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I have been building websites using WordPress for about 10 years now, and have tried many flavours of hosting services both in Canada and the U.S. For years, my go-to hosting was GoDaddy, as they really saved some of my clients’ bacon when their sites were compromised/hacked and they called me to help them – their customer service has always been excellent, they always provided some solution to our problems and were quick to offer good deals at renewal time.

But something happened last year: I am responsible for the I.T. of a large international sporting organization, and all our technologies are web-based. We were dealing with the issue of CentOS 6 End-of-Life, and we had to decide to upgrade using our current hosting company or explore new alternatives. Back in 2020, we were paying a whooping $448 USD/month in hosting fees and although I was not being pressured to cut costs, I thought it was a bit too much.

Talking to my developer (an amazing and super smart Brazilian fella – you know who you are ), we started talking about Amazon Web Services (AWS). I knew of it, have read some docs but never spent more than few minutes. Our infrastructure consists on a big main WordPress website and a much bigger admin backend that we use to control all the confederation’s systems + 24 WordPress multisites.

Long story short: we scoped the project, researched AWS extensively, compared it with Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, and we made the decision. Back in March this year, we migrated everything to AWS, built our front end WordPress sites using Amazon Lightsail and created all the multisites we needed to expand some sites that needed upgrades. After all the dust settled, we cut our hosting cost to an average $45 USD/month!!!. In addition, our sites load faster, we create as many snapshots of the instances as we want, and we are able to deploy any solution we need with few clicks (right now we are playing with Moodle for online learning).

Amazon Lightsail VPS Costs

I find AWS flexibility, the “pay as you go” model and more important, its elasticity (we can expand or contract services as we need them) excellent features that work really well for us. If you mess something up, just load a backup instance and you are good to go in minutes!

Cloud computing is everywhere now, and more providers are adopting AWS, Azure and GCP as building blocks to revamp their legacy systems or build new solutions. We do not need to worry about poor performance, software upgrades, DDoS attacks, data loss, etc. Of course we spent dozens of hours testing and making sure we provisioned what we needed, but AWS made it extremely easy to do things like assigning static IP addresses to any instance we wanted. By using Lightsail CDN, we can make sure our sites are quickly available worldwide (something we didn’t have before – sites were not too slow but the lag was there).

Finally, the Cost Explorer and AWS Budgets allow me to control expenses and produce the reports I need. I know what site is being used more since you pay per computing hour, I can pre-pay and get discounts, and much more:

Screenshot of AWS Cost Explorer (filtered to SageMaker service costs)

I have nothing against fine services like GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc., but for our organization, AWS has been a game changer. This is why I decided to get certified as AWS Cloud Practitioner, planning to continue getting more training and more certs.