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Try a free sandbox space

Try a free sandbox space

A sandbox is a free space that you can use to see if cloud.gov might suit your team’s needs. From the setup process through deploying an app, it works similarly to other spaces that are included in paid access packages, with some limitations.

Get a sandbox

Anyone with a U.S. federal government email address (ending in .gov, .mil, or .fed.us) can sign up for a free sandbox space. No paperwork is required from us. (It’s up to you to determine whether you may need permission from your organization.) If you have other questions or comments, see Contact.

Then, if you’re interested in purchasing full access (whether for Prototyping or for production systems at the Open Data, FISMA Low, or FISMA Moderate levels), fill out this interest form or email us again.

Keep in mind before you try your sandbox

  • If your agency has not already integrated its single-sign on authentication provider with cloud.gov (only GSA, EPA, and FDIC have done this so far), you will access your sandbox through a cloud.gov account in the GovCloud environment. This account requires multi-factor authentication using a mobile app such as Google Authenticator or Authy. If you cannot install or use these apps, such as if your workplace prohibits mobile phones or mobile phone cameras, you might not be able to set up access. (Paid access packages support integration with your agency single sign-on authentication provider.)
  • If your organization prohibits installing the cloud.gov command line interface on your computer, you won’t be able to deploy applications in your sandbox. (For paid access packages, we can coordinate with your agency to help them approve this tool.)

A few things you can try in your sandbox

On a technical level, a sandbox is a specially-limited “space” within a sandbox-only “organization” that is managed by cloud.gov. You can build and deploy applications and services within that space.

As part of that, you can:

Sandbox limitations

Sandboxes are limited because cloud.gov is a cost-recoverable service. They’re a free trial to help you evaluate whether to purchase cloud.gov.

Sandboxes are for testing; they’re suitable for information and applications that require no confidentiality, integrity, or availability. (Don’t put production applications or production data in sandboxes; that’s not what they’re for.)

Limitations include:

  • Resource usage is capped at 1 GB of memory total, for all the applications in your space combined.
  • Currently sandbox applications may run indefinitely, but soon we will delete sandbox content once a month. We will send notice emails to all sandbox users before we implement this change in policy. Once this new policy is in place, we’ll also send a note to sandbox users a few days before deletions so people can preserve information they need.
  • Sandboxes do not have an “org manager” role available. (You can control access and permissions for your own sandbox space.) If you want to manage an org of prototyping spaces for people at your agency, consider purchasing prototyping-tier access.