Graphic of man with title next to him saying: How much does it cost to host WordPress on AWS?

In this article, I’ll share how much my AWS WordPress hosting cost is, what I host on AWS, and why I use AWS as a web host. Read on to find out!

Why I Host on AWS

I’m a big advocate of Amazon Web Services (AWS).

This is in no way a sponsored article. I have not been paid by Amazon to write this, nor would I ever write anything that I do not personally believe in or advocate for.

As well as having a really cool array of services (I think of them more as toys for developers), AWS is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to web hosting.

A screenshot of a list of AWS services
Look at all of these developer toys. Not toys, I mean services!

In January 2019, I created a website focused on writing the best React and JavaScript tutorials around.

I learned so much about hosting WordPress sites on AWS from building and deploying that site (And not just AWS, but about blogging and writing as well so I wrote an article on it!).

That site now receives around 180,000 monthly pageviews, a far cry from the 300 monthly pageviews it received in the first month.

AWS allowed me to gradually scale up my site to handle the increasing number of visitors, without breaking the bank.

If you’re a developer, I highly recommend giving AWS a try for your next coding project.

If you’re not a developer, or at least a little technical minded, AWS isn’t a good web hosting choice.

Why?

I spent hours upon hours wrestling with, tweaking, and screaming at AWS to even link a domain to a box, let alone find my perfect WordPress hosting configuration.

If you’re not technical, I suggest the far less painful route of using SiteGround for your WordPress hosting. It’s cheap, fast, and above all, reliable.

Those countless hours haven’t gone to waste, however, as Google loves my WordPress sites.

They’re light, optimized, and above all, fast.

Plug SitesMonster into Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool (a web page speed analysis tool) and see for yourself:

A 97 rating from Google PageSpeed Insights for SitesMonster.com

That number is all thanks to AWS.

Well, EC2 and CloudFront.

Oh, and a few plugins.

And a really well-crafted WordPress theme.

However, mostly AWS and CloudFront’s incredible content delivery network.

What I Host on AWS

If you’re interested in WordPress hosting, Matthew Woodward, a well known blogger, ran a series of speed tests on 12 different WordPress hosts to find the fastest WordPress host.

Before we get into a cost breakdown of my WordPress sites, you should, first of all, know what they are, how big they are, and how many visitors they receive per month.

I host two WordPress sites on AWS:

Upmostly.com

Screenshot of the Upmostly.com homepage

A coding tutorial site for those who want to learn JavaScript and React (a JavaScript library). I’ve written a total of 32 tutorials over the last 12 months.

Monthly page views: 183,930

Average number of visitors at any given time: 25

Number of articles: 32

Screenshot of Upmostly's analytics

SitesMonster.com

Screenshot of a tutorial in SitesMonster

The site that this very article is featured. SitesMonster is a record of my journey of taking a fresh blog from 0 to 100,000 monthly pageviews. It’s a collection of web development, content marketing, and SEO tutorials.

Monthly page views: 300

Average number of visitors at any given time: 0 – 1

Number of articles: 14

Screenshot of SitesMonster's analytics

SitesMonster is a relatively new site, therefore I do not have as much complete data as I do with my other site, Upmostly.com.

However, AWS does have a cost estimation tool that I’ll use to estimate the hosting costs for SitesMonster.

My Stack in AWS

Before I share my AWS WordPress hosting cost with you, I need to break down exactly what EC2 instance type I’m using to host my blogs.

My basic service stack on AWS comprises of:

  • A domain registered using Route 53
  • An EC2 instance, using the Bitnami WordPress image
  • CloudFront

Domain

I register all of my domains in AWS, using Route 53.

Obviously, you don’t need to use Route 53 as a domain name is a domain name, but I like to keep all of my items related to web hosting within the same service.

Hosting with EC2

One of the more confusing stages to “spinning-up” a new EC2 instance is actually choosing what type of instance you want to create.

These have really human readable names, and do not at all sound like robots from the Terminator franchise:

  • t2.micro
  • t3a.2xlarge
  • m5ad.2xlarge
  • z1d.metal

If you couldn’t detect my sarcasm in the previous line, I’ll just outright say that these names are not at all friendly and you should read the description of each instance type.

When I first “span-up” (spun up?) my blog in AWS, I used the T2 EC2 instance type, as the T3 was not yet available.

Once the T3 instance type became available, I quickly upgraded the instance type from a T2 to a T3.

The exact instance type that I use for both of my sites, is the t3a.small instance.

Why?

Because it’s perfect for the type of computing that the machine where by site is hosted is required to do.

Here’s a description of the T3 instance type, straight from AWS:

“T3a instances provide additional options for customers who are looking to achieve a 10% cost savings on their Amazon EC2 compute environment for applications with moderate CPU usage that may experience temporary spikes in use.”

When America comes online, my traffic spikes.

The same can be said for India. In fact, India and the US make up for almost 80% of my total website traffic.

When America goes to sleep, my traffic calms down.

Therefore, the T3 instance type, with its moderate CPU usage that may experience temporary spikes is perfect for the kind of traffic that I expect.

So, now you know what kind of websites I host, where my traffic comes from, and how much traffic I get every month, let’s look at my AWS WordPress hosting cost!

AWS WordPress Hosting Cost Breakdown

Screenshot of AWS WordPress hosting cost
A cost breakdown of my AWS bill over the last 6 months

Domain

Purchasing a new .com domain in Route 53 costs $12.00 for 12 months.

If you look closely at the cost breakdown chart above, you can tell that I went a little overboard purchasing domain names in May 2020. Yikes.

Renewing a domain costs $12.00 for an additional 12 months. Therefore a domain works out to be $1 a month.

That’s not expensive, nor is it as cheap as some of the other domain name offerings around the web.

There are services where you can buy a domain for $1 for the first year.

And like I said. A domain is a domain. I purchase my domains inside of AWS because I hate having to log in to multiple different websites to manage my sites.

EC2

Running two t3a.small EC2 instances with WordPress total a little over $30 per month.

That’s not bad considering how much traffic Upmostly.com receives in a month (over 185,000 pageviews).

If I was smart, I could probably scale down the SitesMonster EC2 instance to a nano or micro size because of the minimal traffic I’m receiving at the moment.

But that’s the beauty of AWS. I can change the instance type very quickly, and very easily.

CloudFront

CloudFront is by far the most important component of my stack.

Yes, I wouldn’t even have a website without EC2 and WordPress, but CloudFront’s CDN is what makes my sites so damn fast.

As I mentioned before, Google loves how fast they are and I’m pretty certain the speed of my site plays a big factor in why my articles are ranked so highly on Google.

So, CloudFront is represented as a yellow bar on the cost breakdown above, and comes in a little under $20 per month for two sites.

That’s incredible value if you ask me.

AWS WordPress Hosting Cost Total

So we have a $12 domain for the year.

$15 to host one site on a t3a.small EC2 instance.

$10 a month to stick them on a CDN with CloudFront.

Add that up, and you get $25 a month or $312 a year including the domain name.


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Comments

Gary says:

Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any helpful hints for novice blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

James King says:

Hey, Gary! Thanks for the comment. The first bit of advice I give to aspiring blog writers is to just, well, write. It sounds too simple, but that old adage of “content is king” still holds true in 2020. So, don’t focus on the look and feel of your blog. Instead, focus on writing great content that adds value.