A wide selection of free VPS services that includes “always free” and free trials alternatives.

Table of Contents

Always Free

Oracle Cloud

Maybe one of the most generous “always free” options out there:

  • Two AMD Compute VMs (Virtual Machine, VPS) with 1/8 OCPU (1 OCPU = 2vCPU) and 1GB RAM.
  • 4 Arm-based A1 cores and 24GB RAM (you can use the 4 cores in one VM or up to 4 VMs).
  • 2 Block Volumes Storage (200GB).
  • Outbound data transfer: 10TB per month.

Oracle Cloud also offers:

  • Free object storage (10GB).
  • 2 databases (NoSQL).
  • And more (check their website).

You need to add a valid credit card to sign up. Its web console is confusing (at least for me): from login to deleting account process, going through user management or VM firewalls.

Oracle Cloud Compute window

Google Cloud

  • One “e2-micro” instance (2vCPU, 1GB RAM VPS) in Oregon, Iowa and South Carolina regions.
  • 30GB HDD.
  • Outbound data transfer: 1GB per month (from North America to all region destinations, excluding China and Australia).

Google Cloud Compute window

Katacoda

Katacoda offers free tech courses (Docker, Machine Learning, Networking, CI/CD, Serverless, etc.) in an interactive way, using real environments.

You can also try one of their “playgrounds” if you want to play with a VPS in an online terminal. One of these playgrounds has:

  • An Ubuntu-based system (16.04).
  • 1.5GB RAM.
  • more than 200GB of storage.
  • Root access.
  • Internet access (but restricted, you can’t use “apt” in some playgrounds).

It includes an IDE based on VS Code for editing your files easily inside your browser.

There are plenty of videos on Youtube in which they show how to use these VPS to install almost everything, even Windows 11 (these servers support nested virtualization).

Katacoda window

OnWorks

OnWorks offers free access to Linux Desktop environments based on several distros, including Ubuntu 20.04.

  • 2vCPU.
  • 3GB RAM.
  • 30GB of storage.

You can install programs since the system user has “sudo” permissions and these environments have Internet access. You can upload and download files. You can even save or load a session with Google Drive.

There are a few limitations, like a 10-min maximum idle time (and you can’t leave the browser tab), but it’s the simplest way to access a free desktop environment.

OnWorks Ubuntu window

DistroTest

With DistroTest you can try almost any Linux distro (+350 distros included) with your web browser (desktop environment, no SSH).

  • 2GB RAM.
  • “Live” distro versions, no storage.

You can use these VPS during 30 min (you can extend the time). Remember to allow pop-ups. Distros start from a “live” medium. Perfomance is not as good as other alternatives, but no other website has so many distros available.

DistroTest window

CoCalc

CoCalc has a complete IDE with a terminal where you can test your Jupyter notebooks (Python), SageMath worksheets (Mathematical software) or you can simply type in the terminal directly.

  • 4vCPU.
  • 30GB RAM.
  • 120GB of storage.

The default user doesn’t have “sudo” permissions and server doesn’t have Internet access. However, you can upload and download files.

CoCalc Terminal window

RS1 Command Line Tool

I have my own online Linux terminal in which you can test popular Linux commands like awk, sed, cut, tar, etc. You can also run and compile simple Python and Java projects or editing videos, images and PDF files with ffmpeg, GhostScript and GraphicsMagick. Servers behind this tool have 6vCPU and 10GB of RAM.

This tool is more restricted than a regular VPS:

  • Every command needs to finish by itself (in other words, it cannot show any prompt). Try using -y in your command to automatically answer yes to prompts.
  • Command execution can’t last more than 60 seconds.

Files uploaded will remain for 2-3 hours unless you delete them before. Files downloaded will be publicly available for 1 day.

RS1 Command Line Tool window

JSLinux

With this page you can run an online Linux terminal or a desktop enviroment with several Linux/Unix distros. You can even launch a Windows 2000 desktop.

This website works as a virtual machine manager like QEMU or VirtualBox in the browser (you are using your own computer resources). You can change default assigned RAM by editing URL (e.g.: https://bellard.org/jslinux/vm.html?url=alpine-x86.cfg&mem=512).

JSLinux window

Linux containers

LXD is a container software, similar to Docker, you can use on your server. Their website has a free online terminal where you can test LXD. It’s limited to 30 minutes per session and it has 2vCPU, 256MB of RAM and 5GB of storage. Internet access is limited (only IPv6) but you can install packages with apt.

Linux containers terminal window

CB.VU

CB.VU is a Linux emulator, compatible with basic system commands like vi, ping, date or man.

CB.VU window

Copy.sh

Similar to JSLinux, you have several operating systems to play: Arch, ReactOS, Windows 2000, FreeDOS, etc. but you can select your own ISO file (non-PAE, 32bit). It’s like using QEMU or VirtualBox in the browser (you are using your computer resources).

Copy.sh window

JS/UIX

Another Linux emulator like CB.VU.

JS/UIX window

Free Trials

Oracle Cloud

Oracle Cloud has a 30-day free trial (besides their “always free” offer) with 300 USD (250 EUR) in free credits for use in several services.

Google Cloud

Google Cloud also offers 300 USD in free credits, valid for 90 days, you can use in any service. There are few limitations though:

  • You can’t create Windows Server instances.
  • You can’t add GPUs to your instances.

Amazon Web Services

AWS has a 12-month free trial in which you can use several services like:

  • 750 hours per month of t2.micro or t3.micro instances (2vCPU, 1GB RAM, Linux or Windows).
  • 50GB of data transfer out for CloudFront (their CDN service)
  • 5GB of standard storage for S3 (their object storage service)

There is also a 3-month trial for their basic VPS service “Lightsail”.

AWS EC2 window

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure offers a 12-month free trial on some services:

  • 750 hours per month of B1S VMs (1vCPU, 1GB RAM), Windows or Linux.
  • 64GB SSD.
  • 15GB Outbound Traffic.
  • 5GB of Object Storage.

Microsoft Azure create VM window

Linode

Linode offers 100 USD in free credits to use with their services (Compute plans, Object Storage, Block Storage, or NodeBalancers) within 60 days after signing up.

DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean also offers the same 100 USD for 60 days. They have standard VPS, managed Kubernetes clusters, object storage and databases.

DigitalOcean create droplet window

Alibaba Cloud

Alibaba Cloud offers a free trial for some of their services:

  • 1 month for their two VPS services:
    • Simple Application Server (similar to Linode, DigitalOcean or AWS Lightsail): up to 2GB RAM, 40GB SSD, 1.5TB Network Bandwith.
    • Elastic Compute Service (similar to AWS EC2 or Google Cloud): up to 8GB RAM, 40GB SSD, no Network Bandwith included.
  • 2 months of SQL Database.
  • 3 months of their CDN service: 1TB of Traffic.

Alibaba Cloud window

IBM Cloud

IBM Cloud offers a 200 USD free credit valid for 30 days you can use in any of their services, which include: VPS, Databases, Object Storage, CDN (on the Akamai network), etc. You don’t need to add a credit card to use some of their free services, but you need it for using VPS.

IBM Cloud window

Vultr

Vultr offers a 50 USD free credit for their compute services.

Vultr compute services list


Related tutorials: