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Amazon customer service

I am currently hosting this site on Amazon Simple Storage Service
(S3). For the first 12 months I am eligible for the
Free Usage Tier pricing.

The Free Tier isn’t completely free but includes ’5 GB of Amazon S3
standard storage, 20,000 Get Requests, and 2,000 Put Requests
’.

Initially, I had to test, review and deploy the entire site a few
times before I got things right and Google’s crawler was busy
re-indexing the site so I wasn’t wholly surprised when September’s
bill was a measly 15 cents.

The breakdown was as follows:

  • S3 storage $0.01
  • GET requests $0.03
  • PUT requests $0.08
  • Tax $0.03

The only element that puzzled me was the S3 storage which is free for
up to 5GB. I checked the size of the site which is just 21MB (all
images are outsourced to Picasa).

$ du -sh public
21M    public

I sent an email to Amazon customer service asking for clarification –
not because I can’t afford a penny – but because I would like to
understand the pricing structure ready for when the 12 month Free Tier
period expires.

In the interim period, I found the answer on the AWS FAQ – the Free
Tier assumes Standard S3 Storage will be used and I was using the
following ‘s3cmd’ to deploy my site.

s3cmd sync --acl-public --reduced-redundancy public/* s3://#{s3_bucket}/

The choice of the Reduced Redunancy Storage option makes sense as this
normally costs less ($0.093 per GB) than standard storage ($0.125 per
GB) and this is a low traffic website (and I have multiple backups).

However, this caveat is actually covered in the last section of the
FAQ

Does the AWS free tier include Amazon S3 Reduced Redundancy Storage
(RRS)?

No, the AWS free tier does not include Amazon S3 RRS storage. The AWS
free tier includes 5 GB of Amazon S3 standard storage, which offers
the highest Amazon S3 durability.

A couple of days later I received a response from a Amazon Customer
Service rep who confirmed that Reduced Redundancy Storage wasn’t
covered by the free tier, apologised for the misunderstanding and
applied a $5 credit to my AWS account for the ‘inconvenience
caused’. For me, this will probably equate to 3 years ‘free’ hosting.

Once again, fantastic customer service from Amazon. I was
originally thinking of investigating altenative hosting options when
the 12 month period expires but, on reflection, I don’t think I will
bother.

Autumn migration

My Web hosting package (provided by Bluehost) expires in October. As
this blog is essentially dead (the last post was a one-liner 8 months
ago), the sensible and logical thing to do would be to kill the blog
and save £5 a month.

Originally I
purchased the
domain name ‘nbrightside.com’ and the Web hosting for a couple of
reasons:

  • I wanted to use self hosted WordPress without some of the
    restrictions imposed by WordPress.com
  • I wanted to play with some of the packaged applications offered by
    Bluehost.
  • I wanted access to a Linux environment, mainly to build, install,
    experiment with various open source software tools and packages
    which needed a LAMP stack.

It’s really questionable whether I need to maintain this Web presence
but, on balance, I’d like to keep the site alive for a little longer.

WordPress, Drupal, Habari et al are all fantastic blogging platforms
but rather overkill for this simple, single user blog. For a while, I
have been fascinated and trying to resist the temptation of the
simplicity and power of static Web site generators like
Jekyll and
Hyde.

Last year, I even ported the complete contents of this Drupal 7 blog
to a locally installed version of Hyde and labouriously fixed up lots
of hyperlinks just so the Markdown looked neater.

The completely logical and sensible decision would be to simply
resurrect this Hyde environment, re-sync the last couple of one liner
blog posts, configure a automatic redirect and use rsync to upload
this site to some alternative, cheaper (or free) Web hosting.

So, I have decided to use Octopress and
Amazon S3
to host this humble, annually updated blog in the future. I may be
able to reuse some of the Hyde content with judicious use of sed to
convert the meta data in the header sections or I may just start
afresh.

No – I am not mad.