Jeff Strickler

Where do I put my App?

Amazon Web Services is a popular choice for technology infrastructure. With many free features available, especially in the first twelve months of establishing an account, it’s a tempting solution for early-stage ventures. Amazon is the established leader in cloud computing. Their services are excellent and cover a range of needs, from deployment to notifications.

But I don’t recommend it to the majority of my clients.

The problem is cost. A typical bootstrapping venture needs:

  • A staging and a production environment.
  • Each environment needs a handful of application server instances and a database.
  • Backups
  • Additionally, they may need services like job queueing, notifications, load balancing, and caching.

While AWS provides world-class solutions for each of these needs, the costs do not align well to the budgets of bootstrapping ventures. For example, I’ve witnessed clients spending between $500-$2000 / month for these basic needs.

Digital Ocean (Referral Link:, Linode, and Hetzner are what I recommend to clients who want to maximize their spend to value. To build out an equivalent small-scale environment on Digital Ocean can be well under $200 / month.

This isn’t to say that Amazon isn’t the right solution for others. If you commit to architect your applications in ways that maximize Amazon’s services, or if you expect truly massive scale needs that give you negotiating power, then AWS has a lot to offer. But, if you are building apps that just need a handful of hosts for the foreseeable future, there are options with more predictable performance and costs.

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