Self hosting for free (with caveats!) with Oracle Cloud

It worked well for some time then I tried to spin the other half of the free tier only to see an error (and the shape had become unavailable), and unfortunately no support, short of upgrading (which I understand, I’m not complaining).


Since we’re here to use Discourse on this particular free hosting, and I guess often to try Discourse as an admin and do various tests, I’d advise using their low specs servers instead of playing with new features that may have obscure limitations.

1 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 500 MB of bandwidth, and 100 GB HDD is enough for that kind of needs, or for a very small community that doesn’t care about a few seconds when opening a page.

For anyone that wants to use more robust solutions, regular hosting companies like Digital Ocean, Hetzner, etc… Will do it for cheap:

A personal note: on one of my free instances, I host a private, personal Discourse that I use to store various information regarding IT stuff -problems, solutions, tools, etc-, but also movies to watch, music links, books information, etc… It does its job perfectly, for free. I keep regular, external backups using rclone. So these low-specs VM can be used for this kind of stuff.


Hey can you please share the username and the password for the file, I can not access it! Thx in advance!

No matter what I try, I can’t seem to get the ports open. Open ports in the dashboard/security list, then in the terminal. To confirm the ports are open, curl -i http://ip.address:80 should report something other than, curl: (7) Failed to connect to ...:80 right?

Are you sure that the instance was just killed with no warning? I don’t currently see anything in the description of the Always Free Tier that suggests that the ARM instances can just disappear.

They have recently started to turn off instances that appear to be idle (see this page for a workaround) but even those can be turned back on and thy do send several emails before they push the button.

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Well, as far as I remember, I can’t say that they intentionally turn off the instance, but it was off at some point (for reasons beyond me, and I didn’t really dig deeper, that was just a sandbox) with the impossibility to spin it on again due to the unavailability of the ampere shape in the Marseilles DC, and since understandably the free tier has no support…
Was there a warning ? I certainly missed it :sweat_smile:
(I’ve had no problem with the x86 shape though)

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Oh, so then it looks like it wasn’t a limited trial but rather some changes in their infrastructure.

I’m just trying to understand what their policies are with regard to their “always free” tier. I have had a discourse instance running on an x86 shape for a few years now, without interruptions, and I’d like to understand the odds of an ARM instance vanishing like yours did. Even if it’s just a sandbox, it feels odd to work on a machine that may be unplugged at any time…,

Anyone here who has had an ARM machine at Oracle running for longer periods of time? Alternatively: anyone who had theirs pulled away under their feet fingers?

Edit: I found this Reddit post, where someone mentions that, previously (i.e. before the current emails Oracle is sending to Free Tier users) Always free instances were subject to random deletion.

The policy now seems to be that people are notified and if they don’t do anything, the instance will not per se be deleted but can be restarted subject to availability of the service in that region So, as long as the machine is in use (see here for how Oracle defines “idle”), I don’t think we need to expect deletion.