Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are reputed to be one of the best web hosting options available to owners of blogs and websites. This is because they operate in such a way that brings ease, privacy, exclusivity, and control to their owners. They also can deliver the most suitable and effective web hosting services available.

Of course, excellent services are always characterized by multiple vendors. The implication of this is that the excellence of Virtual Private servers begin to vary by vendors, such that the excellence of the product is largely determined by the efficiency of the vendor. Thus, among excellent Virtual Private Server hosting services, Amazon Web Services stand out as an efficient web hosting provider.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a daughter company of Amazon which offers on-demand cloud computing platforms and Application Programming Interfaces to private persons, enterprises, and public parastatals on a metered pay-as-you-go term of payment. These web services provide various basic non-physical technical facility and distributed computing building blocks and tools. Prominent among such cloud computing services is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud is a service that grants customers access to a virtual cluster of computers, which they can easily connect to on the internet. These virtual computers are completely designed after the parts of a real computer such that it also comes with physical Processors, Random Access Memories, bandwidth and network, I/O storage, and even software resources like operating systems, applications and the likes. Amazon Web Services' virtual technology is sustained through its server farms which are scattered at different locations around the globe. Amazon Web services offer several products which run as Virtual Private Servers, Dedicated servers, or a cloud of either.

AMAZON ELASTIC COMPUTE CLOUD (EC2)

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a product of Amazon Web Services (AWS). This product avails users with the rentals of virtual computers on which they can run their software.

The first Beta test for EC2 was announced on the 25th of August 2006. The product expanded when amazon came up with two new instances in 2007. After the Large and Extra-Large versions, Amazon released another 2 instances in 2008 which were High-CPU medium and High-CPU Extra-large, bringing the number of instances to 12.

By the August of that year, Amazon released static IP addresses, availability zones, user-selectable kernels, and Elastic Block Store as new features for the EC2. The EBS is particularly significant for meeting the long -time need for consistent storage.

After adding a service level agreement for EC2, Microsoft Windows in beta form on EC2, and Microsoft SQL Server in beta form on EC2 as new features, the Amazon EC2 was launched for production. At the time, the AWS management console, load balancing, autoscaling, and cloud monitoring services were in the works. They were eventually launched on May 18, 2009.

The EC2 was a project handled by Chris Pinkham and Willem van Biljon. After designing the architectural plan for the project, Chris put the team together and built the EC2 with Willem Van Biljon.

A particular advantage of EC2 is that it gives users the ability to increase the number of applications they deploy over time. This is achieved through a web service that Amazon provides. This service allows a user to configure a virtual machine using the Amazon Machine Image (Amazon refers to a virtual machine as an "instance"). This image has a large spectrum of software preinstalled, making it easy for users to change or even scale the applications on their virtual machines without the stress of settings, building, or configurations.

EC2 is also very flexible. It enables users to create, scale, launch, or even destroy their virtual machines easily. This flexibility is the logic behind the name "Elastic Compute Cloud." The product also takes user control a step further by giving users discretionary powers over the location of their virtual machines. This way, they can determine which location optimizes the latency and redundancy of the machine.

The EC2 fees operate based on the particular preferences that each user combines. For example, a user may opt for a High-CPU medium, 4 GB RAM, 10 GB Storage, and opt for an unmanaged server. Such a user will not pay as much as a user who opts for High-CPU Extra-large with 8 GB Ram, a Windows operating system, three-way storage, managed server services among other preferences. Therefore its payment model is known as "Pay-as-you-go".

Types of Amazon Virtual Private Server

Amazon's virtual machine is referred to as an "instance".Amazon measures its Virtual Private Servers based on "Elastic Compute Units". Amazon made a significant deviation from the normal virtual private server in 2017. It announced a bare-metal server as opposed to servers that are usually virtual.

By the beginning of 2019, Amazon had these instances to its name.

  • General Purpose: A1, T3, T2, M5, M5a, M4, T3a
  • Compute Optimized: C5, C5n, C4
  • Memory-Optimized: R5, R5a, R4, X1e, X1, High Memory, z1d
  • Accelerated Computing: P3, P2, G3, F1
  • Storage Optimized: H1, I3, D2

Pricing and plans

As of April 2018, Amazon charged about $4.176 per month for the smallest "Nano Instance" (t2.nano) virtual machine using Linux or Windows operating system. For Storage-optimized instances (i3.16xlarge), Amazon would charge as much as $3,594.24 per month. "Reserved" instances can go as low as $2.50/month for a prepaid plan of three years. For data transfer, charges are determined by the destination of transfer and how much is being transferred. Thus, some data transfers may not incur any extra charges, while others may cost up to $0.12 per gigabyte. Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services places no charges whatsoever on inbound data transfers.

On-demand instances: this payment plan is otherwise known as pay-as-you-go. It is a post-paid subscription plan. This plan allows users to pay per hour of use. That way, they do not exactly retain the server once they are done with use after a while. This plan seems to before flexible in terms of Creation and termination. However, its cumulative charges are not as cost-effective as reserved or spot instances.

Reserved Instances:

Available to EC2 or RDS service users, reserved instances operate prepaid payment plans. The reserves instance requires a user to pay ahead of time for the use of a server. Normally, such plans run on monthly or annual durations the most popular ones being three-year durations. Understandably, you cannot easily terminate a reserved instance since your fees are stick in it, but it helps to save more compared to on-demand instances. By calculation, you can save between 35-76% of on-demand charges when you opt for reserved instances to reserve an instance for one or three years.

What's more, is that you don't even have to operate the pre-paid plan. The highlight of this plan is that the instance is reserved for you for a while. For reserved instances, you can either pay the total amount before you begin to use the server, pay partially and complete it along the way, or use the server with no upfront at all.

The flexibility of reserved instances has also been optimized over time, such that the reserved servers can either be converted or subdivided along the line.

Spot Instances

Normally, Cloud providers retain massive amounts of excess capacity which they sometimes have to sell, or else they might incur serious losses. In such desperate situations, they have to sell such capacity off at very cheap prices. Amazon Web Services also possess Amazon EC2 Spot instances as spare compute capacity in its cloud. These instances are usually available for as little as 10% of on-demand prices. The only downside to EC2 spot instances is that they come with no Service Level Agreements. Thus, Amazon Web Serviced owes no obligation in terms of quality and availability. In such situations, Spot instances could be interrupted so abruptly that users hardly get notifications beforehand. On days that such notifications come, the interruptions occur about two minutes after, leaving users with little or no time for back up.

The free tier offers.

Amazon Web Services also offers products to customers for free using its free tier Services.

12-Months Free: These free tier offers are only open to new customers of Amazon Web Services. The offer lasts for 12 months which starts counting from the day you register for the service. The tiers come with application use thresholds. Thus, if your use of applications goes beyond the stipulated thresholds, you get to pay based on the Pay-as-you-go rates. These rates will also apply once your 12-month Amazon Web Services free-tier term is over

Always Free: These are free tier offers that do not automatically cease at the expiration of the 12-month AWS Free Tier term. They are particular services that are available to all customers. They also do not come with a definite time of expiration.

Trials: These kinds of free tier offers do not last for so long. They mostly come to effect from the first time a user begins to use the service

Micro instance: Amazon also offers free resource credits to customers. With these credits, customers could operate a small server, storage, and bandwidth which would last a year. These free credits however had to be exhausted per month as they were not designed to roll over. Though its services are limited, Amazon AWS offers enough free hours to run the micro-instance round the clock for a whole year. If a user needs more services than is offered, he or she may run some services on one instance, and then run other services on another. However, the number of free hours are calculated with a limited number of services. Thus, if you run more services than is offered, then you'll have less time than is offered. For example, you can run the limited services on one micro instance for 12 months, or run different services on 4 different micro instances for 3 months. That way you have more services, less time.

Creating a free Amazon Web Services Account

In case you have an existing account on Amazon, then you don't need to sign up again. Simply log in to your existing account. If you don't, then follow these steps.

  • log on to the AWS Free Tier web page and click on “Sign up for AWS Account”
  • On the new page, click “Create a Free Account”.
  • Click on the “Free Account” button
  • The site gives you certain instructions to set up your user account. The process however requires a mobile phone for ID verification.

You can also read up or watch video tutorials on creating free micro instances, as well as the best ways to optimize them while they last. You don’t want to exhaust such juicy offers only to start wishing you had used them better do you?

Benefits of Amazon Web Services.

Amazon Web Services prides itself on its ability to provide computing capacity which comes with the size and effectiveness of a physical server. Yet, the pricing of such services is very affordable, making such excellence available to a large spectrum of customers.

EC2 in particular encourages the expansion of features and applications on a virtual server using the Amazon Machine Image. Since the Amazon image has a rich bank of ready-to-use applications, users can always add more apps to the ones on their virtual servers or computers.

Amazon Web Services also offers several products including the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and AWS Lambda. They also offer developer tools, networking, database, analytics, application services, management, and tools for the internet of things.

In conclusion, Amazon Web Services are excellent for all forms of websites. The flexibility and variety offered, as well as many customer-consideration services, such as micro instances and free-tier offers. Therefore, as you scout for the best web hosting options possible, make sure to look out for excellent products from Amazon Web services.

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