Thursday, January 02, 2014

Free Hosting (a.k.a. Yes, you can use Amazon AWS for free)

When I started at the job that I have now (and absolutely love), I got my first foray into the world of Amazon AWS.  Before starting here, I did not have any experience in the cloud, but cannot say that I was not absolutely intrigued by it.  Sure I had a Dropbox account and Bitcasa account, among others, but that's not the type of cloud experience I am referring to.

Amazon AWS (which stands for Amazon Web Services) is Amazon's cloud services platform.  There are an absolutely plethora of companies that use it on a daily basis, including Amazon, which uses it for its own store.

Sure, to use it there is quite a bit of a learning curve associated, but believe it or not, its not that difficult, it just requires the time to dedicate to learn it.  Amazon keeps quite an array of documentation for you to reference and learn from, and if you or your company have enough in the budget to support it, they have training available around the country.

But, believe it or not, one does not have to spend a cent in order to get started with Amazon AWS, so long as you stay within their guidelines, which are outlined on their Free Tier page.

You could use it to setup a website (even database backed) and have it up and running for a full year before you have to pay a cent to Amazon.  That is truer than you think.  Amazon gives you 750 free hours a month of free running instance time.  Which means, unless they decide to extend the number of days in the calendar for each month, you can leave your single instance running 24x7 without going over.

Amazon has quite an incredible cloud platform to work with, but be careful, because once you start paying, if you do not monitor your activity, the bill can grow exponentially.  But that's not to say it cannot be done, it is done every day by companies that use untold amounts of amazon's services.

I hope you not only enjoyed this article, but that you let curiosity be your guide and try the cloud.  Its quite fun.

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