Recently I was investigating options for private repository hosting for a new pet project. In the past I used bitbucket private repos, but this time DVCS is not a great option. There are several okay-ish free private SVN services (ProjectLocker, XPDev), but I found them either too restrictive or slow (and sometimes both). Decent lower tier paid services start at ~$5, but even they are still pretty crap in terms of features.

And at that price point, a full virtual dedicated server becomes a tempting option. After investigating several services, I chose Amazon EC2 (elastic compute cloud).

I looked at it before, when it first became available and back then it was waaaay to expensive. This has changed now.

Turns out, Amazon recently (few months ago) introduced a new server type t1.micro. And the pricing options on it are very reasonable.

It is, like all Amazon cloud services, billed per hour. Standard on-demand micro instance is $0.02. However, it is possible to buy a reserved instance for 3 years for $82 and then hourly rate drops to $0.007!

This is now competitive with other budget VDS hosting options out there, but with 2 major advantages:

  1. It is a pay for what you use billing model (which is awesome for pet projects). This applies to everything: storage, bandwidth, processing.
  2. It is integrated into Amazon infrastructure. And this means awesome speed, polished administration tools and stability (in a sense that Amazon is less likely to go bust than some crappy small budget VDS provider).

When you sign up, you can create an instance of a virtual machine based on an image (essentially a disk snapshot). Amazon provides a few standard ones and has a database of community images.

Amongst those, there is a simple pre-configured linux+apache+svn image

It took me only a few hours from knowing nothing about EC2 to having my server running. And I am super happy with it so far.

So if anyone is looking for a private repository hosting, I highly recommend EC2. Since the service is completely pay-as-you-use, it will only cost you a few cents to give it a try.

Probably the only downside is that it is all kinda do-it-yourself. You get a bare bones OS with ssh access and thats about it. No nice control panels, like you find on various source and web hosting services. But if you know your way around linux, its really not a problem.

ps: this also made me realize how much of an extortionate amount of money I used to pay for my web hosting in the past.