Save money on Amazon EC2 hosting

Saving Money On Amazon EC2 and Other Cloud Hosts

With everything being “in the Cloud” these days, many people are moving their hosted websites away from static hardware and to a Cloud-based hosting solution – either a shared service or their own server hosted by a provider. We love Amazon’s EC2 infrastructure and while using it for most of our services and offering it as a great solution for our clients it can quickly become costly. There are a few simple things you can do to substantially reduce your monthly costs. Here are some ways you can be saving money on Amazon EC2 and other Cloud providers:

#1 – Use A Reserved Instance Instead of An On-Demand Instance

If you are using Amazon’s On-Demand instances consider switching to an Amazon Reserved Instance. You’ll need to pay out a minimum of a year’s hosting up front, but you should end up saving around 40% or more per year (that’s what we’re saving on average across our servers as compared to an on-demand instance). If you know that you’re not going to move to another hosting provider within the next year then there’s little reason to stick to an on-demand instance for your website. You’ll find after your savings that Amazon’s rates will be very competitive compared to most of the other hosting providers, but you’ll also be getting Amazon’s great infrastructure – reliable and fast, and your own box to do as you please.

#2 – Turn Off Instances When Not In Use

If you are using an instance part time only, for example when as a development or staging server, but your developer or QA team aren’t using the instance 24/7 then consider stopping the instance when it’s not being used. This little trick can save you bundle and it usually only take a minute or two to restart an instance when it’s stopped.

#3 – Size Your Instances Properly

Are you paying for more hardware and disk space than you need? Use your traffic and bandwidth metrics to see if you really need everything that you’re paying for. It’s easy to scale up when you need it, but if don’t really need so many cores, a lot of memory, or that much disk space then you can cut costs by scaling to only what you need. Of course, you’ll want to always have a bit more available horsepower than required should you get a spike in traffic, but if you plan appropriately, even for those spikes, then you can still have more than what you need and save.

#4 – Use Caching Solutions & Share More Websites on Fewer Instances

We’ve found that sometimes when people launch a new website they are of the mindset that they’ll need a new server instance for hosting instead of utilizing an instance that they may already have. If you utilize advanced caching solutions, such as Varnish, Memcached, APC, or even switch from Apache to Nginx you may realize improved performance such that you can use your existing instance(s) instead of paying out for a new instance.

#5 – Consider Using Glacier Instead of Amazon S3

If your requirements for data backup aren’t extremely time critical for restores then Amazon’s Glacier service might be a good choice for you. Glacier offers extremely competitive transfer and storage rates and is much less costly than S3. If your business requirements demand a faster restore time and additional services then S3 will probably be a better choice. The cost savings between Glacier and S3 are substantial and quite often, especially for desktop/laptop backups, we’ve found that Glacier works quite well for many companies.

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Amazon EC2 gives you the power to launch On-Demand Instances and pay by the hour. You can also purchase Reserved Instances to lower costs and reserve capacity, and you can bid for spare capacity by using Spot Instances (see the Instance Purchasing Options page for more information). With all of …


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