How I run 3 instances & a database for less than £20 a month.

Lowering your costs is essential for any small start-up, it’s likely you will be paying the bill out of your own pocket for the foreseeable future. The good news is with a little bit of effort you can drastically reduce your website hosting costs. For example I managed to reduce my running costs from £109 to £15.87 a month!

Estimated monthly cost is £109 using AWS

  • Backend server — Linux T3 medium (£37)
  • Frontend server — Linux T3 small (free)
  • Video server — Linux T3 large (£49)
  • PostgreSQL database — T3 Small (£23)

My monthly cost £15.87

  • Backend server — Linux T3 medium equivalent (£2.49)
  • Frontend server — Linux T3 medium equivalent (£2.49)
  • Video server — Linux T3 large (£4.90)
  • PostgreSQL database — T3 Small (£5.99)

That’s a massive £93 saving every month, so what’s the catch?

You are paying Amazon a premium because they handle most of the ‘other’ bits which are required for applications, such as SSL certificates, load-balancing, SSH access, logging and more.

My cloud recommendations

For my backend & front-end servers I use Hetzner CX11s, these are equivalent to AWS small tier EC2 with 1 CPU core and 2GB ram.

I’m yet to encounter any resource bottlenecks for my Kotlin server and my Next JS user-interface with this setup, which gets a big thumbs up from me for value!

Similarly, my video meeting server is on the CX21 which is equivalent to AWS medium tier EC2 (2 CPU cores & 4GB ram).

I wanted a fully managed PostgreSQL DB so I opted for ScaleGrids’ nano DB with 1 core and 1 GB ram.

My challenges

  1. Deploying builds to the servers is quite time taking. I recommend investing into an automation tool like Jenkins to automate deployments to save yourself a bit of time.
  2. Getting HTTPS (SSL) certificates is a requirement for all modern webapps but thankfully with a bit of knowhow it’s completely free and easy. I use letsencrypt to automatically renew my certificates for my domain bitmentor.co.uk.
  3. Logging was my last challenge but in the end, I settled on the ELK stack (elastic search and kibana) and it’s also completely free on logz.io!

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