Cost of running website

 

At Apigee, my previous company, one of the corridor discussions we'd have is how many AWS servers we were running — that'd give us bragging rights. You could see the pride and amusement in everyone's face, including mine, when the number was higher than the last count. Some of this cost could have been paid by customers, or by Apigee itself. But none of the engineers knew, or cared about, how much these servers cost. Since starting SimplyGuest, I am forced to go in the opposite direction. No AWS, cheap discounted servers, fewer servers. What changed? Now I literally take out my wallet to pay for the servers.

How much do I spend on keeping simplyguest.com up and running?

Server Cost

Our main website, simplyguest.com, runs on a 8GB RAM/40GB SSD virtual private server (VPS) with 2 vCores. It runs everything related to the website: front-end, backend, and the database. It even hosts our source code repository, Git. Our Android App fetches its data from this server. The server is hosted by OVH, in Frankfurt. I paid $81 for an entire year (I bought it on a 50% discount sale), which turns out to be Rs 472/month. That's less than a veg buffet at Barbeque Nation!

Server 1
Rs472/month

This is an unmanaged, bare bones server. No automated backups, no API, no control panel, no snapshots, no frills — like Air Deccan. It comes with one public IP, which is sufficient for one SSL certificate.

Air Deccan

A comparable server (m3.large) on Amazon AWS will cost Rs 5870/month. 13 times more! The biggest advantage Amazon gives me is, I can choose a server in Mumbai, which is closer to our customer base but it costs even more. You want some more heart burn? NettiGritty charges Rs 5270/month for a similar server hosted in Singapore.

I have a smaller server at OVH that runs simplyguest blog. Its a single vCore 2 GB RAM/10 GB SSD server. I use this as a backup server. I also run a few other unrelated websites on it.

Server 2
Rs122/month

Ping times

The only gripe I have with this setup is latency. Ping time averages to 135 milli seconds. Google.co.in takes 11ms! While on the subject of latency I checked ping time of a few other popular websites: Facebook.com takes 250ms and Flipkart.com takes 320ms. Surprising! Even amazon.in takes 140ms.

amazon.in 140ms
facebook.com 250ms
yahoo.co.in 250ms
flipkart.com 320ms
linkedin.com 350ms

Domain Cost

simplyguest.com domain is registered at Namecheap for Rs 830/year, or 69/month. I have used many others in the past including GoDaddy and a few other Indian registrars. Some of these are cheap, but I like Namecheap for 2 reasons: they don't spam me, and, their domain settings UI is decent. Changing DNS settings is easy and instant.

Domain
Rs69/month

simplyguest.com is a secure website. Meaning, it starts with https://. I need an SSL Certificate to run it. I used to pay Rs 588 for a certificate at Namecheap. But now I have moved it to LetsEncrypt, which is free.

Email Cost

I initially used Zoho for email as their free plan gave me 5 free email ids, but they have a limit on bulk email sending. We send out rent invoices at the beginning of the month to all our guests; we also send out a few more transactional email. I could live with their bad UI, but not being able to send transactional email in bulk made me switch to Google Apps. Google charges Rs 125/month/user. We have 3 email addresses ending with @simplyguest.com. All others are aliases that get forwarded to my email id. That's Rs 375, less than a full meals + coffee at MTR.

Email
Rs375/month
Item Provider Yearly Cost Monthly Cost
Server 1 OVH Rs 5670
Server 2 OVH Rs 1470
Email Google Rs 375
Domain Namecheap Rs 830
Total for an Year Rs 7970 Rs 4500

Having less money is sometimes good, I have stopped eating at Barbeque Nation. But I can never stop going to MTR. I spend Rs 1039 to run the entire technology behind simplyguest.com. If we were to loose a few customers, I can cut down on Google and the second server; that brings down the spending to Rs 594, a tad less than my electricity bill.

I would be interested to know how much others are spending to run their websites. How much do you spend on your website to keep it up and running?

Email subbu@simplyguest.com for comments or suggestions.