Amazon Web Services (AWS) has an amazing array of web servers and options for everyone (Netflix is their biggest customer).
For a new customer, the first year includes a ‘free-tier‘ which generously reduces prices, and some services are even free.
I signed up and moved Techexposures.com to AWS a little over a year ago. You need familiarize yourself with their nomenclature and how to navigate their control panel. Once you get the hang of it, everything goes very smoothly. They even give you basic server monitoring tools for free during the first year. The free support is good too, if you’re willing to read through forums of how others solved your problems. You can pay for a higher level of support that gives you one-on-one responses.
In the back of my head I remembered that the first year was coming to a close. I thought the micro server cost (their smallest dedicated size) was under $10/month…
So, when I received an automated email from AWS reminding me that the year would end in July, I figured I’d let it continue until I had time to look into alternatives.
Well, today I had a look… They offer a very good online calculator for you to plan and know exactly what your monthly costs will be (actually, they bill in hourly segments. It actually gets that granular!). Bottom line, 1 micro (tiny) server at their Virginia location, with a dedicated ip address (“Elastic IP”) and one volume, currently costs about $18.50 / month with no long term commitments. You can even start up and terminate a server for a few hours to test something and only pay for the hours used.
There are ways to lower the annual cost for a dedicated server. For example, you can commit to a yearly contract, and pay a reduced upfront fee, and then a small monthly charge. Doing it that way drops the cost to less than half.
Here’s a link to the Amazon AWS Web Services Monthly Cost Calculator where you can calculate your own costs if you’re thinking of moving there.