Cloud Confusing

Explaining hosting, AWS, project management, and all manner of cloud solutions.

Amazon’s S3 is a great tool for hosting static sites for nearly free (and often times free). Setting up a website in S3 takes just a few minutes, and once it’s there it’s secure, scalable, and affordable. That said, it’s not the tool for everyone — like AWS, S3 has many quirks and it has a real learning curve. Also AWS support is far from free and if you want to do anything non-standard, like URL redirects, there can be many headaches. So here are some of the best alternatives to S3 static site hosting for every user, need, and budget.

I’ll try to update this periodically.

Just to be clear, this website is hosted on AWS and I have a number of static sites (over 20) hosted on S3.

Static Hosting for the Power User

  • Netlify

    Why choose it: easy continuous deployment, easy/free HTTPS, built-in plugins for popular features like forms and user auth.
    Pricing: Free to start, first useful tier at $25/month

  • Firebase Hosting

  • Google Cloud

Easy-to-Use Static Hosting

Cheap/Free Static Hosting

Static Hosting Q&A

  • Is this static list in any way exhaustive?
    Definitely not. Almost any host setup can handle static websites. I used to use Dropbox for free static hosting (they’ve since disabled it). You could use all sorts of tools from this, from dedicated static hosting providers to any place on the open internet that you can upload HTML, CSS, and Javascript files to.
  • Do static sites need to be on a static website host?
    Nope, you could use any hosting solution, it’s normally just easier and cheaper to use a specialized tool, like S3, or a specialized host. You could certainly use a $5/mo DigitalOcean droplet for instance.
  • What should I be looking for in my static site hosting?
    This could be a huge list if you are looking for cool technical perks like those offered by Netlify, but at the base level you’ll want a custom domain, HTTPS, some sort of billing controls, an option for email, no advertising running on your site, some good ways to upload/deploy your files (like Github or zip files uploads), CDN integration, and subdomain support. There are more, but these are the basics.
  • I’ve heard of many of these before. What about the cool, new companies in the space?
    I’m sure there are lot of other options, like GetForge, Paperplane.io, and Aerobatic, but these are the options that I’ve used and/or know people who actively use and believe in. Hosting isn’t choosing a beverage, it’s not time to experiment or impress people with your clever boutique choice.
  • What kind of sites are best for static hosting?
    Almost any website can use static hosting, but it’s a best fit for small utility sites, information site that don’t need to be updated often, static site generated builds from Jekyll, Hugo, etc., event sites, and small businesses. Static hosting can get a lot more dynamic if you want to use some dynamic-feeling tools, like third-party commenting or Lunr for search.

May 2nd, 2018

Posted In: AWS

Tags: , , ,