I was previously hosting all of my sites with GoDaddy, using one of their unlimited domain hosting services. While this was pretty inexpensive compared to similar services, I was never truly happy with the load time. Often taking over 1.2 seconds to load this blog!
At my current job, I had the pleasure of doing of some speed testing with some Amazon EC2 services. I was certainly impressed with them. While I was doing some costing for work, I decided to do a bit of costing for myself. I run several websites, no hits by any means, but enough that I care about the poor performance I was getting at GoDaddy.
My annual fee at GoDaddy was in the neighbourhood of $100/year. Quite decent for the 7-10 websites I'm currently hosting. However, I started looking at the micro instances that Amazon offers. These start as low as $0.02 per hour. When you cost this out over the entire year, it works out to around $180/year. Obviously more expensive, but Amazon also offers reserved instances. Knowing that my sites will be around for the whole year, getting a 1 year reserved instance brings it down to $130/year; much closer to the previous $100/year that you barely notice it!
If you're a regular visitor of this blog, you'll now notice that the site takes less than 0.5 seconds to load! Not too shabby for a few bucks more a year.
Now, here's the real kicker, Amazon is offering FREE micro instances for a year with certain usage limitations! So far, my sites are taking complete advantage of it and I'm extremely happy.
Before making the jump, please remember there is a big difference; one is managed by a team of professionals to keep running versus running your own dedicated server with EC2.
If you have a little bit of knowledge and know what you're doing, I definitely suggest taking advantage of Amazon EC2's free micro hosting!
P.S. I am not getting anything in return from Amazon for writing this post, just thought Amazon deserved the recognition for providing me with free micro hosting!