Estimating Costs

If you’re new to AWS, let me help you in estimating costs. Generally, you should be able to run your blog at AWS in their free usage tier for one year. After one year, it will cost about $14.64 per month. But, if you spend $62 up front on a reserved micro instance, you can reduce the monthly fee to $3.66 (total monthly fee of $8.83). If you buy a three year reserved micro instance for $100, you can reduce the total monthly fee to $6.44. For hosting WordPress, it makes sense to buy a reserved instance. If you think your blog’s popularity and complexity will pick up quickly, you may want to start with a small instance, which costs $43.92 monthly. But this can be reduced to $11.91 by purchasing a one year reserved small instance for $195 (total adjusted monthly rate of $28.16). If you purchase a three year reserved small instance for $300, it can be reduced to $9.62 monthly (total adjusted monthly rate of $17.95). That’s what I used to use. Now, I’m running my WordPress site on Digital Ocean for $10 monthly. Want to install WordPress on Digital Ocean?

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Estimating Costs for AWS Reserved Instance Pricing

AWS Reserved Instance Pricing – February 2013

I’m pretty sure a comparable setup at would cost about $99 annually (or $8.25 monthly) per blog or more than $24 monthly at a host like However, running your own instance would allow you to run multiple blogs at no extra cost. The more blogs you plan to run, the more cost effective AWS becomes over


You can learn more about AWS pricingreserved instance pricing and estimate your costs with their calculator. Hosting a blog requires 7 x 24 access, so you’ll need a reserved instance with heavy (100%) utilization. Note: The estimates above do not include additional costs for S3 storage and bandwidth – but these costs are typically comparatively smaller. And, we don’t use Amazon’s Remote Database Service (RDS) specifically to minimize costs.

Estimating Costs - 20% Off WP Engine

If you purchase a reserved instance and then later regret doing so, Amazon offers a marketplace for selling unused portions of reserved instances (for a small commission). I’ve found it works well and have sold two instances within a few weeks. However, moving your site from a micro instance to a small instance is non-trivial and it’s not documented here. If you think you’ll have a successful blog, start with a small instance.

Please feel free to post corrections, questions or comments below. You can also follow me on Twitter @reifman or email me directly.

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  • i will definitely try Amazon Web Service in future. Great work.

    • Do try!
      You can start with AWS free tier for exploring without any charges. Wrote blog about its usage at hackpundit.

  • keith

    I’d be interested to know why you mention that transferring from micro to small is non-trivial. I thought one of the advantages of WP is the ease with which it can be migrated. Can you not just set up a small instance with exactly the same stack as the micro, and then copy across wp-content, etc.?

    • Adam


  • Nice article for future reference. Bookmarked it. I am running my blog on AWS free tier. Service I am using are AWS S3, AWS CloudFront, AWS EC2 server. The article helps me in managing my future costs.

  • PPCore

    Apart form infrastructure costs it will take some budget to provision the infrastructure. Sometimes it takes weeks to configure complex environment with all security groups and networking. To solve it you can use Deploy4Me which will configure all WordPress servers for you. The cost is nothing camparing to how much time it saves.

  • Nice article but I have had a nightmare with Amazon pricing, we were on the free tier only to get a bill in 3 months for 200 dollars for an idle instance.. Amazon did return the money, I am very wary of the hosting its not as transparent and too complex..

    • James, you are right initially AWS can give a shocker of a bill, however with right advice it becomes actually very cheap in long run.

  • HeadlessRider

    WordPress hosting on AWS is not really that expensive, especially if you are using a managed platform where you have various options. I saw on Cloudways it was around $38.

    • disqus_Wz58Qq14ii

      Can you explain why you wouldnt just host on WordPress… why rely on AWS. I dont get it.

  • disqus_Wz58Qq14ii

    Can someone explain why I would use AWS vs wordpress if I have e commerce…. Doesnt my wordpress site handle everything?

  • Semen Khlybov

    Thank you very much for this post. This is true answer to all my clients, why do “simple wp website” need webhosting and spending for it.

  • senthil

    free tier t2.micro itself aws is not able handle the installation part.It looks like eyewash.. best part is stay with shared hosting.

    • Petr Faitl

      Probably nothing to do with size of the instance, but your php settings. I’ve never had any problems with t2.micro.

      Use caching wisely, deploy a CloudFront in front of your blog/website to help your site with incoming traffic. I also have good experience with NGINX and FastCGI cache.

      So much so, I can run a fairly quick WordPress site off a raspberry pi.

  • Ted Bigham

    Is it really that expensive? Wpengine is only $30 per month and well worth it. AWS has a lot of admin headaches too right? Lots of coding and work to get it up properly?

    • LtDan

      Is what expensive? Thats much cheaper than $30 per month and you need to do 0 coding to get it working. AWS has a ton of other services but you can ignore them if you want.