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vanilla forum on AWS cost?

does anybody know how much per you would it cost to run a very small forum on AWS?
I have a new discussion forum with around 100 topics, it grows slowly, maybe 1 post per day in the best case scenario. Now I use inmotion hosting, but my plan doesn't include all the features that I need (e.g. memcached). If to switch to AWS, I will think I will one instance of t2.medium, No LB, MySQL RDS, then Memcached (maybe I even run it on the same instance together with core code). Can someone give me a rough estimate?

Thank you



  • VivantVivant New
    edited October 2017

    Depends on the region you want to host the VM in.

    Try looking at DigitalOcean or ScaleWay

    Both are cheaper than AWS

  • BTW I have used and like DigitalOcean - never used ScaleWay

  • AWS in general very expensive to do anything including testing.

    AWS is not for amateurs. To save money you really have to know what you are doing. They are pretty good at charging for things. Managing cost is a full time thing with AWS.

    grep is your friend.

  • I second digital ocean.

    grep is your friend.

  • whu606whu606 I'm not a SuperHero; I just like wearing tights... MVP

    I swapped to DO a couple of years ago from managed hosting, and have no regrets.

    Even on their $5 a month plan, I get all the oomph I need to run our forum.

    Self-hosting is not difficult, but it is not trivial either.

    You have to be prepared to set up your own OS and install all the required elements, and if you don't have any experience of Linux then it can seem a bit daunting at first. However, in my experience the tutorials for DO give you everything you need to do this.

    The other thing I find very good about DO is that they only charge you for as long as your droplet is active, so you could spend a morning (or day, or couple of days) trying out different things, and only be charged for that time, assuming you destroy the droplet afterwards. So, for a few cents, you could have a look and see if it would suit you.

  • @x00 said:
    AWS in general very expensive to do anything including testing.

    AWS is not for amateurs. To save money you really have to know what you are doing. They are pretty good at charging for things. Managing cost is a full time thing with AWS.

    Interesting... I though AWS must be cheap :-)
    I use AWS at work with a different language, so for me it would be easy to switch to AWS for the forum that I run.

    So what would be the bill for AWS per year? Just to compare, at Inmottion hosting, I can get a virtual server, where I can install Redis, PHP, etc for around $300 per year. Will AWS be more expensive?

  • Way too many variables - depends on what type of instance you go for, size etc

    Easy to price up though

  • whu606whu606 I'm not a SuperHero; I just like wearing tights... MVP

    Not sure why you would want to pay $300 per year.

    I pay around $85 per year including tax (I'm in Greece, the service is in the USA) for a forum far busier than your scenario.

    You will need to do your own research regarding the cost of the AWS.

  • @whu606 I really want to try out DO for my Vanilla Forum. I'm really sick of using shared hosting. I have decent experience with Unix/Linux and keen to give it a shot.

    I understand that the $5/mon droplet gives you just 512MB memory and 1 vCPU. How is the performance of your forum with this amount of resources? Can you PM me the link to your forum?


  • whu606whu606 I'm not a SuperHero; I just like wearing tights... MVP


    We find the$5 droplet more than adequate, and it's really simple to upgrade, so I'd start with that if I were you.

    As I said, you only have to pay for what you use, so a couple of days setting up and testing would only cost you a few cents.

    I certainly noticed a big difference when I was able to set up and run memcached compared to being with Bluehost.

  • Thank you, @whu606

    With 2 days of effort, I finally managed to get my forum up and running on a DO droplet ($5/mon). But ran into a big show-stopper.

    DO doesn't allow any outgoing emails from their servers, neither though sendmail, nor through external SMTP server (like Gmail's SMTP) for the first 60 days.

    This is absolutely horrible. This is not stated at all on their website or documentation and I only discovered it after I wrote to their support (which seems somewhat rude too).

    Other than that, things were moving really well ..

    All tests so far show that the performance is better than the same forum running on shared hosting.

    It wasn't very straightforward. I faced a lot of issues, but it was a good learning experience. The issues I faced were primarily because this was my first experience in setting up an entire server nearly from scratch to host a website. The 2 things that further complicated the process was:

    1. It was an import and not a fresh install. A fresh install might have been cleaner.
    2. I used a sub-domain to host the forum (basically it was a proof-of-concept). So the original forum was running on and the DO forum is running on

    I'm documenting the entire process and will try to publish when it completes. As of now, I'm stuck on the email issue and cannot switch for 60 days.

  • whu606whu606 I'm not a SuperHero; I just like wearing tights... MVP
    edited October 2017

    That's very strange. It wasn't like that when I signed up.

  • Very odd - I'm sending emails out from my Wordpress installation on a DO droplet without any issues.

  • After lot of escalation from my end (through email and their Facebook channel), they agreed to open up the SMTP port for my DO. But for any new droplets, the restriction applies nowadays. As soon as they opened the port, all the stuck emails were shot out in a jiffy. So the email issue is resolved.

    However, I'm still weighing the pros and cons of this option. The thing that weighs most on my mind is security. It seems like I need to do a lot of hardening to have a secure setup. I have enabled SSH and disabled password login. Firewall (ufw) has been configured. Fail2ban is configured as well but I'm not too confident that I've done it correctly. What else do you guys recommend for hardening?

    BTW, memcached is configured too (thanks to whu606 for the tip).

    Few other questions:

    1. Which web server are you guys using? I started with Apache and then moved to Nginx hoping to free up more system resources, but didn't notice any difference in my test setup (as my site is running on a temporary sub-domain i.e. not receiving live traffic).

    2. How do you manage backups? Should DO snapshots be sufficient?

    3. Are there other security best practices for Vanilla forums especially for cloud hosting?

    P.S.: It would be good if a moderator can split the thread. I don't feel good about hijacking the original thread. My apologies for that.

  • whu606whu606 I'm not a SuperHero; I just like wearing tights... MVP

    We use Nginx, but I don't really know enough about it to know if it is better.

    For backups, you can pay DO a bit more, and they will do them for you, otherwise, a droplet image is fine for your server config/Vanilla installation, but a bit of a pain for the DB (which you should be doing each day, imo.)

    I try to make sure I do an export using phpMyAdmin once a day, which takes a few seconds, compared to 15+ minutes for a droplet image (while your site is unavailable.)

  • I think for people without much experience in managing servers Apache is easier as it's more widely used plus .htaccess files are an easy way to lock down your website. Put nginx in front of Apache as a reverse proxy and you have the best of both worlds.

  • GermontGermont New
    edited November 2017

    I installed an OpenCart shop on a free t2 AWS Ubuntu instance - just one year. Using also a free Cloudflare account... this installation has 600 unique visitors per day. Checking the resource usage, I think it could easily support even 1500-2000 unique visitors.

    My configuration has
    Apache 2.5,
    php-fpm configured On-Demand,
    and php 7.0,

    1 equivalent 2.4 ghz CPU and 1gb Memory.

    Loading times in google webmasters are something like 300-500 ms. That's pretty good I think ;)

  • I am using AWS from Cloudways platform since they provide manage AWS cloud hosting platform giving me piece of mind. Any idea how i can setup vanilla forum there?

  • R_JR_J Ex-Fanboy Munich Admin

    @pauljohndm There are several tutorials which explain how to install WordPress on AWS. I would suggest you follow one of those, setting up AWS, deciding for an operating system, create a database, etc. up to the point where they say "upload wordpress". Upload and install Vanilla from that point on instead.

  • plawansaiplawansai New
    edited January 2021

    I think the smallest amount of the AWS is $3.5/month.

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