I’ve been talking to a friend about WordPress hosting. There are lots of ways of doing it — and I’ve worked with most of these ways either personally or helped out with.

  • WordPress.com hosting
  • Other hosted solution
  • Self-hosting on random ISP (like GoDaddy where I had trouble with)
  • Self-hosting on Amazon EC2 or other virtual server solution

The advantage of WordPress.com hosting is they’ll likely know how to host WordPress. The problem is they’ll try to nickel and dime you to death — and you can’t really customize anything to save your life unless you pay even more for it.

A lot of ISPs will host a wordpress blog for you, but I’m leery of them since I’ve not had good luck with it. You’re stuck with whatever server you’ve been given and typically you’d be hard pressed to get to a person if something starts going wrong.

I’ve had previous problems with GoDaddy hosting. Most ISPs grossly over-subscribe their hosting solutions. The problem I had with GoDaddy is their MySQL server was slow as molasses on a cold day. It turns out her hosting is even slower than my experience with GoDaddy and she’s seeing 10 second page load times. That is around 9 seconds slower than acceptable.

This leads to EC2.

Right now I’m running this blog — the now you’re reading right now — on a m1.small instance on EC2. What that means is that I have one processor guaranteed to be mine and 1.7GB of memory that’s also mine. I’ve been running some experiments in the past couple of days around hosting on an t1.micro instance. That, like the name implies, is smaller. You have around 600MB of memory and less (hard to quantify) processor (actually, you can burst to more, but you get throttled significantly if you use too much).

My experiment thus far says I can host a blog this size (and more even) on a micro instead of a small. Which can save me some money. I’ll get into the breakdown for this a bit later though.

My goal with this project is to make a step-by-step guide to hosting WordPress on EC2 (micro or small) — from looking at costs, to setting up, running, and optimizing it.

Next up: Pricing comparisons — how Amazon AWS and EC2 work with pricing. Yes, it’s kind of confusing.