Moving to Amazon S3
Last week I received an invoice from my web host provider, HostMonster. I've used HostMonster since 2009 and they've provided an acceptable level of service. In addition to the web hosting, I bought half a dozen domains through their eCommerce site and several of them are still being renewed. I was spending $200 a year with them between the hosting and the domain registrations.
When I started with HostMonster, I got a discounted first year. Seems it was $3.99 per month. The next year, the full price of $6.99 kicked in. Since then, every year the cost of my hosting package has increased a dollar or two. This year, it's $11.99 per month so my invoice is almost $150. This is for hosting less than 50MB of static content across three domains.
I decided I didn't need to spend $150 for this service and so I asked around on Twitter for ideas. The best idea, after a little research, is to use Amazon's S3 hosting. The first year hosting is free, but I will have to pay for DNS. I used the logs from my hosting company to determine that I transfer less than 500MB per month from my sites. I multiplied this by 10 and plugged the formula into Amazon's calculator. If rates hold, hosting will cost me a couple dollars per month after the free year is over.
On a production side, I've spent a couple evenings setting up the S3 "buckets" while watching baseball playoffs. I also took this opportunity to update the Jekyll and Bootstrap frameworks that power this site. I've pulled in Google Analytics so I can get some idea of who is visiting and what they're looking at. The next steps, after I get the content stabilized on S3 is to point my domain names at the S3 buckets. That should all happen by the end of the week or early next. These are vanity sites, so I don't mind a few days of downtime.
Unlike my previous change of dumping DirecTV, I don't bear HostMonster any ill will. They've been a good host, but when I put a pencil to the cost vs. benefit of their service they don't stack up.