Monday, November 29, 2010

EC2 Micro Hosting Faster than Shared Host

I switched my hosting from a shared hosting provider to an Amazon EC2 Micro instance a while back. The biggest concern I had was making sure the limited resources of the micro instance were enough to run my site. As it turns out, it is more than enough. The thing the micro instance can't do is handle load that goes on for any extended time. My website doesn't receive too many hits so this is the perfect usage.


The above graph isn't from my website, but it is from a PHP web application running on EC2. The graph is from Google Webmaster Tools for a site Time spent downloading a page (in milliseconds) from the Google Crawler. You can definitely the switch in October from the shared host to the EC2 instance in the page response times.   During this time period the average number of people accessing the server and the crawl time stayed about the same.

The bottom line, I highly recommend an EC2 Micro instance for any small website.  While it does cost a little more than a shared host, the benefits definitely make it my top choice.  The downside to a micro instance is once you have sustained high CPU usage for a certain amount of time your are severely throttled.  As long as the usage is not sustained, your site will be very responsive.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Introducing ShouldISkipClass.com

If you know me, then this will seem very ironic.  Recently, after receiving the idea from a friend, I created the website ShouldISkipClass.com which provides random reasons why you should or shouldn't skip class.  The irony is that I personally never skip class.  It is really meant to be a joke site providing comical reasons for skipping or not skipping class.  The site didn't take me very long to create and as people provide me with more reasons I will be adding them to the rotation.


The first version of the site was a PHP based website that I had up and running in less than 20 minutes.  The second version is a little more robust and runs on Google App Engine so I don't have to worry about the traffic messing up my personal web server.  Still, this version of the site was finished in less than a few hours.  The main problem with a site like this is that people just stay on one page and click refresh so they can see all of the random reasons.  This is why I chose to go with App Engine.

It didn't take very long to create the site and since it is App Engine based there will be no real work or ongoing cost to maintain it.  Hopefully college students out there find some entertainment out of the site and share it with their friends.