Quick hack to monitor the health of a collection of AWS services

My SaaS app WP Lookout uses Amazon Web Services for hosting. I’ve had plenty of monitoring set up using both internal and external tools notifications, and these mostly output to a combination of a dedicated Slack channel and/or a Pushover notification that goes to my mobile device.

The one thing I didn’t have in place until recently was monitoring for the health of the specific group of AWS services the app depends on. With AWS offering many services spread across many parts of the world (as illustrated in the Very Long Service Health Dashboard), I wasn’t about to start monitoring all of the AWS infrastructure just to see if my particular app was affected.

They do offer a “Personal Health Dashboard” that’s supposedly more tailored to incidents affecting my AWS account, but I find it unintuitive and confusing to use, especially when it comes to setting up notifications to external services like Slack. In my online searching I found various services and tools that supposedly integrated the PHD into more standard monitoring and alerting options, but they were also either too complicated or seemed to require additional levels of paid AWS support plans that I didn’t want to take on.

So I decided to keep things simple and use the tried and true technology for polling information about external resources: RSS!

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What are AWS hosting costs using Laravel Vapor?

When I was researching tools and services for launching a SaaS app, I was pretty clear that I wanted to use Laravel Vapor to manage the Amazon Web Services deployment. The main mystery about that decision was what it would actually cost to have a Vapor-managed deployment on AWS for the size of my application and my expected usage levels.

I found a few articles and blog posts about that topic (the most helpful was Cost & Performance optimization in Laravel Vapor) but, as is the case with AWS hosting in general, there was no clear formula that would lead me to a precise monthly hosting cost for a brand new web application.

In hopes that it helps someone else in a similar situation, I’d like to add one more data point to the mix. Here are some details about what it’s costing me (so far) to host my Laravel-powered application on AWS as managed by Vapor.

Vapor itself is $39/month. This cost does not change if you use Vapor across multiple projects, so your per-project cost can go down over time if you plan to launch more than one project. Some people have raised eyebrows at this baseline cost but as anyone who has ever had to manage their own hosting server infrastructure and worry about upgrades, security issues, configuration management, etc. knows, it feels like a great deal. I wrote about that more in my other post on launching a SaaS business, but this sentiment remains true:

It felt like the magical world of cloud hosting that was always promised but never quite delivered had finally become reality. Even a month later I’m still constantly amazed by it. Huge kudos to the Vapor team.

Now, on to AWS itself. I’m currently paying approximately $1.00 per day for AWS services, and the monthly bill ends up being about $33.00.

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