Hosting Websites in the Amazon Cloud

Posted by on Jun 5, 2012 in AWS, Hosting, Server Admin | 3 Comments
Hosting Websites in the Amazon Cloud

This is Part 1 of a 3 part series on installing a WordPress instance on AWS

Part 1: Hosting Websites in the Amazon Cloud

Part 2: Setting Up An EC2 Instance

Part 3: Installing WordPress on EC2

See you in the cloud


Arguably one of the hottest terms used in the tech world today is “the Cloud”. Its also very interesting how many people get that term mixed up with “online storage”, and rightfully so – the term gets misused. But if cloud applications are successful – the user won’t really have to think about them other than just some magic happens up in said “cloud” and everything just works.

Recently I’ve become very interested in using Amazon Web Services for hosting websites and content. After hearing some crazy awesome stories from some friends of mine who develop with AWS I decided I need to give this a try.

So why is this better than hosting from a provider like Dreamhost or Bluehost? Its hard to compare an enterprise level solution with an entry level hosting plan, but you might pay the same for a simple website and I think AWS is such a better option.

Dreamhost, Bluehost, etc are good options if you have a simple site and don’t want to fool with setting up a server and I totally understand that’s not something most people are interested in.

But the performance on these servers varies wildly since shared accounts are just that. You’ve got a few hundred roommates on the same box and if one starts getting a lot of hits, all the accounts will slow down.

I guess the main reason I’m comparing an enterprise service like AWS to shared hosting is the cost. You can run a WordPress blog for about $15 a month. Granted you need to know a little about server admin to set this up, but if you do its a complete no brainer – 10 times the performance for the same cost.

Determining this cost

One thing that might be confusing about Amazon Cloud services is the pricing structure. They have a hilariously complicated calculator that requires 4 information science degree’s from Harvard to understand.

Amazon EC2 is a network that allows you to set up server “instances” that can be added, duplicated, multiplied or removed instantly. Its an amazingly powerful network that’s improved over the years into quite a beast. Amazon recently switched their entire e-commerce site over to their own cloud. EC2 stands for Elastic Cloud Computing and that’s exactly what it is. Its an elastic or flexible way of setting up servers on demand inside the cloud network.

Here’s how it works – you lease your server space and resources so you only pay for what you use so it will probably vary depending on site traffic and other factors. I have a micro instance setup with Ubuntu, Nginx, MySQL, PHP and WordPress. I’ve optimized this to be extremely fast and efficient. As I’ve just set this up, I’m not sure what the total cost will be but its looking like between $10 and $15 a month.

This is incredible. You would pay that for a good shared hosting service and I would bet your server is half the speed of the AWS instance I set up. As I said, I just set mine up, but so far I’m very impressed with the performance over other hosting plans I’ve had in the past.

Amazon is offering a free tier right now that’s good for one year of service on a micro instance. You can sign up for the and see what the charges would be monthly and you have a year to decide if you want to pay for it or not (my guess is you will).

For no other reason than to see what all of the “services” are – you should head over to Amazon and take a look.

I recently found some resources and built a high performance, WordPress site built on an instance of an Ubuntu server running Nginx, PHP, Mysql and Varnish. I’m not an expert at all for heavy server admin, but I’m so impressed with this setup, I’m going to move one of my higher traffic sites over and see how it goes.

If you’re curious to how this setup works – I’ve created two more articles to show you how its done.

See you in the cloud!

This is Part 1 of a 3 part series on installing a WordPress instance on AWS

Part 1: Hosting Websites in the Amazon Cloud

Part 2: Setting Up An EC2 Instance

Part 3: Installing WordPress on EC2

3 Comments

  1. How to Install Wordpress on AWS EC2 | The Art of Code
    June 8, 2012

    [...] Part 1: Hosting Websites in the Amazon Cloud [...]

    Reply
  2. Amazon EC2 Tutorial | The Art of Code
    December 16, 2012

    [...] Part 1: Hosting Websites in the Amazon Cloud [...]

    Reply
  3. AWS Pricing | The Art of Code
    January 6, 2013

    [...] to some of my other AWS stuff, particularly my Installing WordPress on EC2, Amazon EC2 Tutorial and Hosting Websites in the Amazon Cloud [...]

    Reply

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