Moving from AWS to Linode

Published on February 11, 2023

Most startups in tech need hosted servers. Whether it’s for hosting web applications like we do or to show your work to clients, managing servers in a cloud environment is part of the startup experience. The default choice when looking for a cloud provider is Amazon Web Services (AWS). It’s the platform we selected when we founded Code Bards in 2021. We also had the opportunity to work with a few other startups and all of them were also using AWS. We noticed some things during our collaborations which prompted us to re-evaluate how we use the cloud.

Start small

Starting a business usually means you have either zero or very few clients. Controlling expenses should be a priority and the cloud can dry out your funds if you make the wrong choices. It’s tempting to build a big environment in AWS when you have access to credits. In our experience, these credits don’t last very long, and you can be stuck with a multi-hundred-dollar monthly bill if you keep things running after the credits are used.

At Code Bards, our needs are small. We were nonetheless charged $175 monthly by AWS until very recently. This bill covered a very modest setup:

We didn’t need all that. We recently moved to Linode and made a few changes to reduce our expenses. We realized that RDS was overkill for our needs. After testing SQLite in our different apps, we decided to drop our PostgreSQL instance and it’s been going great so far. If we feel the need to use a dedicated database server in the future, we will manage it ourselves on a Linode server. RDS is an amazing product, but we now know that it’s not targeted at small companies like us.

Removing RDS from the equation took care of most of the AWS bill. By moving our servers to Linode, we ended up with a $4 monthly AWS bill and a $31 Linode bill. We kept Route53 and SES for the time being as the value they offer is well worth their price.

Only use what you really need

When things move fast, it’s easy to forget about cloud resources that are spinning needlessly. It’s a good idea to review your cloud infrastructure on a regular basis to shut down or even delete the instances you are not actively using. If you are using the cloud to demo your creations to prospects, maybe you can even start your instances only for the duration of the demo.

GPU instances are among the most expensive resources in the cloud. Can you get by with a cheap gaming PC from Best Buy? Maybe you don’t need all that power in the cloud, at least when you are just starting to build your product.

If you have multiple applications to deploy, can you host them on a single server? It’s tempting to create a new instance when you are working on something new but it’s possible that your existing resources are not used at full capacity. Don’t hesitate to leverage what you are already paying for.

Go with Linode

There are several reasons why we moved most of our cloud infrastructure to Linode. First, the pricing is crystal clear with Linode. You don’t need a calculator to know how much a server will cost at the end of the month. You also have access to their support as soon as you start using their services. Unlike AWS, there is no need to buy a support package to get help. Finally, their admin panel is simpler than AWS. This is mostly because they offer much less services than AWS. The thing is, you don’t need all of what AWS is offering when you are starting up. Linode has all the important stuff figured out and nothing stops you from using a specific service from AWS if it’s not offered by Linode (like we do with SES).

(We are not affiliated with Linode, it is simply a service that we appreciate and find useful in business.)