Moving to Google Cloud

A few things precipitated the move from Amazon Web Services to Google Cloud Platform.

I don’t really like Amazon that much, and whilst supporting or using big businesses generally comes with its own variety of issues, I do prefer Google to Amazon.

My web hosting went downhill rather dramatically. I could have possibly worked with them to solve the issues, but none of it should have happened in the first place. Requesting to be moved internally would have fixed my issue, but old vulnerable servers were still being used for paying customers. Their position on SSL was ‘good luck or pay up’ and after the PHP portion kept getting hacked I decided let’s sort out the services remaining on traditional web hosting and go fully cloud.

The biggest immediate motivator was the 1 year free portion of AWS running out, and whilst you only get charged for what you use, the formerly free bit was more expensive than the afore-mentioned hosting. If you do want to stick with AWS after the trial period, their Lightsail packages are eminently affordable and quite tempting, but I did want to move away from Amazon rather than onto one of their cheaper services. 

Google Cloud does not offer free Plesk services like I was using on Amazon and I kind of wanted to get used to how it works now – relying more on instances and less on management consoles. So I thought I’d give Google Deployments and Bitnami images a go. Google Deployments didn’t have SSL by default and seemed to require config changes to set that up, so I gave up in favour of Bitnami eventually setting on what I thought would be the easiest to maintain – stock WordPress on Bitnami. Doubly important because I was going to set up my partner’s website on a separate instance this time, but don’t want to multiply the work.

More importantly of course, Google’s Cloud Platform free tier instance is free forever.

All previous email addresses now go to one single account, and the one thing I’ve kept around from Amazon is I’m using Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) for just sending. It isn’t free, but costs 1ยข per 100 emails a month. And I don’t send a 100 emails a month. I’ve seen other alternatives, so I can switch at my convenience. And really web and mail was all I used the hosting for.

So I’m now on a free server once more.

Moving to Amazon Web Services

Decided to move the couple of websites we run from traditional web hosting to the cloud.

Partially, just because I felt it was time to move on rather than specific hosting issues, but the actual catalyst was not being able to add videos to the WordPress “Twenty Seventeen” theme. I’m sure the fine hosting provider people would have got it working had I asked, but I wanted to be able to do something about it myself. Turns out there was more of an advantage, after trialling a couple of different cloud service providers, Amazon seemed to have the most generous provision for its free tier. The idea was to test it out, see how it worked, and then purchase a plan, but most of the cloud services offer a pay for what you use. This put me off at first, just because it’s not what I’m used to, but makes more sense as why should you pay for a service you aren’t using?

Amazon offers virtual machines that have an insanely generous 1gb of memory and a single core of a Xeon E5-2676 @ 2.4ghz for free.

After transition, which wasn’t entirely without pain – I ended up learning a lot more about the minutiae of DNS and Email than I really wanted to, turns out the free tier is probably enough for my meagre needs. Not only that, but the image I used from the marketplace has resulted in a site that loads faster.

So I’m moving from a hosting service which is slower, costs money, uses old versions of php and friends, has no nginx, and occasionally goes down or goes really very slow to an improved service that’s free and lets me run whatever I want. And even if I eventually trip the free tier and get charged, it’s only going to charge me for what I use.