Speed Up That Cheap Website with Cheap Amazon S3

Do you have an economy-grade website host? Me too. BlueHost is great for only $6.95 per month but its response times and transfer rates are terrible. Fear not — Amazon S3 to the rescue. For pennies a day you can supplement your cheap website host using Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3).

Amazon S3 is storage for the Internet. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.

Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers.

It is simple. So simple.

  • Sign up for an account.
  • Download and install the awesome S3 Firefox Organizer (S3Fox) Firefox add-on.
  • Upload the files you want to be served up like hotcakes.
  • Update the links in your HTML files to point to the new location.
    Example: http://s3.amazonaws.com/jeremy/blog/images/large_bandwidth_sucking_header.jpg
    Note that the example is intended to show the format of the URL and does not point to a valid resource.

Too good to be true? Nope. The S3 files are served up lickety split and best of all it takes the load off of your cheap host which allows it to function much more efficiently. So far I have moved my site’s header and the LightBox JS file. Why didn’t I move the other JS files and images? Because Google hosts all of the popular JavaScript libraries for free.

How much does it cost?
Very little, unless your site becomes wildly popular. 1 million requests costs one dollar plus 17 cents per GB transfered. That’s right. 1,000,000 GET requests = $1.00 + $0.17/GB.

Let’s assume the average size of the elements being served from your Amazon S3 bucket is 10KB.
10KB = 0.01MB = 0.00001GB
1,000,000 requests x 0.00001GB = 10GB
10GB x $0.17/GB = $1.70
1,000,000 requests x $0.01/10,000 requests = $1.00
Total Download Cost: $2.70

Your cheap site can now support 1,000,000 requests per month for a whopping $9.65 ($6.95 for BlueHost and $2.70 for Amazon S3). And if your site gets Dugg or on the front page of Reddit, Amazon S3 will scale without sweating a drop.


Easy Way to Convert UTC to Current Timezone in PHP

$utc_time = "2009-01-12 21:28:21"; // As pulled from the database
date_default_timezone_set("America/New_York"); // Set to Eastern time (automatically handles daylight savings time)

// Here's the secret: add a Z (for zulu) to the end of your UTC date/time string
$utc_time .= "Z";

// Now convert to the current timezone
$cur_date = strftime("%G-%m-%d %H:%M:%S", strtotime($utc_time)); // Format as YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS

The result: 2009-01-12 16:28:21

How do you handle this? Let me know in the comments.


Presenting Stock Rider :: Ski the Market


Play Now

Today is very special. After 150 hours of hard work and sleepless nights, I have released Stock Rider, a flash-based game where you ski real market data.

This is my first big Flash piece and I am so happy with the results. It uses Box2D for Flash as the physics engine, incorporates sounds, side-scrolling, high score submitting, pulling external data, and so much more. Please take a few minutes to check it out…it’s really quite fun. If you can’t get the hang of it, let me know in the comments and I’ll see if I can help you out.

Play Now

A special thanks goes out to the following people:
Scott Scaggs
Taryl Fultz
Mark Rickert
Derek Lidbom


Quote of the Day

Web services are the coolest technology I know of that ends up turning everyone off. I don’t know about you, but when I go to a lecture on Web services, invariably tons of acronyms come out, like Representational State Transfer (REST), Extensible Markup Language (XML), Remote Procedure Call (RPC), SOAP, and RSS. And then I start to nod off and dream about a land where free Krispy Kreme donuts grow on trees.

~Jack Herrington

Source: Zend Tutorials


Quote of the Day

Chris B: I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Me being a programmer is like a tool-using ape building star ships.