Or at least somewhat more secure servers.
So many parts to this! I am not expert at any of them. Moreover, it’s a difficult specialist trade to get good at this. But we can make some starts.
The risk profile here is that I might want to run an internet server and I don’t want to get drive-by hacked by port-sniffing randoms with embarrassing ease. Securing cloud machine against their hosts or other cloud users is a whole other level about which I know nothing, as opposed to the nearly-nothing that I know about securing a host in general.
Baseline: Making sure you are not instantly p3wned
Start with a hardened OS if possible.
A baseline important detail to use modern web services is SSL, a notoriously tedious process. This recently got easier and cheaper with Let’s Encrypt and their client software letsencryptnosudo or simp_le, or the full-stack webserver caddy, which automates the process, or the EFF certbot.
Private development servers
For Mac users with a copy of Mac OS Server
it is easy to setup up a local (optionally SSL) site. This costs $25, but saves you a few hours, so probably worth it.
For Windows users with IIS
It’s medium complicated.
For Linux users
The Mac users’ instructions will mostly work if you happen to be using Apache httpd, but if you are using one of the many other web servers, you will have to look it up. You can cheat, though
Proper Online Servers
I’m not the guy to tell you how to run real secure webservers that actually transfer significant information.
Here is how to do that using Cloudflare. (NB If you are not aware of how the following is in fact a fake SSL then you are not qualified to do real security on websites.)
Summary: Don’t use it for actual server-side applications, because it will behave as if it’s secure while leaking information, but it’s ok for developing browser apps that don’t meaningfully communicate with the server.
Oh wait, you actually want to do the SSL thing?
Here’s a basic emergency guide to doing it with commodity webhosting: Letsencrypt thing with webfaction by Nick Doty.
Lan serving stuff
Run your own search server?