Before we go into details on how you can get a free one year VPS, let’s take a quick recap about VPS and why you want or need to have one for JARVEE.
JARVEE is not cloud based, hence all information are stored locally and in order for the software to continue executing its scheduled tasks, both the computer and JARVEE should be up and running at all times. In addition, JARVEE relies heavily on the speed of your connection for flawless automation experience.
We understand that this entire scenario may not be workable for some, which is perfectly understandable, but that should not stop anyone from enjoying the full potential of JARVEE. A good solution to this is to get a VPS and install JARVEE there, this way you can have it running 24/7 even when your computer is off.
So, what is a VPS?
VPS may sound complex for non-techie folks so we will try to explain the concept as simple as we can. Simply put, it’s like having a computer somewhere else; a virtual computer where you can download and install a bunch of software and store your files without consuming any storage space on your physical computer, the computer that you use.
You can have your virtual computer running all the time even when your physical computer is off, therefore, this is a the best solution for those who don’t want to keep their computer running all day long as well as those who don’t have a Windows based computer.
Where to get a VPS?
There are a number of VPS providers in the market but if you only have one or two accounts in JARVEE, a free Windows VPS that you can use for a year at zero cost will definitely do the trick.
It may not be boasting with power, but it’s fairly enough for running a couple of accounts on JARVEE.Note: This is not for folks that require a more powerful machine and use a lot of accounts. For that setup, you will need a better server and there are a lot of places where you can get that online, you should know better if you’re at that level so we’re not going to get into that.
In this article we’re going to cover the following:
- How to get a free windows VPS for 1 year
- How to connect to your VPS using remote desktop on Windows
- How to connect to your VPS using remote desktop on Mac OS X
- How to use your local drive in remote connections (or how to copy data from your PC to the VPS)
- How to use your local drives in remote connections(or how to copy data from your Mac OS X to the VPS)
- How to install and start using JARVEE on your new VPS
- How to disable IE Enhanced Security in Windows Server 2012
- How to get notifications when you go over the limits of your free Amazon VPS
Let’s get started 🙂
Some of you might know but most of you probably don’t, Amazon offers everybody that wants to test their services a free VPS for a year. However, it may be a bit of a challenge to navigate through their signup pages so here’s a short walk through on how to do it swiftly and with ease.
What you need to prepare:
- a credit card, it will not be billed as the VPS is free but they require you to provide one
- a telephone number – they will call to verify your identity (call is automated not human)
- 5-15 minutes of your time depending on how fast you are in filling up forms and following instructions.
What’s in it for you:
- 1Gb of RAM
- 30Gb Hdd (you’ll have around 11Gb free after the OS is installed)
- 1 virtual processor at 2.49Ghz
- OS: Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard.
- 1GB monthly free traffic (if you go over they will charge you $0.12 per 1Gb which is almost free as well)
As you can see, it’s not much but it’s pretty decent and what’s important is that it’s free for a year and it will suffice for any day-to-day post scheduling.
If you want to go ahead and get your own server like the one above, just go over to Amazon at: http://aws.amazon.com/free/. You will see this server being referred to as AWS account (it means Amazon Web Services account).
There would be more information on their page about the free plan, you can go ahead and read that or if you opt to simply go on your way and continue, just click the yellow “Create a Free Account” button as seen below:Next, you will be taken to the signup page for the AWS service, you can proceed and create a new account by selecting “I am a new user” and entering your email like this:After filling out the required information, click the yellow “Sign in using our secure server” button and you will be taken to another form to complete the signup process.Go ahead and fill out these too with your name, email as before and select a new password. After you’re done click the “Create account” button and you will be redirected to a page that will ask for your details (the AWS console signup page; refer to image below). You will need to complete this form in order to proceed to the next step. You can choose between a Company or a Personal account, I went for a Personal one.Fill everything out accurately, be sure to provide your real name and address as you will also have to enter your credit card information later and if they don’t match, you might get denied and all your previous efforts would amount to nothing. Hence, use your Full Name, company (if any), select your country, enter address, city, state, postal code, phone number, the security code and finally tick the AWS customer agreement check box. When you are all set, click the Create Account and Continue button. You will then be redirected to the Payment Information page where you need to enter your credit card details:Type in your credit card number and select the expiration date. Enter your name as before, either leave the address that you already entered (as I did, just blurred it though) or select a new one, then press “Continue”. You will be redirected to the Identity verification step:
In this part of the signup process, they will verify that you are who you say you are, so you will get an automated call from Amazon and you will need to enter the provided PIN number in order to proceed. Make sure again that you entered your phone number correctly and have your telephone close by before you click the “Call me now” yellow button.You should immediately receive a call from Amazon, they will also display a PIN number on your computer screen you will need to enter that PIN number on your telephone keypad or just say it audibly one digit at a time. If it was successful, you will receive a message on your screen stating that your identity verification is complete:Now just click the “Continue to select your Support Plan” button. You will need to select the support plan for your VPS:
This one should be quite simple, if Basic (Free) is already selected leave it as it is. If something else is selected, then choose Basic (Free) then click the ‘Continue’ button and you finally have your Amazon Web Services account:Cheers! You now have an AWS account. And the next thing you need to do is set up your Windows VPS. To do that, just click on the yellow “Sign in to the Console”At this point, you might be prompted to re-enter your AWS password, the one you provided in the signup process. Just go on and enter the required information and re-login to the AWS management console. Don’t mind all the other services Amazon is providing here; there are a lot of them and someone that is new to this would easily get confused. The management console would look something like this:Again, pay no attention to the other items, just focus and click on “EC2 – Virtual Servers in the Cloud” (where the red arrow points to). You will then be taken to another screen that yet again presents overwhelming information; Amazon sure is having fun with all these 🙂 Just click the blue “Launch Instance” button and you will be redirected to a page where you will need to choose what operating system to install on your VPS:Here, you will see several choices of operating systems and if you are doing this in order to use it with other software at this point you can choose either Linux or Windows. However, for the sole purpose of using the VPS for JARVEE, you need to select “Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Base”.
Note: You need to scroll down, as there are numerous items in the list provided by Amazon, until you get to “Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Base”, it also has to say “Free tier eligible” in the left corner. In order to proceed, click the blue “Select” button that’s located to the right of the Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Base item.
Then, you will need to go through a couple more steps in order to select the specs of your new VPS. In order to keep it free, always select the one that has the green “Free tier eligible” text:It should be selected by default, if not, select ‘General purpose t2 micro’ which is the only one that is free. Now, you can either go through the rest of the steps to see what each item offers (not really necessary unless you know what you are doing) or jump to the end by clicking the blue “Review and Launch” button:If you’ve hit the Review and Launch button you should be at step 7, Review instance launch, which is basically just Amazon giving out additional information about the server, you can skip everything and click the blue “Launch” button at the bottom right corner, which I suggest you do.Going forward, you will be prompted to select a new key pair or create one. This is very important as you will use this file in order to get the password for your VPS, so make sure you save it somewhere safe. It will also be useful in case you lose your password and need to login to your VPS.
Since you just created a new account, you won’t have one yet, so select “Create a new key pair” from the drop down box and assign a name for it.Once you have entered the name for your key pair, click on “Download Key Pair” and your browser should prompt you to download a new file to your computer; it will be named as the name you’ve given above, without spaces and with a .pem extension. We can’t stress this enough, save it somewhere on your computer and keep it safe for future use.
As mentioned, this is a very important step, as without this file you won’t be able to connect to your VPS, so if your browser does not prompt you to download this file make sure you have disabled any plugin that might block it. Also, choose to save the file on your computer, not open it.
After this, the blue “Launch instances” button would be activated, so click it and as soon as the setup time is done, you should receive a message that your new instance is launching:You may also notice a “Get notified of estimated charges” notification on this screen which you can later set-up so you get notified if your VPS gets over the free limits.
Next, click on the blue button and you will be brought back to the AWS console where your newly created VPS instance will be listed, it should look something like this:You will see your VPS with the status of running. Take note of the Connect button above it, click that and another window should appear with instructions on how to connect to your VPS. It looks like this:
Yes, I hear and feel you on this one, I know it’s been a long signup but hang in there and we’re almost done so breathe in and breathe out, look at the bright side, you only have to do this once for an entire year of free VPS, so that’s a tad of good news there 🙂
Moving on, click on “Download Remote Desktop File” and save that file somewhere in your computer, it’s what you will use to connect to your VPS. Next, you will need a password so click the Get Password button. Now is the time that you will need to provide the Key Pair that you created and downloaded earlier in order to decrypt your password:
You can either upload your .pem file or copy its content in the designated box and click the ‘Decrypt Password’ button. Shortly after that, you should see your VPS password, record it somewhere and keep it safe; you’ll use that every time you connect to your VPS.
Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for…You’re done! Now, you have a free Windows VPS that will be up and running for the whole year.
You have your .rdp file which you will be using to connect to your VPS and you have your password. In case you used a VPS before you should very well know how to proceed. For the new kids on the block, please keep on reading.
Also I just want to re-iterate, this is just a one-time setup process, from here on, you have your VPS ready and running at all times, all you need to do is connect to it.
Connecting to your newly created VPS through remote desktop is rather simple, if you don’t have the .rdp file that you previously downloaded, you would need to create your connection manually and enter the IP of your VPS. If this is not the case though, just double click the .rdp file, the name should be something like the-ip-of-the-vps.rdp (something like 192.168.1.1.rdp …just an example). When you access it for the first time (by double clicking), you would get a pop up similar to the image below:
Be sure to check the “Don’t ask me again for connections to this computer” checkbox (to skip doing this each time you connect) and click the “Connect” button. You will then arrive to the login screen where you need to enter your password:
Enter your password in the designated area. Also, check the “Remember my credentials” checkbox underneath so you don’t need to enter your password every time. Next, hit the ‘OK’ button. Again, since this is the first time you’ve done this, an extra window will appear:
Simply tick the “Don’t ask me again for connections to this computer” checkbox then click ‘Yes’ to avoid this dialog box next time you connect.
Right after you click ‘Yes’, a connection will be established which will bring you to your VPS, your new Windows VPS machine and can do anything you want with it. Just use it as you would use any other computer, you can do stuff such as downloading and installing programs and the likes. It will run 24/7 and even when you are not connected to it.
For MAC users, things would be a bit different. However, if you followed the above tutorial, you will have your .rdp file ready which you will use to connect to the windows VPS, so you’re half way done.
To connect to your VPS through your machine, you first need to install a remote desktop connection client. On this guide, we installed Microsoft Remote Desktop which a free app (you can find it in the App Store) and rather user friendly, it will look like this:
When you’re done with the installation, you need to create your connection. Be sure to have your .rdp file handy so you can just import the file, this will save you some time as opposed to manually setting up the connection
If you don’t have the .rdp file ready, you can create your connection, by entering the IP of your VPS, the user name and password as shown below:
- PC Name – is where you enter the IP of your VPS
- User name – is the user name for your VPS; “Administrator” is the user name by default unless you changed it to something else
- Password – is the password you previously decrypted when setting up your VPS
Since we are on this screen, let’s make a few more tweaks too. If you imported the .rdp file, edit the imported connection and make sure you add the password (so you need not to type it whenever you connect) and select a resolution that works best on your screen. Don’t forget to save your settings once you’re done.
When everything is set up, just double click on your newly created connection and this should connect you to your VPS.
Depending on what you want to setup on your VPS you might find the need of using one of your local drives in remote desktop connections. This will help move data from your computer to the VPS like installers, folders with posts or the entire JARVEE folder if you previously had it running on your computer. It’s not a hard task but most are not aware of it since it’s a lesser known feature.
- Right click on your Amazon VPS .rdp file and select edit
And it would launch the Remote Connection window, something like the image below:
- Next, click on Local Resources tab and at the bottom under ‘Local devices and resources’, click the More…
- Then, click on the “+” sign beside Drives and all your local drives will show up.
- You can either select a few to make them available when you connect to your VPS or just select them all. Note that, your drives are available on the VPS only when you are connected and only one person can connect at a time so your data is completely safe.
- After selecting one or more drives, click on OK and this will bring you back to the Local Resources tab. You can now proceed to the General tab where you can save the changes you made to the remote connection.
- Then, you can connect as you would normally do and you will notice in ‘My Computer’ (on your VPS) that you also have access to your local drives when you’re connected to your VPS.
TIP: Should you want to move JARVEE to your VPS, you will find the files in: c:\Users\yourname\AppData\Roaming\Jarvee\ – where ‘yourname’ is the user name you are using on your computer.
- How to use your local drives in remote connections (or how to copy data from your Mac OS X to the VPS)
If you are on Mac and you want to share files between your machine and your new VPS, you can follow these few simple steps:
- To start, open the Microsoft Remote Desktop application that you previously installed. You will see your previously created connection. Right-click on your connection and choose Edit.
- Or you can select your VPS connection and click on the Edit button in the menu. The Edit window will appear with the 3 tabs: General, Session and Redirection.
- Go to the Redirection tab and from there, click on the “+” button and you should be able to add a new local folder to your VPS. You just have to give it a name and select the target folder by entering the Path in the corresponding field (or simply choose Browse and navigate to the folder).
- If you did the steps correctly, you should be able to see your shared folder on your VPS.
- You may exit the Edit window and connect to your VPS. On your VPS, open the File Explorer and, in the Devices and Drivers section, you should see the selected folder form your Mac machine.
TIP: You just have to repeat these steps for all the folders you need for your work and you should be good to go.
Installing JARVEE on VPS is practically the same as installing it on any Windows based computer. All you need to do is double click the installer and you will be guided through the steps that you need to take before installing it.
In order to get the installer on your VPS either use your local drives on your VPS as explained in the steps mentioned above or just download the software directly on your server.
If you opt to download JARVEE on your VPS, you can get the link from JARVEE Installation. In addition to the download link, you can also view the installation tutorial provided on the same page.
As soon as you are over and done with the installation process, you can start using it as you would use it on your own computer. And since JARVEE is on your VPS, it will be up and running 24/7 thus you can set it up and it will start automating your social media tasks. Just use the remote desktop connection to check JARVEE on your VPS from time to time, see if everything is working as planned.
This may not be directly connected with using JARVEE on your VPS but still we’d like to share this bit of information with you in case you encounter a problem with browsing, downloading and so on through Internet Explorer (the only browser on your VPS).
For some reason Microsoft thought it would be a smart idea to create the “IE Enhanced Security”. Basically, IE Enhanced Security blocks you from browsing any website, even Google is inaccessible unless you do 5-7 clicks first and add it to the safe list. And whenever you do a search on google and click on the resulting website/page, you will need to add that as well and so on.
To skip all these unnecessary steps, you can opt to disable this feature
First you will need to click on the start menu in the bottom left corner:
You will be redirected to another window where you need to click on Server Manager:
After the Server Manager is loaded click on Local Server:
When you get to the Local Server Properties page, navigate to the right side of the screen and you’ll spot ‘IE Enhanced Security Configuration’ setting and see that it’s “ON”
Click on “On” then a smaller window will popup where you can switch it to “Off” and disable the setting.
From the image above, we have already selected Off for Administrators and that’s what you should do too. If there are other users on your VPS, you can opt to tick the ‘Off’ selection for Users as well. Otherwise, if you’re the only one that will connect and use the VPS, you can leave it as is.
After selecting “Off”, hit the “OK” button. You will notice that the IE Enhanced Security Configuration still shows “On”, you’ll need to press F5 to refresh the window and the display will get updated.
You may then exit the Server Manager page, launch IE and it should start working, no more silly prompts. While you’re at it, you can choose to download your preferred browser for your convenience.
In the top right corner you will see your name, click on it and click on “My Account”, this will take you to your account page on Amazon VPS.
- From there, on the left side, select preferences
- Select “Receive billing alerts”
- Click the “Save preferences” button
- Next, click on the “Manage billing alerts” link in the middle of the page and you will be directed to another page.
At the bottom of this page, you will see “Alarm Summary”:
Click on the “Create billing alarm” link to create a new alarm that will notify you when you go over the free limit and you’ll be redirected to the last page where you need to enter the limits:
All you have to do here is to fill out when you want to be notified. You can leave it at 0 so you get a notification in case you go over the limits or you can set it at $1 -$10 if you accept a little surcharge each month (this totally depends on how much you want to use this VPS). I’ll leave it at $0 for me. After that add your email and click the blue “Create Alarm” button at the lower right of the page.
Finally, confirm your email address by clicking on the confirmation link you get in the email that you added.
NOTE: Once you’ve completed the “Get Notifications” process, you will receive an email if and only if you get over the limit you have specified. When you do get an email, you will need to go to your AWS account and stop your instance for the current month. You can start it again the following month if you want. Please note that you should be fine unless you’re using it to post numerous large images, hence it’s good to set a limit so you don’t have to worry later on.
Final Thoughts 🙂
It was quite a journey setting up your VPS but you only do it once and you’re all set-up for the entire year of free server. In case you are curious, we did test it with JARVEE, running 2 accounts for Facebook, 2 for Twitter and 2 for Pinterest. Each account publishing 10-30 posts daily and around 1-3 tools running for per account, it worked without any problems for over a month and it still does.
If you stay within the limits and be mindful of how you use it, then you wont have a problem. Should you plan to publish hundreds and hundreds of posts per day with several accounts, it might get slower but would still work. Beyond that, you better switch to a paid VPS that provides more power and resources. Overall, the free VPS should be fair enough for moderate users.
Aside from using your VPS for JARVEE, you can also test it out for other stuff like if you have other software that does not require a lot of resources and that you want to keep online 24/7 this could work with that as well. Keep in mind though that there is set of limitations on the server and that you have your Credit Card on record, thus if you go over the said limits, Amazon will charge you for the excess usage. While the rates are really affordable, we feel we owe you the heads-up so you can be well aware of the consequence and avoid over using your VPS. As much as possible, try not to install a software that crawls and downloads a lot of big images, that will create a lot of traffic and could cause you to hit your limits sooner than expected.