Book Cover

The Cloud Hosting Handbook

Learn how to choose the perfect hosting for your app.

Learn more

The book is no longer on sale

The cloud hosting landscape has changed a lot since the book was published, and whilst the principles outlined in the book are timeless and applicable today, a lot of the material is no longer relevant and I don't have the time or resources to bring it up to date.

Aren’t you tired of comparing hosting services and prices? Is your credit card company calling you every other day because of massive AWS hosting fees?

The Cloud Hosting Handbook will show you how you can make the best choice for your own needs and how you can know in advance how much it will cost to host your app.

This book answers 2 questions: the first one, beautifully expressed by a frustrated poster to Reddit’s /r/webhosting:

I close my eyes and I see tables comparing prices and services. Please just tell me what hosting to get.

You're looking at the extreme competition in the hosting market, with thousands of companies seeking your business: their prices go down, they offer more and more features but at the same time they drown you with brochures, irrelevant comparisons, useless data sheets.

The second question comes from a thread on Hacker News:

How can I sustainably run a website without charging a fee?

Everyone who had to pull 48 straight hours to decrease server load and has seen their pay go out of the window in AWS hosting fees knows how that feels. But at least they're online, unlike those who have opted for the cheapest plan they found and whose website is down 5 minutes after being posted to Hacker News.

All of those questions mean that there's no single answer that works for everyone: every founder, every CTO has to find their own answer, based on their unique needs. But there's an easier, methodical way to find it that doesn't involve weeks of searching, uncertainty and fear of choosing the wrong option: The Cloud Hosting Handbook shows you how.

What's inside the book?

all the kinds of hosting available on today's market
how to estimate your initial and ongoing costs
how to compare the features of two hosting offers
how to make your life easier by leveraging services

You will learn why AWS or GCE are good choices if you're building the next Datadog, and why you will be better off with Digital Ocean or Vultr if your project is the next Medium.

I've made The Cloud Hosting Handbook short and to the point: you can read it in an evening and save weeks of research and indecision.

Table Of Contents

What kinds of hosting does the market offer?

In this opening chapter you will learn what kinds of hosting you can find on the market today, what are the characteristics and limitations of each kind and which hosting services you should look at for your project.

  1. Shared hosting
  2. VPS (Virtual Private Server)
  3. Dedicated Server
  4. Colocation
  5. Cloud
  6. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
  7. Serverless - Function-as-a-Service (FaaS)
  8. Managed hosting

The Method

In this chapter you will learn a method to search the hosting market, starting from established and trustworthy providers and ending up with a shortlist of 2 or 3 providers.

  1. Start with big, established providers
  2. Exclude offers incompatible with your app's architecture
  3. Avoid or minimize provider lock-in
  4. Estimate how much it would cost to host your app
  5. Exercise: Cost estimation on 3 providers

Getting to a decision

This chapter is all about comparisons: you will learn how to compare 2 different hosting offers, why comparing on prices only is wrong, and what subjective factors will ultimately lead to your decision.

  1. Objective factors: value-per-dollar
  2. Going beyond the numbers – qualitative and subjective factors
  3. SLA Additional services
  4. Location and peering Support
  5. Stability Transparency
  6. Terms and conditions
  7. How to make the final decision?

Shop the shelf

In this final chapter you will see how services such as DNS, email and monitoring are necessary, and why should spend money instead of time for them.

  1. Domain names
  2. DNS hosting
  3. SSL certificates
  4. Email (outgoing and incoming)
  5. Monitoring and log collection
  6. Backup

Get a sample chapter

Sample chapter
Download a sample chapter of the book.


  • Where can I learn more about you?
    You can read more about me at my personal website, my blog, and my answers on Quora.
  • What if I don't like it?
    The book is full of practical and timeless advice, but if you don't like it just contact me and I'll refund 100% of what you paid, no questions asked.
  • What happened to Hosting For App Developers?
    The Cloud Hosting Handbook is the successor of Hosting For App Developers, based on readers feedback: the new book is updated for the latest industry trends, is more focused and direct; if you've bought Hosting For App Developers, you can get The Cloud Hosting Handbook for free until June 2017, and at a 50% discount afterwards
  • What if I have another question?
    Get in touch with me and I'll do my best to answer you

About the author

Sebastiano Pilla

I am a software professional who believes that development and operations are two facets of the same job and that every developer should have the knowledge to operate their own applications.

I've been developing, operating and troubleshooting web applications for the last 15 years. I've made many mistakes and I'm sharing what I know now so you won't have to.