EC2 Micro Instance Saved Me $120 A Year

Update: Nathan Peel pointed out that I missed the $0.007 hourly usage in my calculation. I originally said that I saved $180 a year, it’s actually $120. Thanks Nathan for the correction!

Please note that what I’m writing here is more applicable to web sites with low traffic and storage requirement.

I’ve been a happy Slicehost user for the past 2.5 years. I used Slicehost for hosting this blog and some other web sites. I used their 256 slice plan at $20 per month, i.e $240 per year which includes 36.5 days bonus. I know there are cheaper hosting plans out there, but none provides the combination of excellent reliability, full root access, easy to use domain management, excellent support and documentation, and competitive price.

That was until two weeks ago when Amazon announced their EC2 Micro instance plan of 613Mb for only $54 a year plus $0.007 per hour of usage for a reserved instance. I immediately gave it a few test runs and found plenty of nice things about it. I really like their on-demand instance, I could start and stop the instance any time I want and they only charged me for the total time it was running. I also like having the ability to choose which region the instance is hosted: US West, US East, Asia Pacific, or Europe. And their documentation is very complete if not too much to read through.

The only downside is that EC2 doesn’t have any domain management service, but luckily Go Daddy, where I bought my domain names from, has Total DNS Control. It’s not as convenient to use as Slicehost’s domain management but still usable enough, and best of all, it’s free.

Some numbers from the plans (valid at the time of writing):

Slicehost 256 slice Slicehost 512 slice Amazon EC2 Micro Instance

Memory 256MB 512MB 613MB
Bandwidth 150GB 300GB $0.15/GB/month (*)
Storage 10GB 20GB $0.10/GB/month (*)
Pricing $20 x 12 = $240/year $38 x 12 = $456/year $54 + ($0.007 x 24 x 365) = $115.32/year
(*) not included in the yearly cost.

This blog and some other web sites I’m maintaining only use 2GB/month bandwidth usage and less than 1GB storage. So let’s count that at $0.15 * 2 * 12 = $3.6/year for bandwidth, and $0.10 * 1 * 12 = $1.2/year for storage, which brings the yearly cost to $115.32 + $3.6 + $1.2 = $120.12. Rounding that to $120 and I’m saving $120 per year.

In summary, I no longer have any reason to keep using Slicehost. I think the Slicehost crew is amazing, but cost-wise, I simply can’t ignore Amazon’s offering.

This blog is now hosted on an Amazon EC2 Micro instance.

Update (01/06/2012): On-demand hourly usage pricing has gone up since I wrote this blog post, what used to be $0.007 is now $0.020. I moved from on-demand to reserved instances which costs $23 for a 1 year term, and $35 for a 3 year term. Note that this is on top of bandwidth usage.

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