I configured Free Radical to use S3 to serve media assets, like images and videos, almost immediately after launching it. There are compelling reasons to use something like S3 instead of serving those files directly from the Mastodon server, such as freeing that server from getting clogged with a zillion media requests. In theory, it should be cheaper, too.
In October 2022, our AWS S3 storage bill was $12.54 for storing about 330GB of media files and serving about 113GB of files to users.
In the spirit of continued transparency, and because I haven’t remembered to do this in a while, this is an accounting of Free Radical’s hosting costs for November 2017:
The DigitalOcean droplet and persistent block storage (for PostgreSQL) was $22.00. The Amazon Web Services S3 media and backup storage cost $3.59. The DigitalOcean CPU usage graph runs consistently at about 5%. Memory is always at about 70%, with most of it used by PostgreSQL for caching.
A couple of weeks ago, I described a month’s worth of experience with hosting Free Radical’s media on S3. This update responds to some predictions now that I have an entire calendar month under my belt.
When I was estimating Free Radical’s operating costs, I predicted that S3 storage growth would be linear. That turned out to be very much the case.
I had no idea how much it would cost to host a Mastodon instance. This is for everyone like I was who’s thinking about running their own server but wants to know what to expect.
Free Radical currently has 62 users. The numbers here are what I pay our small little instance and would certainly jump up if we grew by a factor of 100x.
This morning, I moved all of the user-generated content on Free Radical from local storage to S3. It was completely painless and Just Worked – yay! There are a few reasons why this can be a great idea: