Should Startups get Free Resources or Customize Help? (AWS Edition)
As more and more startups sprout from each major city in the world, the number of free and customized services to support startups also grow globally. One of the first expenses that startups will be spending on are servers. No matter what industry your startup company is in, you will need a website. So let’s review which is better: a free server or a paid customized help. As a small gift, our development team has written out FAQs about the Set Up that are not included in Amazon’s free trial. See end of the article.
I Want Freebies! (Obviously)
This would be the obvious answer that free is the first resource that unprofitable startups would turn to because of their limit budget. When startups on a budget, words like “free” can mean a lot. You don’t know if you would like to commit to a monthly payment. This is especially true for first-time startups. There are services like Ormuco, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) that offer free startup hosting for a year. We will focus on the one we just switched to which is Amazon Web Hosting from Ormuco. We won’t go into why there was trouble with using Ormuco. It is not the place for that.
- This is FREE for one year for you to try unless you have multiple sites like we do. Then it could be less than 1 year.
- Choosing things that are well known will have a lot of documentation that is available online including this one to help you set up.
- They do not have anyone to help you with any support when you are on the free version (so make sure there is someone on the internal team you can trust with handling all of this)! You might not want to outsource this part. This is also attributed to if you have questions about the setup.
Should I Go for Customized Services?
This is a great option if your budget can lean this way. You can get things done faster with less headache.
How can I get set up info for Free?
As part of our company mission, we want to help as many startups save time, be more efficient and achieve their goals. If you do end up choosing the free version, here are a few questions that our internal team has answered for you!
Frequently Asked Questions (AWS Set Up for Beginners)
- How to move to continuous integration with code deploy?
A: If you are using Bitbucket, this guide will help you. It basically boils down to building a series of scripts that throw your source around from bitbucket to an S3 instance to your EC2 server. If you make sure everything is running (especially the code-deploy agent). That way, it will work beautifully and save you time.
- Getting charged on free tier/What does the free tier actually encompass?
A: This is a big one because their support pages dance around it very much. In general, Amazon tells you what will be charged as an extra and what you’ll get for free. For example, Amazon’s free tier includes an EC2 — their cloud instances — running for 750 free hours per month for one year. Since you are billed per hour this sounds pretty straightforward… until you realize you’ll be charged for setting up any additional concurrent instances. You should set up your development environment elsewhere unless you want to pay for your free trial. In general, the free trial availability varies from service to service, so you should check, but they all should cater well enough to early-stage startups.
- Do I need an Elastic IP?
A: Yes! Your instance comes with an IP; but every time you stop and re-start it AWS assigns it a new IP. You have to set up an elastic IP under their services and associate it with your instance. That one will persist restarts, so you should definitely assign it to your server. You get one per instance for free
- Which set up do I start with?
A: We went with the free tier t2.micro EC2 and some negligible SSD storage space running Ubuntu. Simply, you pick a tier and a region. Then you name it and configure it.
- Which region should I use?
A: This is also a tricky one. On the one hand, at least in theory, you mitigate latency by having an instance closer to where your user base is. On the other hand, certain regions are cheaper. We don’t know exactly what the science of choosing that is. Nevertheless, us-east-2 seems to be the cheapest.
- What if I want more?
A: The 1 year free tier is the smallest generic one that anyone could get with just an email.
But for startup, AWS offers much more interesting free tiers though, from 1000$ to 15,000$ over 2 years, depending on your context (backed by an incubator or not, …)
Startup should try to not use just the free tier, but ask for the AWS Activate program: https://aws.amazon.com/activate/
1) https://aws.amazon.com/free/ — The free-tier central page, which gives information on a plan by plan/product by product basis, notably “what’s covered exactly by the time-bound free tiers, what’s covered by the lifetime (renewed monthly) free tiers, like DynamoDB or Lambda” etc.
2) https://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/index.html — The official cost calculator where you can include/exclude the 1- year free tier
VenturX is a web platform that helps entrepreneurs through their journey from idea to launch and beyond. VenturX uses data-driven analytics to score and connect startups and investors at Seed and Series A financing.