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 capable of running anything that can be run on a standard Linux box (provided it doesn’t need a GUI). That makes it useful for any number of projects.
In this article I want to take a quick look at just five things that you might consider doing with a VPS — any of which can be done in addition to hosting a website.
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 to a third-party server that I don’t control. There are private solutions like the Transporter, but they’re expensive and not as flexible as a “cloud” service.
BitTorrent Sync is a private syncing service that allows users to sync their data between multiple devices, much as Dropbox does. But without the cloud component of Dropbox, the system lacks an always-on connection to the Internet. Installing BitTorrent Sync on a VPS creates a syncing platform that matches the functionality of Dropbox without the privacy concerns.
Deploy A Personal Cloud
There’s more to the cloud than data syncing – contacts, calendars, and collaboration are equally important. The ownCloud application can handle data syncing too, but it also includes a calendar, task manager, document editing, and galleries.
Encrypt Your Wireless Connections
When you’re out and about, connecting to public wireless networks can be hazardous: you never know if the fellow at the next table is intercepting your connection. Virtual Private Networks encrypt the connection between your device and an online server, making it impossible for anyone sitting between them to make sense of the data.
There are lots of VPN solutions available that will work on a virtual private server, but OpenVPN is one the best.
Run Private Analytics
If you’d prefer to self-host your own web analytics, rather than relying on a service like Google Analytics, then Piwik has you covered. It’s a feature rich web analytics tool that includes many of the features of GA, including real time analytics, geolocation, visitor tracking, and referrer analysis.
Manage Your Projects
If you run a small business, and particularly if that business employs remote workers, a good web-accessible project management tool is a must. ProjectLibre is a comprehensive open source feature-rich project management tool that was voted one of the “Top Ten Open Source Projects Of 2013”.
What are you doing with your VPS? Let us know in the comments below.