I currently run a couple of very small sites on a Webfaction VPS. It is not very powerful, but for as low as $100 / year I can run a couple of blogs and do all my experimentations on a server and the support is excellent.

I'm interested in Amazon Ec2 because if some of my pet projects happen to gain a bit of popularity (or, simply, it requires more power) it seems it can scale well and because some application would need a 64bit server that Webfaction does not provide.

I'm trying to calculate the the cheapest solution for the smallest server serving continuously 24/7 for the whole year (that's what Webfaction does with my blogs) giving me a fixed address with third level domains to connect to.

As far as I've read it is:

  • A Micro Reserved Instance: one-off $54 + $0.007 / hour = $115
  • Elastic IP address: always in use = free
  • Elastic Block Store: $0.10 month/GB (I need 10 GB/month storage + 10 GB/month transfer): $24
  • Data Transfer: $0.10 month/GB: $12

Total: $150 / year more or less

Is this correct? Can anyone with a bit of experience in using Amazon Services confirm this rough calculation or point me to what is missing / wrong? Thanks in advance


Those look correct, but that's if those prices are the same next year. I think you've missed the recently announced Free Usage Tier which looks like you can take (almost?) full advantage of:


With the other included services for free, you can also start experimenting with designing your applications to scale on AWS, like S3 for storage, SNS for notifications, SQS for message queuing, etc.

Be aware though that there is no official support in AWS unless you buy a support contract. However, they do offer a community forum that AWS techs help out in.

| improve this answer | |
  • unfortunately i'm altready a amazon customer as i use s3 and cloudfront, so i'm not eligible for the free tier – pistacchio Nov 24 '10 at 11:28
  • @pistacchio Shucks. You could try asking them to incorporate your account into the free usage tier offering though. – Rob Olmos Nov 25 '10 at 4:27

You can get a good VPS to "run a couple of blogs and do all my experimentations", for as little as $15 an year (I think 128MB RAM), and a very good one for $50 an year (512 MB RAM, XEN based).

See http://www.lowendbox.com

I have tried about 15 VPS providers - as you are beginning, I strongly suggest:

1) Enotch XEN VPS


2) QuickWeb/RamHost/HostMist/ApertureHost

Lowendbox lists abuot 100s of providers and tts easy to make a bad choice - but Enotch, QuickWeb and about 10 others are definitely very good. Also, safer is to go for XEN instead of OpenVZ.

| improve this answer | |
  • thanks, i came across that site long ago but i couldn't find it again! :) – pistacchio Nov 24 '10 at 11:27
  • The last comments here were a few year back, but just to add in 2017, $20-30/year VPS should get you a 512MB 1 or 2 vCPU VPS which is plenty for running Apache/nginx and MySQL for apps like Wordpress. I don't think you can get close to these prices yet for a EC2 instance if you leave it up running 24/7 – Kevin Hooke Dec 3 '17 at 19:40

Try it out before committing.

I've found EC2 Micro instances to be unusable for WordPress. While they serve pages OK I found using the WordPress admin interface unbearably slow and ended up moving most of them to another provider.

| improve this answer | |
  • For sites that don't need much regular admin interface interaction my approach has usually been to build / configure on a larger server and then when everything is configured as needed reduce the size to a micro. (obviously this doesn't work for frequent admin panel access) – Michael B Dec 30 '15 at 12:13

If you are willing to accept some downtime, and are capable of creating some automation solutions you can cut your costs drastically by using spot instances. Taking you VM cost from $115 to around $27 a year.

This actually makes it possible to create a distributed solution that will survive any individual server loss.

Spot instances are often overlooked for long term solutions because of there transient nature, but individual cloud VMs should be considered transient and it is recommended that multiple servers are deployed because of that. Using spot instances simply accentuates the anticipated unreliability.

| improve this answer | |

I'm doing pretty much exactly what you are, except that I got a 3 year reserved instance instead of 1 year.

My monthly billing hovers around $10-$12 with my usage, including EU taxes.

| improve this answer | |

Amazon Web Services is not exactly the cheapest provider, it starts making sense when you start integrating their different services.

You could still use a VPS providor like Linode for 120$ a year. Or a cheaper one like Vultr

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.