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Ask HN: Affordable and reliable hosting for static pages
22 points by Siah on Mar 20, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments
I am planning to get a hosting service for a client. we are not using any kind of server side programming and the server will just serve a couple of static html, pdf and flash files. What is the most affordable (while reliable) hosting that we can get?


Excellent Pay as you go hosting with specific plans for static only content.

I second that. With no traffic, 10$ lasted me 4 years. They have decreasing cost per GB of bandwidth too.

NFSN is very good for me too.

You can host a Sinatra app on Heroku for free. Here's the complete app:

  require 'rubygems'
  require 'sinatra'

  get '/' do
    File.read(File.join('public', 'index.html'))
Just put all of the files in /public and you're good to go.

If you're just going to host static files, just host them directly through Rack as described here: http://mwhuss.com/2009/12/13/static-sites-on-heroku-in-two-l...

Also, make sure you are using http caching - that way Heroku will use Varnish to cache them.

I ran BCC off of GoDaddy's $4 a month Linux hosting for nearly 2 years and only had a problem once.

s3 / cloudfront

You don't even need Cloudfront. You can now host static sites directly from S3. See http://aws.typepad.com/aws/2011/02/host-your-static-website-... and http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5043616/amazon-s3-static-...

This is what I'd suggest too, with the proviso that the most likely "single point of failure" moves from being some technical decision you make to being the credit card it's paid for with. At ~3c or 7c/month it becomes easy to forget you need to update the expiry date every 3 years...

If the account number has not changed, the card will continue to work after the expiration date. All that most payment gateways and credit card companies require is that when you attempt to charge it, you give an expiration date that is in the future. I've seen some recommend that if the card on file is expired, just add 3 years to the expiration date and try it.

Also, VISA and MC both provide an updater service, that some payment gateways make available to some merchants. The updater service allows a merchant to ask for an update on the status of a credit card. Possible responses are: no update available; account is closed; here is the new expiration date for the card; card was replaced and here is the new number and expiration date. The service is pretty cheap. One of the card companies charges something like $150 to sign up, the other charges nothing. Queries are free if there is no updated information available, and something like $0.10 if updated information is returned. They do require that you query for all your stored cards at least once a year.

This doesn't work for all cards. Although the service is provided by VISA and MC, it is up to the individual bank or other organization that actually issued the card to decide if they will support it. When we started using it, it boosted revenue on subscription billing by maybe 2-3%.

I don't think the updater service is available to everyone. I believe they do some looking over your history to try to ensure that you aren't the kind of business that would be misusing the service. I'm sure Amazon would qualify.

The credit card I used for a development account expired in January, and Amazon sent me email reminders. They also continued to charge the (expired) card.

This suggests to me that card expiry is not a likely failure mode.

No no, that's _exactly_ the failure mode to keep an eye out for.

I've seen AWS not actually bill me, and just send email accounts, for months and months. It's not worth their time billing a few cents or even a few dollars a month, so by the time an account "goes wrong" it can have been half a year or more since your card got re-issued, and you've forgotten you need to update Amazon for anything.

(it's much less of an issue if you're piggybacking your AWS stuff on a regularly used Amazon account/creditcard, but if you set this up as a one-off for a tiny S3/CloudFront "web hosting" setup, it could easily bite you on the ass in a few years time...)

Are there any tools that you recommend that make it super easy to get a static site up and running on S3 and Cloudfront?

On Mac OS X I use an app called S3 Browser, and the ElasticFox Firefox plugin.

I dunno if they're "the best", but they're certainly workable.

They have excellent web-based control panels. I doubt you could make it significantly easier really.

I'd definitely recommend dreamhost, very reasonable, great one click installers for things like wordpress. also they support rails/django. Something like $8/month.

If you want to have the option of doing dynamic stuff later, you should try Akshell (http://www.akshell.com). It's really good for static sites too though, since the newly added Git support allows you to deploy with a git pull from a remote repo, giving you revision control and all the goodness that comes with it.

AppEngine would probably be free and is reliable.

Go with Google App Engine... you'll probably never break the free barrier.

I've been using Dreamhost for my static (and an initial version of my Django site) for a few months now. I've been happy with their uptime and support.

Github Pages is a great choice for hosting static files IMO. However I'm not sure if you can host gh-pages on a private repository or not.

You can host them from a private repo.

I would try S3 as for now



^ This. Use dropbox. You get 2Gig for free. It is available from the web and you get total control from anywhere.

You can even get a $5 domain to point at your dropbox web location.

Note that some corporate firewalls block dropbox for security reasons. This means your site is blocked too... Caught me out once!

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