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.
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.
This service will be best for low- to medium-traffic websites. It's a lower cost solution for blogs, small businesses, marketing sites, etc.
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 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 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.
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.
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 (Linux/Windows)||Memory||Data Transfer||HDD / SSD used in servers?||Processor||Customer Support||Choice of server location||Automated backup|
|Level 1||20 GB / 30 GB||512 MB||1 TB / Mo||SSD||1 Core||Live chat, Email & Phone||Worldwide||Included|
|Level 2||40 GB||1 GB||2 TB / Mo||SSD||1 Core||Live chat, Email & Phone||Worldwide||Included|
|Level 3||60 GB||2 GB||3 TB / Mo||SSD||1 Core||Live chat, Email & Phone||Worldwide||Included|
|Level 4||80 GB||4 GB||4 TB / Mo||SSD||2 Core||Live chat, Email & Phone||Worldwide||Included|
|Level 5||160 GB||8 GB||5 TB / Mo||SSD||2 Core||Live chat, Email & Phone||Worldwide||Included|
|Level 6||320 GB||16 GB||6 TB / Mo||SSD||4 Core||Live chat, Email & Phone||Worldwide||Included|
|Level 7||640 GB||32 GB||7 TB / Mo||SSD||8 Core||Live chat, Email & Phone||Worldwide||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:
|Plan / Operating System||Linux/Unix||Windows|
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.
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.
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 speed – AWS’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.
- Great server speed
- Worldwide infrastructure
- Scalabillity options
- Lacks user-friendly features
- Only fits for enterprises