Section A: Create a Google Cloud account
(Skip this if you already have one)
Before hosting, you would need to create a Google Cloud Compute Engine instance.
- Visit cloud.google.com and create an account. You will be required to enter your credit card details to enable billing. However, you will receive a $300 credit that should last you about a year if you run your LAMP stack with the standard settings.
- Visit the Console Marketplace (on left menu) https://console.cloud.google.com/marketplace
- Search for LAMP Stack and click on the one by Google Click to Deploy
- Go ahead with the standard settings (10GB , 1vCPU and 3.75 GB memory)
- Note down the external IP. This points to /var/www/html on your server. All you files need to be stored in this folder
Section B: Create a SSH key to connect to the server from your local computer
For Windows, you will require GitBash terminal. (PuTTYgen for Windows can also be used but since it generates SSH keys using a windows format, it leads to compatibility issues at times. It’s preferable to use GitBash over PuTTYgen)
- Open your terminal and generate a new key
ssh-keygen -t rsa -f ~/[KEY_FILENAME] -C [USERNAME]
This generates a private and a public key.
2. Restrict access to the private key
chmod 400 ~/[KEY_FILENAME]
For both Mac and Windows users
3. Open the public key in an editor and copy the contents. It should have the following format
ssh-rsa [KEY_VALUE] [USERNAME]
4. On Google Cloud Console left menu, goto metadata and click on SSH Keys. Click Edit and paste the contents. Save it.
You can also find the steps here.
Section C: Host a website
- Buy a domain
- Change A records to point the server (to the external IP — 188.8.131.52 in this case)
3. Login to the Google Cloud server
ssh -i yourkey firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Navigate to folder where you would like to upload the website’s files
You can keep your files in any folder inside /var/www/html (I like to keep mine in /folder/projects inside the html folder)
5. Create a folder for the website’s files
sudo mkdir equitableglobalisation
6. Give it necessary permissions
sudo chmod 777 equitableglobalisation
7. Go back to root
8. Navigate to Apache
9. Duplicate the default config file
sudo cp 000-default.conf equitableglobalisation.com.conf
10. Open the file in vi editor
sudo vi equitableglobalisation.com.conf
11. Press — i — to get into insert mode
12. Change the following (uncomment if necessary)
13. Press ctrl+c to get out of insert mode
14. Press :wq! to save the file
15. Enable the site
sudo a2ensite equitableglobalisation.com
16. Reload apache
sudo service apache2 reload
17. Go back to root
Your website is now hosted but it will be served only over http. To add a security certificate, perform the following steps.
Section D: Installing a security certificate
- If you have certbot installed, type the following command. If you have the latest one (late 2019) or don’t have it, skip this
sudo apt-get remove certbot
2. Install and update certbot (make sure you are in the root. Step 17 of Host a Website)
chmod a+x certbot-auto
2. Install certificate. You can choose the operating system and server. (In the case of the instance we deployed, it will be the OS will either be Debian 8 or 9 and the server will be Apache2. The following instructions are for Debian 8)
sudo ./certbot-auto – -apache
When asked for domains, type numbers separated by comma of both domains — with or without www
When asked for redirection, choose 2 to redirect all traffic to https
3. Enable auto renewal (or run this command once in three months since certbot certificates are issued for three months only. You can run a cron job with this command as well if you want)
sudo ./certbot-auto renew — dry-run
You can find more information about certbot here
Section E: Upload website files from local computer to Google Compute Engine
Open Dreamweaver or the SFTP software of your choice and add a new site. You would need the private key file that you generated, the username and the server IP. Root directory is the path to the folder that you created while hosting
The steps keep changing. I will try to keep this up to date with the latest command. If you have any questions, ask me in the comments. Will try my best to answer on time.
If you need help to switch to Google Cloud or Amazon AWS or have an interesting project, you can reach out to us at iarani.com We help organisations around the world in their Digital Transformation journey.