How can teens get started with live sites/apps?

I was watching someone code last night and saw him desperately searching for a place to host his stuff that was free. He was using a shared host using PHP, but he disliked PHP, it was just his only real option because there are few free shared hosts that work.

Then he started looking for a free VPS host (I think he wanted to host a TeamSpeak server or something too). So, I started throwing out all the good cheap VPS hosts I could think of then when I suggested the GitHub Education Pack, then he told me he was still in high school. My only reaction was “oh… well you’re screwed then”.

Because, I remember this struggle. The struggle of not having a CC or Debit card and really not a whole lot of money or dependable money. Using crappy dot TK domains, that are blocked virtually everywhere, so you don’t end up with Constantly out there looking for free alternatives to things that really shouldn’t have free alternatives and just ending up with a bunch of crap, spam, and sketchy software installed on my computer. Just generally being out there riding the line with people who are out there looking for the same thing to do sketchy malicious things with them.

Are there any alternatives to this for young aspiring developers who don’t have money? Who may not even have a PayPal or CC? Is there anything I can suggest to teens like this if I run into them again? Something like the Github pack, but for the younger teens?

1 Like

The biggest question is, what does he want out of it? Just a place to host and run the files he produces or really something he can hand out to others to visit?

The first item can be done using or Runnable, the latter rarely can be achieved using free resources, you typically have a domain involved or some sort of payment required (although, you could get things sort of self hosted on Vultr when you sign up with their occasional promo codes that give you $50 in credit. That will last a couple of months on their lowest tier.


I don’t know him, he was just someone I came across. I think he was just looking for a playground. He was trying to install a TeamSpeak server with a friend at one point.

But the thing is, I was just at a loss as what I could suggest to him. I thought about suggesting c9, but those get powered down and aren’t really meant for publishing (as far as I know). He definitelly wanted something that he could used to publish and show to his friends. (I remember that feeling too)

I’ve never heard of Runnable, and I’m not sure what it is. After glancing at it, I don’t see a clear explanation of what it is.
edit: found this, pretty neat

I also suggested Heroku of course, but I’m always hesitant of suggesting that to new developers. Adding to a huge list of things they are already learning is bad.

That’s another thing is the domain. A .xyz or .me or something would be great, because they are cheap, but I don’t think he even had a CC.

I would figure, someone, somewhere would have something like the Github developer pack for pre-college kids. A lot of the “free trial” stuff, still takes a CC to sign up for. (like AWS free year)

When I read this the first time my first thought was to create a special service for those kids.

But then again I read it one more time and saw what the problem was.
So bassicly you can achieve this a couple of ways.
You can setup a custom hosting service that allows them to create a custom url but then you get the long stuff again.

But you can also link this to github.
If I am correct you can show your website content on github using a dns file.

If you have limited funds, and no ability to get a credit card, you could technically pick up a reloadable Visa or whatever in a supermarket. A lot of those can be used online. Additionally, they could do something like a PayPal Student account ( where they get funds transferred from a parent/guardian. Granted, that takes the involvement of said parent, but if you’re a kid today and you get some form of allowance or spending money, maybe you could have it received in digital form?

Additionally, a lot of teens without cards do have their own bank account and a job, and they could also benefit from something like that to allow online payments or signups without a card.

Cheap domain names are probably the best thing I can think of as far as URLs go. Free is hard or impossible, nowadays.

Heroku was a good suggestion, if they’re willing to learn something else…

Trying to think of other ideas…

1 Like

IMHO “free” hosts might be OK for a “hobby” type site, but once one wants to get more serious and have more control over what can be done, cheap hosting is the better alternative.

I haven’t used a credit card in so many years I’ve forgotten the last time I used one.

True, finding businesses that accept personal checks isn’t always easy, and most that do almost always require that the check clears before they’ll move forward,

It might be that I’m “grandfathered in” at this point, but I’ve been hosting with DreamHost for many years now and have always paid them by personal checks.


I’ve only used 3 personal checks in my entire life. :smiley:

I use a debit card for just about everything.

I’d recommend that he buy $17 lifetime VPS plan from It’s pretty crappy server but for the price it’s fair. Definitely good enough as sandbox environment.

1 Like

Have you (or anyone else?) used this service? Seems like a pretty ridiculously good deal for a simple little sandbox VPS or for a simple site or two. Is the company reputable?

And is it really a one time cost? Not a annual cost?

One solution is to get some cheap hosting + domain name from their parents as a birthday/yule gift? There are plenty of semi-reasonable cheap hosts that would be fine for a playground?

Nope, not reliable at all. You get what you pay for but should be enough as sandbox server. I would never put something that needs to be up 24x7

I use it to run my own music stream server

Do you use it in conjunction with a domain? I’d be afraid of getting blacklisted from someone else on the network abusing their servers.

Yup, I do. It’s one of the domains I wouldn’'t care if it’s blocked. Only few handfuls are accessing it. The network speed performance can be horrific to pretty good.

1 Like

I may give that a shot for myself. :slight_smile: I mean… what is $17 for a lifetime?

This topic was automatically closed 91 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.