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UPDATE: it turns out that AWS as well throttles port 25 in case many emails are sent at once (like is usually the case when sending out newsletters). You can ask AWS support to lift that throttle though...

A while back I was very excited about Google Cloud. Remember? Well, it’s over. Google Cloud Servers block outgoing port 25, meaning that you cannot run an SMTP service on that port. So there is absolutely no way to host websites (with contact forms, or any other forms) on a Google Cloud server. Exit Google Cloud.

So I had to go find another solution. I decided to give Amazon Web Services a try. Check out https://aws.amazon.com/

So far so good. I’m very impressed. Things are a bit more complex coming from Google Cloud, but that has its reasons. AWS has a longer tradition in cloud hosting. It feels like they have been thinking a lot about it over the years. They do cloud hosting the object oriënted way... Sort of. 

Some things to keep in mind when using AWS:

  • Make sure to use one the datacenters that has AWS backup available. At this time it’s only available to 4 of the many datacenters they have. I choose Ireland.
  • You can make use of their so called “Free Tier” offers. That basically means you pay nothing in the first 12 months. Google has something similar. You can have a Windows 2019 with 30GB of disk space and 1GB of RAM for free… That sounds like a ridiculously small server, but believe me, it works very well. You can easily host up to 30 (small) QuickerSites on such an instance. Not bad at all. After the free period has expired, that server would only cost at around 15€/month. Not bad either. And of course, you can easily upgrade that machine with more CPU, RAM and disk space any time.
  • The AWS backup solution fully automates the creation of snapshots (backups) at very low rates. Very useful, but again, only available to a handful of their datacenters…
  • Getting started with such an AWS instance requires some in-depth understanding of how firewalls work, how to install IIS, an SMTP server, assign IP addresses, and many other things… Sometimes I feel like it’s too much for my small brains. But I managed to get it up and running rather quickly. I amazed myself.
  • It’s good to know that QuickerSite works – without a single problem – on the latest Windows 2019 Server. It’s funny to read how some ASP.NET applications are stuck with IIS 6 or 7 due to lacking support for older ASP.NET versions on the newer IIS releases. Véééry funny actually. I can tell for sure that QuickerSite runs on - hold on - Windows 2000 (IIS5), 2003 (IIS6), 2008 (IIS7), 2012 (IIS8), 2016 (IIS10) and 2019 (also IIS10 - huh? they forgot to make it 11 I guess) servers. Bam...

All in all, I think AWS is a very interesting way to go. I will make up my mind about it very soon.

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