My Experience With Amazon EC2 Hosting With WordPress

With the new year comes new realizations for me in my Amazon EC2 hosting which I wanted to share so others could learn from my experience. It wasn’t as cheap as I thought, but still I am enjoying well over 50 – 70% cost savings in hosting. This is as compared to any other hosting company I could find in getting a dedicated server. I am not really into VPS or shared hosting whose performance varies and is often oversold, in my experience. I want performance I can count on in the long run for my projects and don’t want my performance to vary over time. Unfortunately this has been my experience with VPS and shared hosting in the last few years not only for my sites, but my clients and friends as well.


The one time payment for an EC2 reserved instance is NOT the total cost of that instance as I had mistakenly overlooked previously. I almost had a total cow when I looked at my Account Activity going up for the month of January 2012 by about 30 bucks.


The real cost of your own Amazon EC2 instance, which is similar to a dedicated server, is broken down by ( reserve cost ) / ( paid for term in months ) + ( hourly usage fee ) * 744 hours (a full month of usage) + storage fees (EBS) = $(actual monthly cost). If we look at my situation I paid $850 for a 36 month term to get the best savings I could as I plan on experimenting with many web projects in the coming years; a good investment I thought. I plan on having my high cpu medium instance from Amazon running 24/7/365 for my various websites and projects going forward. Using my new formula, my monthly cost is not $23.61 as I had originally hoped, but turned out to be $850 / 36 + $0.04 * 744 + $0.00 (my storage utiliziation is half a gig for web server storage, which is free) = $53.37 per month, on average.


When I calmed down, I realized, hell, I am still getting a sweet deal! How did I come to that? Well, at my old host, Arvixe, a cheap dedicated server, is $105 a month, and, was only for a single core processor with mediocre hardware. Look at my stats below and you can still see why I am smiling and enjoying great performance, Amazon’s specs seem to be holding and running as fast as they have promised. Even though the monthly cost is considerably higher than I originally intended I still feel very happy in that I am getting incredible performance per dollar that I couldn’t really get for the same price anywhere else I’ve shopped; I’ve recently left LunarPages and Arvixe. What I really enjoy so far about this is that my performance should not (I only have a few months experience) degrade over time as more customers join the service or other sites hosted by others receive far more traffic. In my experience VPS and shared hosting is hit and miss, if you are on a under utilized VPS or shared hosting account, the performance is great, but others can steal performance as the total load among all customers increase. A simple way to think of this is DSL vs Cable, with DSL you get private bandwidth whereas with Cable you have to share total bandwidth with all other customers in your area. This is why cable is often slower in large cities as compared to a private DSL line with lower specs in the same city; here in Reno cable is amazing because we are comparatively small at half a million people. I also like that my account won’t be suspended for using too much CPU as I have purchased all 2.5 cores for my 100% utilization as I see fit; no management problems there and I won’t find my site down or have urgent emails from my host to deal with lest I risk having all my sites go offline unless I comply.


My Amazon EC2 High CPU Medium Reserved Instance – Heavy Utilization Plan – Hosts Four WordPress Websites:


1. 2.5 ECUs = Two and a half cores, assuming each core is equivalent in performance to a 1.7 Ghz Intel Xeon processor produced in 2007.

2. 1.7 GB of RAM

* Between all four WordPress sites, I still have a full gig left over that I can use for other projects, awesome!


Hopefully this paints a useful real life example of WordPress on Amazon’s EC2 platform. Compared to dedicated hosting, it’s easily half the cost as long as you don’t mind managing the server yourself; I find backups the easiest way to rollback to a known good state to instantly undo viruses, hacker attacks, etc. I’ve been able to restore images of my web server in minutes with Amazon’s awesome web interface.


Happy new year everyone!!