9 cool things you can do with a Virtual Private Server (vServer) from IOZoom or other providers. A Virtual Private Server is a great platform for web hosting, but it’s also useful for many other things. A VPS is an always-on, always-connected server that can run anything that can be run on a standard Linux box (assuming it doesn’t require a GUI). This makes it useful for any number of projects.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you could do with your own server – anything in addition to hosting a website.
Table of Contents
- Create a private sync service
- Deploy a personal cloud
- Encrypt your wireless connections
- Run private analytics
- Manage your projects
- Develop and test your code
- Running a VOIP server
- Automate everything
- Manage your IoT devices
Create a private sync service
We all love Dropbox: I know it makes my life easier. But sometimes I ponder the wisdom of syncing my private data with a third-party server that I don’t control. There are private solutions like Transporter, but they are expensive and not as flexible as a “cloud” service.
BitTorrent Sync is a private sync service that allows users to sync their data between multiple devices, similar to what Dropbox does. But without the cloud component of Dropbox, the system lacks a constantly active connection to the Internet. Installing BitTorrent Sync on a VPS creates a syncing platform that fulfills Dropbox’s functionality without the privacy concerns.
Deploy a personal cloud
The cloud is more than just data synchronization – contacts, calendars and collaboration are equally important. The ownCloud application can also handle data synchronization, but it also includes a calendar, task manager, document editing and galleries. By hosting ownCloud on a VPS, you ensure that the application is not only available from wherever you need it, but also that it’s completely secure and fully under your control.
Encrypt your wireless connections
When you’re on the go, connecting to public wireless networks can be dangerous: You never know if the colleague at the next desk will intercept your connection. Virtual private networks encrypt the connection between your device and an online server, so no one sitting between them can make sense of the data.
As an added benefit, this method can allow you to connect to region-blocked content (things on Netflix, for example). While I definitely wouldn’t recommend you try this at work, it can be a neat way to get around region blocking, which most users think is… well, pretty fake. Just make sure you mask your connections properly, or you could end up losing your Netflix account.
There are many VPN solutions that work on a Virtual Private Server, but OpenVPN is one of the best – and the one I would personally recommend.
Run private analytics
If you prefer to host your own web analytics yourself rather than relying on a service like Google Analytics, Piwik has you covered. It’s a feature-rich web analytics tool that includes many of GA’s features, including real-time analytics, geolocation, visitor tracking, and referrer analysis.
However, web analytics is just the tip of the iceberg here. You can also use your VPS to perform business analytics and upgrade it to analyze large amounts of data without the need for a dedicated server. Jupyter is a great example of a VPS-enabled application that lets you 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 especially if that business employs remote workers, a good web-accessible project management tool is a must. ProjectLibre is a comprehensive, feature-rich open source project management tool that was named one of the “Top Ten Open Source Projects of 2013.”
Develop and test your code
If your company is more development-oriented, a VPS actually provides you with a perfect sandbox for the development process. You can draw on the resources of the VPS to run any development tools you happen to use, making remote development a breeze. More importantly, you can use your VPS to easily simulate test environments for your applications, so you can weed out bugs and glitches long before you go live.
Running a VOIP server
Need to set up a VOIP service for a few quick calls, but don’t want to build a long-term infrastructure? With your VPS, you can install a VOIP application of your choice and make things completely dependent on it. When you’re done, you can phase out the service until you need it again – no need to buy additional hardware.
Have a game or media server you want to manage or administer automatically? Run a bot from your VPS. You can even use your VPS to set up a lightweight chat client that lets your users (or colleagues) stay in touch with each other.
Manage your IoT devices
Does your company use a ton of embedded sensors and ‘smart’ devices? You can actually use your VPS as a hub for managing these devices. The data collected from these devices can easily be forwarded to your VPN and analyzed using the management tool of your choice.
What are IoT devices?
Strictly speaking, all devices that are connected to a network can be called IoT devices. Data is collected, analyzed and evaluated. This makes it possible for processes to be automated and human intervention is no longer necessarily required. As a rule, IoT devices are equipped with field devices. Sensors measure certain conditions such as room temperature, lighting conditions or humidity. If the room temperature is too high or too low, the information is measured by the sensors. The information is then transmitted to actuators via IoT platforms that serve as communicators. These then follow up and turn off the heating or open the windows, for example. In addition to numerous smart home applications, IoT devices are also being used in industry. IIoT “Industrial Internet of Things” uses smart technologies to optimize and automate processes.
The advantages of IoT devices
Depending on the industry and use case, IoT devices offer a wide variety of advantages. In innovation management and the Smart Factory, the focus is on the development of future-proof technologies and business models. The positive development of Industry 4.0 and the experience gained show that the potential of IoT devices is far from exhausted. Processes, services and products are being simplified, optimized or even automated. This minimizes the need for human intervention or makes it completely superfluous. This means that better planning can be done with the available resources. This in turn has the positive effect of increasing both effectiveness and quality. Ultimately, costs can be reduced and flexibility in the process chains increased. Since IoT devices communicate with each other and may exchange sensitive data, privacy protection and protection against attacks must also be ensured here. By using SIM cards integrated into IoT devices and multifactor authentication, access is only granted to authenticated persons. In addition, IoT devices can transmit intrusions or damage to highway bridges or road traffic accidents in real time.