Hendrick's picture

Hi , I am a newbie and need your help about the Amazon pricing which is very difficult to understand.

I intend to use the service as a hobby and test Vtiger application but the Amazon pricing is confusing.

Is it a flat monthly charge or is it charged by the hour when the server is on?

Let's say, I only use the server for for 5 hours during workdays. How much do I have to pay? Do I have to pay the hourly rate times 5 only? or do I have to pay the hourly rate times 24 hours times 30 days in a month regardless the number of hours used? do I have to pay anything else on top of that?

is there any way to pay based on the usage only?

Any help is appreciated!

Jeremy Davis's picture

You pay for the server when it's turned on and running, whether you are 'using' it or not (just like the lights! You don't get a discount when you are out of the room!!) Then if you are on the Hobby plan, then you pay 15% on top of that (to the TKL devs - but it all comes on the one Amazon bill).

So if you shut it down when you aren't using it then you won't be charged for the hours it's not running (only the hours and part thereof that the machine is actually ticking over).

Only thing is, when you turn S3 backed instances off (the only type allowed on the Hobby plan) you'll lose your data - so you'll need a backup (unless you want to redo everything, everytime). TKL provide a nice one called TKLBAM (~$0.14/GB - AWS charge, no extra to TKL devs) but I suggest testing your backups (in a new machine) before you kill the one you are about to turn off.

If you've never used AWS before they do offer a free tier (1 free micro instance for a year). Only catch is that you need to either pay the $20/mth Budget plan fee, or get a friend to sign up to TKL Hub (AFAIK they don't actually need to purchase anything - just go through the whole sign up process - including registering an Amazon account). Micro instances aren't very powerful and their CPUs get throttled if you run anything CPU intensive, but TKL offer a 14 day free trial of Micro instances.

So what I'd do if I were you would be, if you can sign up for the Free Tier through Amazon - using the same account as you have registered with TKL Hub (assuming you have got that far - otherwise when you sign up to the Hub make sure you use the same account) do that. Then start up the free trial of micro instances. Send out an invite or 2 to people who may be interested in TKL. Use it lots in that 14 days and if you think it'll work for you either pay the $20/mth or send out more invites. If you decide a micro is no good for you then cancel the Budget plan and go for a Small instance (on the Hobby plan). Or if you plan to run more than one server, then the $20/mth may be better value anyway?

There is an AWS calculator which can help you work out what you are likely to spend (just keep in mind the additional TKL expenses - 15% on all Hobby instances or $20/mth for unlimited instances on the Budget plan.

Hendrick's picture

thanks Jeremy

Jeremy Davis's picture

Hope that helped a bit.

PS I just edited my above post for clarity.

Hendrick's picture

Spending $20 per month is within my budget. But do I have to pay anything else on top of it?

What I need is to be able to use the instance a few hours daily, make a daily backup and then shut it down. I assume it is EBS backed instances. Please correct me if I am wrong. The next day when I switch on the instance I want to be able to use it immediately without restoring data from my previous backup, so in this case my backup is only restored if I have problems with my instance.

In the above scenario, do I have to spend $20 per month plus the hourly charge for the effective hours the instance is used before shutdown and plus the cost for backup storage?

Jeremy Davis's picture

The free tier gives you one Micro instance free for a year. Although Micro instances are pretty cheap if you plan to just run it for a few hours. Although you still pay for the EBS volume by the month (whether the server is running or not - unless on the free tier of course).

FYI Micro instances are only EBS backed, but I personally wouldn't trust it as your only backup. If backup is your plan, then perhaps a local instance (running in a VM even) backing up your data with TKLBAM may be a better option?

And as I said above if you can get a friend to sign up to the Hub then you get Micro instances free (but not other size EBS backed instances).

Hendrick 's picture

Thanks Jeremy.

Running a local instance in a VM and TKLBAM for backup is not an option because I want to be able to access my instance from outside of my LAN. My ISP will not allow access from outside, they close the ports and limit the speed.

Following your recomendation, I tried Turnkey Hub micro instance and installed Vtiger. Installation is painless and fast. Cheers to the Turnkey developers. I tried to access my instance and typed xxxx.tklapp.com. I could access Vtiger. Then using Webmin I shut down the instance.

An hour later I boot the instance, again using Webmin, then I tried to access it. Unfortunately I could not.

I tried to access it  several times but failed to access it. Therefore I killed the instance and installed Vtiger again. Installation is O.K and yet I cannot acces it from a web browser. It simply says TKLAPP.COM The site you are currently looking for is not available.

How should I correct the problem. Why I cannot acces the instance after I shut it down? Does it mean that we have to keep the instance running all the time. Sorry I should have posted this issue as a separate subject, but I put it here to keep the thread

Hendrick 's picture

Just to add to my previous post, from the Turnkey Hub servers I could access my instance when I click the public IP but I could not access my instance when I clicked the Host Name.

Hendrick's picture

Sorry, I forgot to clear my browser cache. After I have cleared my browser cache, I could access my instance again using xxxx.tklapp.com.

And after some further reading I understand that only EBS backed instance can be shutdown and rebooted.

Jeremy Davis's picture

Sorry it took so long to get back to you, I've been away.

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