Free cloud hosting: comparing what the top providers offer

Most providers offer some free cloud hosting to encourage you to get acquainted with their platforms. And some services actually remain free indefinitely

Lets face it, everyone likes something for free, and free cloud hosting is no different. Most providers offer some kind of free service to encourage you to get acquainted with their platforms. Some services actually remain free indefinitely.
I’m going to explore the top Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) free cloud hosting plans currently available to help you take full advantage of whichever proves to be the best option for your needs.

Free cloud hosting: AWS free tier

Free Cloud HostingAmazon Web Services is unarguably the largest cloud hosting company around. The good news is that, if you are a new customer, you are automatically eligible for the AWS free tier.
The AWS Free Tier is designed to provide you with hands-on AWS experience at no charge for the first twelve months after you sign up. Once you create your AWS account, you’ll be able to use any of these twenty one products and services for free, subject to certain usage limits.
Details:

  • Full range of infrastructure services.
  • Great Documentation.
  • Good career-building skills.
  • AWS Marketplace offers more than 700 free and paid software products that run on the AWS free tier. If you qualify for the AWS free tier, you can use these products on an Amazon EC2 t2.micro instance for up to 750 hours per month and pay no additional charges for the Amazon EC2 instance (during those twelve months).
  • Ends after twelve months, after which you’ll be billed for all the resources you use.
  • You need a credit card to sign up.
  • Only available to new AWS customers.

Free cloud hosting: Google Cloud Platform’s free trial

Google is Google so you know just about anything they offer will work well. Google Cloud Platform enables developers to build, test, and deploy applications on their highly-scalable and reliable infrastructure. You can choose from computing, storage and application services for your web, mobile and backend solutions.
About Google Cloud Platform’s free trial

  • You get $300 in credit to spend on all Cloud Platform products over 60 days.
  • During the free trial, there are some product limitations. For instance, Compute Engine is limited to eight concurrent cores at a time.
  • Free trial is for anyone new to Cloud Platform.
  • Existing customers who have, in the past, paid for Cloud Platform are not eligible.
  • Your trial ends once 60 days have elapsed or you’ve spent $300.
  • Once the trial has ended your instances will be paused, and you’ll have the option to upgrade to a paid account.
  • You must upgrade within 30 days of your trial ending or you won’t be able to restore your instances.
  • You need a credit card to sign up.

Beyond the free introductory offer, Google also offers ongoing light compute services for free when you stay within their free quota. This service level might actually allow you indefinite free cloud hosting for a smaller website!

Free cloud hosting: Microsoft Azure’s free offer

Azure provides a growing collection of integrated services—compute, storage, data, networking, and app. Azure is the only major cloud platform ranked by Gartner as an industry leader in both the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) market segments. This powerful combination of managed and unmanaged services lets you build, deploy, and manage applications any way you like.
About Microsoft Azure’s free trial offer

  • You receive a $210 credit to spend on Azure services during the 30 day trial. You can use this $210 to create and try out any combination of Azure resources.
  • To sign up for a Free Trial you need a phone number, a credit card, and a Microsoft Account username.
  • If you exceed your $210 free credit, your free trial account is suspended.
  • Azure free trials are available in all countries/regions where Azure is commercially available. Currently, that translates as 140 countries/regions.
  • Once the trial period is over, if you have not upgraded to a Pay-As-You-Go Azure subscription, your services will be decommissioned, and you will not be able to use them anymore.
  • Developers with subscriptions to Microsoft’s MSDN program get an $1,800 credit a month (though not for production applications).

Like Google, Azure also offers a long-term light-use free cloud hosting tier. Using this tier, you can deploy up to 10 free web sites, or build a mobile service that supports up to 500 devices for free, with no apparent time limit.

The Verdict

The bottom line with all this is that for each of these free tiers you need to sign up with your credit card details, so somewhere down the track you could be charged. You can rest assured however that these are all reputable companies with no plans to steal your money, so if you play your cards right you can get a lot of free stuff for a certain period of time at least (or, in the cases of Google and Azure, indefinitely).
If you want to spend some serious time learning your way around, then you can’t beat AWS’s twelve month free cloud hosting tier. It also comes back to what it is you want to do. But if you’re not planning on using much in the way of resources, maybe the light-use levels from Microsoft and Google offer the best deals.

Written by

I have been UNIX/Linux System Administrator for the past 15 years and am slowly moving those skills into the AWS Cloud arena. I am passionate about AWS and Cloud Technologies and the exciting future that it promises to bring.

Related Posts

— November 21, 2018

Google Cloud Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2018, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the first time. In t...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
— October 30, 2018

Azure Stack Use Cases and Applications

This is the second of a two-part series covering Azure Stack. Our first post provided an introduction to Azure Stack. Why would your organization consider using Azure Stack? What are the key differences between Azure Stack and Microsoft Azure? In this post, we'll begin to answer bot...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Hybrid Cloud
  • Virtualization
— October 3, 2018

Highlights from Microsoft Ignite 2018

Microsoft Ignite 2018 was a big success. Over 26,000 people attended Microsoft’s flagship conference for IT professionals in sunny Orlando, Florida. As usual, Microsoft made a huge number of announcements, ranging from minor to major in importance. To save you the trouble of sifting thr...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Ignite
— September 20, 2018

Planning for Microsoft Ignite 2018 Sessions: What Not to Miss

Cloud Academy is proud to be a sponsor of the Microsoft Ignite Conference to be held September 24 - 28 in Orlando, Florida. This is Microsoft’s biggest event of the year and is a great way to stay up to date on how to get the most from Microsoft’s products. In this post, I’ll help you p...

Read more
  • Azure
— September 18, 2018

How to Optimize Cloud Costs with Spot Instances: New on Cloud Academy

One of the main promises of cloud computing is access to nearly endless capacity. However, it doesn’t come cheap. With the introduction of Spot Instances for Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) in 2009, spot instances have been a way for major cloud providers to sell sp...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
— August 23, 2018

What are the Benefits of Machine Learning in the Cloud?

A Comparison of Machine Learning Services on AWS, Azure, and Google CloudArtificial intelligence and machine learning are steadily making their way into enterprise applications in areas such as customer support, fraud detection, and business intelligence. There is every reason to beli...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Machine Learning
— July 5, 2018

How Does Azure Encrypt Data?

In on-premises environments, data security is typically a siloed activity, with a company's security team telling the internal technology groups (server administration, database, networking, and so on) what needs to be protected against intrusion.This approach is absolutely a bad...

Read more
  • Azure
— June 26, 2018

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

If you want to deliver digital services of any kind, you’ll need to compute resources including CPU, memory, storage, and network connectivity. Which resources you choose for your delivery, cloud-based or local, is up to you. But you’ll definitely want to do your homework first.Cloud ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud
Albert Qian
— June 19, 2018

Preparing for the Microsoft Azure 70-535 Exam

The credibility of Microsoft Azure continues to grow in the first quarter of 2018 with an increasing number of enterprises migrating their workloads, resulting in a jump for Azure from 10% to 13% in market share. Most organizations will find that simply “lifting and shifting” applicatio...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Compute
  • Database
  • Security
— April 12, 2018

Azure Migration Strategy: A Checklist to Get Started

By now, you’ve heard it many times and from many sources: cloud technology is the future of IT. If your organization isn’t already running critical workloads on a cloud platform (and, if your career isn’t cloud-focused), you’re running the very real risk of being overtaken by nimbler co...

Read more
  • Azure
— March 2, 2018

Three Must-Use Azure Security Services

Keeping your cloud environment safe continues to be the top priority for the enterprise, followed by spending, according to RightScale’s 2018 State of the Cloud report.The safety of your cloud environment—and the data and applications that your business runs on—depends on how well you...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Security
— February 15, 2018

Is Multi-Cloud a Solution for High Availability?

With the average cost of downtime estimated at $8,850 per minute, businesses can’t afford to risk system failure. Full access to services and data anytime, anywhere is one of the main benefits of cloud computing.By design, many of the core services with the public cloud and its underl...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Adoption
  • Google Cloud