Amazon Web Services Review

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Paul Mahony

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2019 October 2nd

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a major infrastructure of online and computing services run by Amazon.

AWS includes high-tech services from hosting and databases to analytics, robotics, and satellite. As for web hosting, Amazon claims to provide highly scalable, fast, and reliable service for businesses and enterprises.

We all know Amazon is good at a lot of things. So is its hosting for you and is it good?

In this AWS review, we'll find out, whether Amazon can offer a reliable hosting service.

What is AWS?

AWS is Amazon run hosting solution for businesses that need high scalability options and reliability. Amazon hosting offers a number of solutions for business - VPS servers for simple website hosting, static website hosting, and dedicated enterprise Cloud hosting.

AWS review - amazon web services all products

And because of this major infrastructure, the list of companies using AWS services includes such major corporations like Netflix, Expedia, and Adobe.

But is Amazon hosting for everyone?

AWS claims that it offers web hosting solutions for business, non-profits, and governmental organizations.

But let's look at its hosting services:

Amazon Lightsail: simple web hosting – Amazon Lightsail is made of one server that runs either a Content Management system (think of WordPress, Joomla, or eCommerce like Magento) or development stack, like Lamp or Python-Django. 

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This service will be best for low- to medium-traffic websites. It's a lower cost solution for blogs, small businesses, marketing sites, etc.

Amazon S3: static web hosting - Amazon S3 is designed to deliver HTML, JavaScript, images, video, or similar files. However, it won't be able to deliver server-side application code such as PHP or ASP.NET.

Amazon-hosting-review-AWS-static

These websites are very low cost and can be scaled to handle enterprise-level traffic with no server administration requirements. AWS promises to deliver 99.999999999% durability. However, Amazon recommends this service to personal and marketing sites that are managed by just a few people. 

Amazon EC2: enterprise web hosting - Amazon EC2 can handle the highest traffic levels and app-heavy websites. Companies like Lamborghini and Coursera use this service to make their own websites available at all times, to everyone. 

Amazon-hosting-review-AWS-EC2

Amazon EC2 combines multiple servers in at least 2 data centers worldwide. This allows for high scalability and availability.

Of course, reliable service comes at a price. So although Amazon has services that seem to be perfect for bloggers, freelancers, and small business, pricing may be a trap. So now, let's look into Amazon Lightsail pricing.

AWS Pricing

AWS pricing for simple website hosting starts at $3.50/month on Linux/Unix servers. There are 7 plans, and you can upgrade up to $160/month for more server resources.

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Windows simple website hosting plans price starts at $8/month. With 7 plans, you can upgrade to $240/month, which will provide you the most resources possible.

AWS-review-AWS-pricing

With all of the plans, you'll get an easy to launch virtual server and a bunch of pre-installed apps and development stacks. All servers include a static IP address, management console, DNS management, automated backups, and powerful API.

So there's no confusion on which plan to choose based on features it offers. The main difference is server resources.

In the table below, you can compare the resources you get with each plan:

Disk space Memory Data Transfer HDD / SSD Processor Customer Support Automated Backups
Level 1 20 GB/30 GB 512 MB 1TB/Mo SSD 1 Core Live chat, Email and Phone Included
Level 2 40 GB 1 GB 2 TB/Mo SSD 1 Core Live chat, Email and Phone Included
Level 3 60 GB 2 GB 3 TB/Mo SSD 1 Core Live chat, Email and Phone Included
Level 4 80 GB 4 GB 4 TB/Mo SSD 2 Core Live chat, Email and Phone Included
Level 5 160 GB 8 GB 5 TB/Mo SSD 2 Core Live chat, Email and Phone Included
Level 6 320 GB 16 GB 6 TB/Mo SSD 4 Core Live chat, Email and Phone Included
Level 7 640 GB 32 GB 7 TB/Mo SSD 8 Core Live chat, Email and Phone Included

Level 1 is good for basic single websites which don't get big surges in traffic. Level 7 is good enough to handle even the seriously huge projects. So pick whichever you are - or a plan in between!

AWS pricing is also straightforward. There are no renewals or extensive billing periods. You pay for what you use, monthly.

Here's how much it would cost to host a website on Windows and Linux servers:

Linux/Unix Windows
Level 1 $3.50 $8.00
Level 2 $5.00 $12.00
Level 3 $10.00 $20.00
Level 4 $20.00 $40.00
Level 5 $40.00 $70.00
Level 6 $80.00 $120.00
Level 7 $160.00 $240.00

Unfortunately, Amazon hosting will not provide you with a domain name and you'll have to purchase it separately. That's some extra to the price: from $1 to thousands of dollars if you need an established domain.

But all in all, the plans look affordable. Especially Linux. For $3.50/month you would even be able to host a few simple WordPress websites. Though we cannot guarantee you excellent speed - the resources look sufficient.

AWS Performance

In continuation of the Amazon Web Services review, we want to find out the performance of the host’s servers.

For that, we set up a simple WordPress website with AWS, and launched a few testing and monitoring tools.

The results show pretty good results. In multiple locations, AWS servers don't step over 400ms response time mark. With the industry performance averaging at 553ms, it's a great result. And if you hosting in the US or Europe, the response times are as low as 100ms.

To check how the servers react to some traffic, we conducted another test with 50 virtual users. The results were pretty great as well. Response time tends to jump up and down a little bit, but still keeps an average of around 80ms.

AWS-review-AWS-performance

All in all, AWS performance is great - it falls in the list of above average providers. And for the price, it's a pretty good value.

Amazon Web Services Pros

Amazon shows some really good results, so let's sum up what positive things we saw when testing it out.

Good support - all the web hosting solutions come with 24/7 support from the AWS. And you can only guess that Amazon has many people working to ensure your problems are solved immediately. The provider gives you a choice of Live Chat, Email, and phone support for 24 hours all through the week.

Great server speedAWS’s server speed is exceptionally quick. Even with some traffic on the cheapest Amazon server, performance remains great, though some ups and downs can be seen.  

Reliability – AWS is a reliable hosting provider. It's a provider of choice for many huge projects, and Amazon experts are known for providing high-end support to sites for optimum performance and speed.

Choice of server selection – Not only can you choose from a bunch of servers optimized for different purposes running Linux, Unix, and Windows, but also there are great numbers of available worldwide locations.

Amazon Web Services Cons

This Amazon Web Services review also reveals some drawbacks the provider has. So choosing AWS, keep these things in mind: 

A disorganized array of services - AWS offers dozens and dozens of services. Finding the right one can become a big challenge, especially for inexperienced users. And that makes Amazon hosting not really fit for everyone. 

User-friendliness - with AWS, you are responsible for your own server. It is optimized according to the plan, yet the rest is up to you. Without an installed cPanel, beginner users might get lost.

Limited services - the monthly data transfer and disc space are limited. Make sure to check whether the limitations are fine for your projects.

Amazon Web Services Review - Conclusion

Amazon Web Services review shoes, that it provides virtually all the services available in the market. But the truth remains that the services are not designed for everyone.

While the performance, plans, and pricing seem to look great for every kind of project, beginners will find it difficult to use AWS services.

However, businesses employing a bunch of experts can and do benefit of affordable and clear pricing, as well as great performance.

AWS hosting is a great enterprise option, and while it can do web hosting really well, too, it's not an ideal option for everyone.

Pros

  • Great server speed
  • Worldwide infrastructure
  • Scalabillity options

Cons

  • Lacks user-friendly features
  • Only fits for enterprises

Amazon Web Services User Reviews

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User comments

Taymour Matin picture
Taymour Matin

2019 September 11th

The support has been absolutely terrible. No one is responding to my ticket - the site is down (through no fault of mine) and when I complain, they indicated that... Read more

The support has been absolutely terrible. No one is responding to my ticket - the site is down (through no fault of mine) and when I complain, they indicated that someone contacted me so I should be happy.

Performance Pricing User friendly Support Features
    Natasha

    2019 November 11th

    Before you sign up with Amazon web services to host your entire website, do your research! Firstly you NEVER get to have a conversation with a person. You always only... Read more

    Before you sign up with Amazon web services to host your entire website, do your research! Firstly you NEVER get to have a conversation with a person. You always only communicate via email. Secondly the people you communicate with via email hardly speaks or understands English therefore it's very challenging and time consuming to figure things out, and you often get only half information. Thirdly you can forget about a straight up answer to any of your questions, the person you communicate with via email will refer you back to the Amazon documentation which is 100's of pages long, for you to read through and figure out the answer yourself. You then often if you're not a technical boffin yourself end up making mistakes, and loading incorrect stuff at the incorrect time, as nobody at Amazon goes on to explain to you that once you add instances or services to your Dashboard you will immediately start paying them monthly even if your website is not even built or developed or using any of their services yet. So you pay for mistakenly adding stuff onto the AWS client portal dashboard, Our entire website is built in Opensource technologies so it made most sense at the time to go with AWS, however we are in the process of getting information from Microsoft Azure to host our entire environment due to the lack of service received from AWS and them conveniently taking our money for no services rendered. It's day light robbery!! When we listed a dispute about the charges in excess of R50 000 over 6 months we incurred for NO SERVICES rendered, they politely said oh sorry you should have read through our 2000 page manual and check out the fine print that if you load services on your client portal, EVEN IF YOU AREN'T USING THEM you will be paying for them...... We were fortunate enough to have a conversation with a human being at Azure whom explained that they DO NOT take clients money for services not rendered, therefore with Microsoft Azure you only pay once your website is actually utilizing their services.

Ashlea Fredrickson picture
Ashlea Fredrickson

2019 February 1st

WORLDS WORST SERVICE OUT THERE!!!! Have been locked out of our account for 4 months now due to an error of AWS. Cannot get any contact with AWS to resolve... Read more

WORLDS WORST SERVICE OUT THERE!!!! Have been locked out of our account for 4 months now due to an error of AWS. Cannot get any contact with AWS to resolve this issue and they are happy to keep charging our company each month but no one will help gain access. AWS host our website and are by far the worst service. I highly do NOT recommend AWS