse. The lack of an API and prohibition on automating the creation of servers combined with required Github profile for ssh keys help to make the service unattractive for most abuse cases. Our goal is to use these methods to prevent abuse while keeping a very low barrier to entry for legitimate users.

Doesn't work for me. I seem to be getting a 403 forbidden code when I authorise it.

This is the only report of this that we've seen and checking our web server we weren't able to find any 403's being returned today. If you see this again, please open a ticket by clicking the question mark in the corner of any page so we can investigate.

This is a really neat service. Thanks, I probably will get some leverage out of this.

Is this from Diply? It uses the same logo font and everything.

That is the Pattaya font on Dply, which itself is a version of Lobster, which was/is a very popular font for Logos and websites. You will be very busy if you accuse every project which uses Lobster to be a ripoff of Diply. What do you mean with "everything"? The use of the color blue?

How do you not see the similarity between "Diply" and "dply" that uses the identical font and a similar color...

It honestly seems like a coincidence to me. Using a popular font (Lobster) for your logo means your logo will look like other people's logos.

As for "similar color", the dply logo appears to be black. There is some blue (not the same blue) on the page, I guess?

Diply's brand color is blue: http://diply.com/

Right, and dply's is black. So, I'm curious why "blue" is being mentioned at all. Because dply has some blue (not the same blue) on the page?


Every link on the page is blue, as well as hovering (which is why I said their 'brand' color not their logo color)

Right. But not the same blue.


So, two websites, using the same font for their logo, and both using some shade of blue somewhere on the page?

And don't forget those buttons with round corners. /s

I don't get your sarcasm. A logo matching in wording, font, and color, is different than a generic design aspect.

Whoah, slow down there. I was just asking. The name and font were similar enough to make me curious.

It's not and until your comment I wasn't familiar with Diply. Doesn't look like we offer anything similar but if I heard from them with concerns we'd consider changing our logo font to prevent confusion.

Is there no way to manually delete an instance?

There will be soon. We've already implemented an "expire now" function in the backend for servers on the free plan and are working on adding it to the UI. We're hopeful that this feature will be available this weekend.

if i can pay with bitcoin, whats to stop me from doing bad things with these servers?

Without going into too much detail we keep track of users, profiling things like ssh keys and github accounts, IP addresses and activity in order to make sure that abusers, once identified cannot come back. All payments are non-refundable (though if we break something we'll credit the time back in almost all cases) so if you pay with bitcoin and abuse the service you'd be out the money with no server left to show for it. The ephemeral nature of Dply servers means that verified cases of abuse will usually result in server deletion and account locking.

If even with the processes we have in place, abuse becomes an issue we could require that the Github account used has a certain amount of history and activity (doing more to profile the user that way). All these things combined with no API and automation of creation being disallowed makes for a low ROI on an abuser's time compared to other services already available.

Well done!


Do you support freeBSD?

We'll be enabling FreeBSD soon

Was just about to ask for this - thanks for supporting. Very cool service btw.

The landing page suggests so, but the option to start a server with FBSD seems to be missing.

The "How it works" page has been updated to remove this reference until we include the FreeBSD image.

this is awesome! great work.

"Dply blocks common SMTP ports by default in order to prevent abuse of the platform and be able to provide servers for free."

Why do this over simpler bandwidth throttling say after a certain threshold has been met?

Because no spam is better than a low volume of spam

Absolutely. Keeping costs low is key to having this model work. Each paid server can cover the costs of a lot of free ones but abuse policy enforcement takes people and that's much more expensive. There are quite a few transactional mail providers who offer APIs that can be used for most purposes where mail sending is needed.

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