Would you like a free server for a year?

The best things in life are free. While this may not always hold true, I think you will be thoroughly pleased with this freebie. This is not new and has been around for a while now, but from talking with people both new and experienced with servers I’ve found few people who are aware of this important piece of information.

You may have heard about Amazon Web Services (AWS), or more specifically their Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Have you heard about the free usage tier though? I’m sure this is supposed to be like a gateway drug where you try out AWS and you are hooked.  Just check out what all you can get for free (for a year) below!

  • 750 hours of Amazon EC2 Linux Micro Instance usage (613 MB of memory and 32-bit and 64-bit platform support) – enough hours to run continuously each month*
  • 750 hours of Amazon EC2 Microsoft Windows Server Micro Instance usage (613 MB of memory and 32-bit and 64-bit platform support) – enough hours to run continuously each month*
  • 750 hours of an Elastic Load Balancer plus 15 GB data processing*
  • 30 GB of Amazon Elastic Block Storage, plus 2 million I/Os and 1 GB of snapshot storage*
  • 5 GB of Amazon S3 standard storage, 20,000 Get Requests, and 2,000 Put Requests*
  • 100 MB of storage, 5 units of write capacity, and 10 units of read capacity for Amazon DynamoDB.**
  • 15 GB of bandwidth out aggregated across all AWS services*
  • 25 Amazon SimpleDB Machine Hours and 1 GB of Storage**
  • 100,000 Requests of Amazon Simple Queue Service**
  • 100,000 Requests, 100,000 HTTP notifications and 1,000 email notifications for Amazon Simple Notification Service**
  • 10 Amazon Cloudwatch metrics, 10 alarms, and 1,000,000 API requests**

As of January 18, 2012 (http://aws.amazon.com/free/).

Now to redeem your free servers (yes, plural — notice both Linux AND Microsoft above) all you need to do is click here and sign up. Now this will require both a credit card on file as well as going through an automated phone verification process. This is painless enough and even though some people are unhappy with it if you are a legitimate user you should not have any problems with getting through registration in a few minutes, and I just spun up both a Windows and Linux server both ready to go in less than 60 seconds.

In the coming future there will be many new articles on how to setup your own servers and different things you can use a server for over shared hosting. This would be a great (free/cheap) way to try out some ideas. Amazon AWS may or may not be right for you in the long run, and coming soon I will go over how to choose a good hosting provider. For now… enjoy the free ride!