If you are learning web development, Cloud9 offers free and low-cost cloud based environment that provides everything you need to get started.
ASS-KICKING WEB-BASED EDITOR
What amazed me right away about Cloud9 is the fact that it is 100% browser-based. There is no software to install or anything to download. You simply fire-up your browser and get to work. In your browser, you’ll find an IDE, as well as a console window. You can chose from a number of editor themes, so you can do for the “Monokai” look if that is your thing.
Creating a new application could not be more simple; you can chose from one of about a dozen templates. These include basic HTML5, Node, Python, C++, PHP/Apache, django, Ruby, WordPress, or a blank Ubuntu Linux image. There is even a template specifically for Harvard’s infamous CS50 course.
Yep. You can configure a database for your application. Cloud9 supports MongoDB, MySQL, CouchDB or Cassandra. In each case, the setup is slightly more involved than a simple click or two, but overall it’s not too complicated.
It’s very cool that they have a free tier. Not only can you kick the tires, but for students, it’s a no-brainer. You get one private workspace, and then the rest are public. The “Individual” plan is $19 per month. This is not a bad deal at all as you get three “Hot Workspaces” (i.e. they don’t spin-down due to inactivity), unlimited private workspaces, and increased performance. There is a “Teams” plan which is even more robust as well. If you are a full-time student or represent a school, look into their “Education” plan, which will run you a whopping $1 per month. Amazing.
While services like Heroku, Cloud Foundry, Dokku, Deis, Flynn all make it easy to spin-up various kinds of web-based stacks, Cloud9 makes it even easier. One of the really key aspects of this is the 100% online approach. You do everything in the browser; create files, edit files, deploy your code, even run terminal commands. For serious / production PAAS, I’d go with AWS, but for learning, quick testing, or prototyping, I highly recommend taking a look at Cloud9.