Google App Engine offers free quotas of 1 GB outbound traffic per day and 6.5 CPU-hours (based on a 1.2 GHz Intel x86 processor) per day.

How do those free quotas compare to web hosting plans? For example, the traffic supported by the free quotas -- is that generally higher or less than the traffic supported by a typical $5/mo shared hosting account?

Above the free quotas, Google charges $0.12 per GB outgoing traffic, $0.10 per GB incoming traffic, $0.10 per CPU-hour, $0.15 per GB storage per month.

How do those numbers translate to normal web hosting plans? For example, the traffic that can be supported by a $40/mo VPS plan and $200/mo dedicated server plan, what would they cost on Google App Engine?

I know it depends on a lot of factors, but if anyone has any ballpark estimates or experiences they're willing to share I'd really appreciate it.

I'm trying to decide between App Engine and standard web hosting for a DB-backed Python site. The site will start small, but if the traffic grows I want to see which would be a better option long term.

Accepted Answer

As you say, it depends on a lot. Not just the site you want to host, but who, specifically, you're comparing it to. To give you a rough idea, I host a site that gets from 20k to 30k pageviews a day on App Engine, and it costs me 17c a week. That's for extra storage over the default quota - all other quotas are well within the free zone.

As far as specific comparisons go, if we look at Linode, for example, their base plan is $20 for 12GB of storage and 120GB transfer per month. At App Engine prices, that would cost you at most $16.20 per month - assuming it was all outgoing traffic. If you do less than that in a month, it costs you less. Obviously, you don't have all the versatility on App Engine that you have with a VPS, but you also have better scalability and reliability.

The comparison is fairly easy to other hosting services. I think App Engine will generally come out ahead, so mostly the decision comes down to if your app is suitable for App Engine.

Written by Nick Johnson
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