I'm looking for reliable, scale-able web hosting alternatives to Azure due to cost issues.

All I've done in Azure is create a database. No tables created yet and already they're charging $7 per day. Can't imagine what it will cost when I actually start developing. Looking for other hosting options.
2 people have
this question
+1
Reply
  • Paul,
    If you find an alternative I'd be your best mate!

    I've just had 3 months of dealing with Azure customer service when I began getting monthly bills of $550!!!
    This was for 6 applications (only 2 were on the B1 scale which is necessary for printable reports). I had 6 databases all on the lowest possible rate.

    Only one of these apps and only one database had any customer usage and that was very light. All but one of these apps are in development so have almost no usage apart from uploading updates.

    I deleted 5 (yes 5) databases and combined the tables of those 5 into one database.
    The one remaining database was on the lowest plan.
    I then moved 5 app services to the "Free" level and left only one app on the B1 (basic) level.
    Guess what? The next month's bill was $524!

    I managed to get Microsoft to waive one $500 bill and refund another $500 bill.

    So, feeling really pleased with myself I opened last months bill --- $264!!!

    They would not refund this one so I went through everything again to ensure everything was on the lowest possible pricing scale (1 database on the lowest level, 5 app services on the "Free" level and one app on B1 (Basic). This month's forecasted bill is at $63 already after only 8 days into the billing period!

    Remember - Only one of these apps has any customer usage and it's very light!

    To say I'm pissed off is a massive understatement.

    I have had apps hosted on Azure for about 5 years and never paid over $90 per month until this last few months.

    I've looked at Amazon but it's so complex and I suspect no different to Azure.

    So, I'm watching your post very carefully because for me it may be a case of finally walking away from this type of online app development that requires sql/asp.net servers.

    Cheers,

    Jonesy
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • I've used aspnix and smarterasp with success. They don't have the network infrastructure that Azure has but they work for small to mid size apps that can survive in a shared hosting environment.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • I tried Azure for a proof of concept process. It worked but I could see the costs are prohibitive. I contacted the folks at Azure and asked about costs, cost management and better offerings for small businesses. There were none. Unless you have a huge network and server overhead it just does not make sense.

    I searched and discovered UpCloud. They have a simple fee structure, etc. The speed/performance is amazing and they have servers in Europe and the US. Its a Finnish company but the customer is excellent.

    I have SQL Server Express, Windows Server and IIS running on it. I use it primarily for test deployment of my COT apps, and similar work.

    Take a look at it. Perhaps it will meet your needs.

    https://upcloud.com/
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • Consider physical and virtual server hosting at https://www.cari.net/.

    Microsoft Azure pricing calculator is available at
    https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pri...

    A typical app configuration for production environment:

    1) Click "App Service" to add an app service.
    2) Click "Azure SQL Database to add a database
    3) Scroll down to the estimate. The app service will be configured at $54.75 USD.
    4) The database will be set at a $371.87 per month by default. This is an excessive configuration for most apps.
    5) Change "Purchase Model" of database to DTU and the service tier to Standard. The price will go down to $14.72

    The total monthly cost is $69.47.


    You can get better performance for the database by increasing the performance level.

    The primary advantage of Azure is the ease of deployment, automatic database backup, and ability to scale on demand.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • 1
    I just run the SQL server install on upcloud server on it. I then configured it to allow me to run SMS on my desktop. So I manage it from my dev pc. I use remote desktop for iOS but suppose I could do that remotely as well. I do Ftp to push the files. Since I publish my apps from visual studio ftp works for me.

    Azure and AWS are note small business solutions. A decent Upcloud solution will run around $25 per month.

    I also use SmarterAsp. For shared hosting and a bit more hand holding @ less than $8 per month it's a great value. I have one small business app with about 600 customers and it holds up well.

    Different solutions depending what you need. For me the cloud is hype, in the end it's just a web server.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • Thanks, guys for your recommendations.
    I'd like to strictly expand the conversation on production solutions, not testing.
    How do these options compare in cost, performance, security, scalability, etc?
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • SmarterASP or UpCloud should handle any production apps you want to throw at them. I have COT apps on both. I have mobile apps running against UpCloud. I have reporting running on both. Though in full disclosure I use Stimulsoft reports more than SSRS.

    If I was a small business I would think the $20 or $40 Simple Fee plans would be just fine for UpCloud. They have a $5 Windows surcharge.

    For SmarterASP the shared hosting at $8 should do it. So people don't like the idea of shared hosting and their data sitting beside someone else. Kind of non-issue for me but if the customer like that so be it.

    The downside of UpCloud is you need to set up the server the way you want. It is pretty much bare bones. The SmarterASP offering does not require that.

    Using both I do think UpCloud has a bit better performance, but its slight.

    Each meets different needs but in the end both are great providers.

    Compared to my experience with Azure they are real bargains.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • After trialling all the suggestions on this post I've run with John's suggestion of SmarterASP.

    I found it very easy to set up - much easier than Azure.

    All my online apps and databases were set up in a few hours.
    Apps performance is also faster than Azure.

    My monthly cost for servers has suddenly gone from hundreds of dollars per month to $12.00 per month and that's with a dedicated IP.

    I want to thank all of you who contributed to this post as it's truly saved the day for me and my online app production future!

    Cheers,
    Jonesy
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • I am testing SmarterASP. I like them. So easy and quick support.

    I will suggest you add the $30/Year daily backup for your databases. Their automatic database backup is 3 times a week. I do not think it is sufficient unless you do manual backups on your own.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • Just a historical fyi, I have been a long time user of SmarterASP and find them an excellent hosting provider. They have been responsive to my support requests and needs.

    Last November they became a victim of a ransomware attack. It was brutal. They opted to pay the ransom and had users back up in less than 72 hours. They also introduced additional security protocols to help eliminate the likelihood of future attacks.

    Thankfully for me, though my production applications were down, the attack happened on late Friday and my apps were up on Monday. Since most of my users work Monday - Friday the disruption was minimal.

    In my mind, crazy as it may seem, it makes them even a better provider with even more security.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • Thanks all for your comments! I feel like there are plenty of options. Can't beat fee trials.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • Just chatted with UpCloud.

    "Is there an extra charge for Windows Server, and SQL Server?

    JD profile
    We do not have SQL licences, Standard Windows Licences is $5/month per CPU core on top of the server price."
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • Just had a chat with UpCloud.

    "Is there an extra charge for Windows Server, and SQL Server?

    JD profile
    We do not have SQL licences, Standard Windows Licences is $5/month per CPU core on top of the server price."
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • They do up charge for Windows but SQL Server Express is free and runs well. Its supports 10gb databases which are huge and does not limit number of users.

    I have been running it on my UpCloud server for some time.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • I tried https://www.interserver.net (asp webhosting) and https://www.smarterasp.net (premier plan)
    They look really good and affordable.
    They are both very similar. Smarterasp's backup tools are better whereas interserver offers larger SQL DB sizes.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • UpCloud very affordable, and is unmanaged, which is cool because you can load whatever. On the other hand I'm not a Windows Server, security, or IIS expert. I'm a bit concerned about living dangerously in a server environment that I set up.

    The other option for database would be to use MySQL. Then the size would not be an issue. I don't have a lot of experience with it but it seems to be pretty fast. I just started going through the Task Manager tutorial to see what sort of issues I come up with. Seems OK so far.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated

  • I found myself in a similar place with UpCloud. I was fairly familiar with SQL Server so that helped. IIS is pretty standard and then your Application controls most security. I opted to use a 3rd party, Socket Labs, for my SMTP email service provider. That takes some pressure off.

    I did use IIS to set up my FTP side of things.

    The upside of using Windows Server and IIS is that there is loads of information on the internet. So as I run into questions or concerns I can generally find the answers on the web.

    Still it is something you need to consider if you do go with UpCloud, or any other VPS. Its good you are thinking about it.

    MySQL or its Maria fork are good choices. My customers seem to be MS oriented so its not an option for me.

    I hope your experience is good one. I did have to learn more servers stuff than I wanted.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited indifferent, undecided, unconcerned sad, anxious, confused, frustrated