Free MySQL hosting for a college course?
June 10, 2012 5:28 PM   Subscribe

I'll be teaching a class on "dynamic websites" to some designers. What's the best (and free) way to get them playing around with MySQL?

If I were teaching one person about LAMP, I'd spend the time getting everything up and running on their Mac. But a) we'll be in a computer lab so I'm not sure what kind of permissions I'll have on the Macs. b) I'd rather the projects be available online.

What's the best free and hosted MySQL/PHP setup? Is there one? We wouldn't need a ton of bandwidth or space, but we'd really like a database.

(and I'm open to alternate ideas, like teaching to a flat file database or something)
posted by jragon to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Set up a Wordpress site and then use it to look at the relationship between the database tables and what the end user sees on the website?
posted by COD at 5:35 PM on June 10, 2012

You might try a Heroku-alike that supports PHP, like AppFog (here's a list of other alternatives). Many of them have a free pricing tier.

When I've taught classes like this in the past, I've set up a single Amazon EC2 instance and gave everyone accounts on the machine. EC2 instances are ridiculously cheap if you only have them up for a limited amount of time, but it may be more cost than you're willing to eat as the instructor. As an alternative, you could have students set up their own EC2 instances—the smallest instances are free for first-time customers.
posted by aparrish at 5:36 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yep, boot a micro Amazon Linux instance, install your LAMP stack, save an AMI, and let the students start their own identical free instances. The ability to use EC2 may be the most valuable thing you teach them ツ
posted by nicwolff at 6:07 PM on June 10, 2012

Does the institution in which you're teaching have a server that you can set up LAMP on? I've found that having the students contribute rows to a shared table can make for a fun environment (and it's a quick way to develop content for the class).

Alternatively, I'd suggest using a free SQL sandbox, such as SQL Fiddle. That way they can link to their work, play around with SQL without blowing anything up, and work from home if need be.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 6:35 PM on June 10, 2012

You may want to have a look at Openshift from Redhat . They have a number of databases to use; list . They also have a bootable version available to play with here.
It is built on top of AWS so may hide some of the unnecessary details. This environment would allow a complete setup of a variety of tool chains. I heard about it from FLOSS weekly a few weeks ago and i am intrigued about it myself.
posted by stuartmm at 2:44 AM on June 11, 2012

What about MAMP? You can install on your Mac in about 30 seconds. Not sure if you need an administrator password though.
posted by derbs at 6:59 AM on June 11, 2012

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