Lifetime Free Google Server

Ilham Syahid S
3 min readDec 2, 2021


Source Imgur

We might want to quickly deploy our code to make sure it works or just want to have a server to play around with for free.

Certainly, you can!

As a student, I wanted to know and use services for free and forever. That's the background of this post and the previous post (go check if you haven’t read it)

But how do we get that?

Google Cloud provides us to use free tier compute engine.

Without further, let’s go!

First time know about this, I certainly say “this is for me”.

Setup Server

1. Go to GCP then signup/in

If you are new, you can get $300 credit by use free trial (click on ‘Get started for free’ or here)

2. Go to Compute Engine

Enable Compute Engine API here if not enabled

Setup billing, need a credit card but dont worry you won’t get charged.

3. Create VM, instance

Make sure you create in free tier locations (us-west1, us-central, us-east1) with machine type e2-micro and standard persistent disk up to 30GB, as stated here.

Also, make sure to allow HTTP and HTTPS.

4. Connect via SSH

That’s it.


Let’s quickly try our new server by creating an express app.

Install dependencies

1. Connect via SSH

2. Update package Linux

sudo apt update

3. Install Node.js

sudo apt install nodejs

Check with:

$ node -v

4. Install NPM

sudo apt install npm

Create Express

Quick start create express app here

1. Install executable

npm install -g express-generator@4

2. Create app

express /tmp/foo && cd /tmp/foo

3. Install dependencies

npm install

4. Start server

Before we start, we have to change port server 3000 to 80.

sudo pico bin/www

Search for 3000 or go to line (CTRL + SHIFT + _) 15 and change into 80.

Exit (CTRL + X).

Run server

sudo npm start

5. See public

Navigate to Compute Engine and click external IP.

You’ll find something like this:

P.S. This is for testing only, make sure to correct deploy your app.

Next Step

Deploy project on the server and play around with.

NOTE: The server running for free, but Google might charge if you are over the free usage limit. Also, Google may change their terms for “forever” (read: Google Photos)

IMPORTANT: You may be charged because of Network Egress to China and Australia.

Reach Me

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