When it comes to hosting, there are basically two billing models: pre-paid monthly (and sometimes annual) bills or metered billing. Most cloud computing platforms, including AWS, use metered billing and only charge their users for the resources they actually used. Linode, the popular cloud hosting company, is now switching to metered billing as well.
Existing users will still be able to switch or they stick to their pre-paid monthly plans. Once the metered billing comes out of beta, it will become the default for new customers.
Unlike Amazon and other platforms that have pretty complex pricing plans, Linode is opting for simplicity. Instead of paying separately for storage, I/O, compute power and network transfer, everything will be bundles within a single hourly fee.
For the company’s smallest machines (which come with a gigabyte of memory and 48 gigabytes of storage), the new prices will start at $0.03/per hour. Users, of course, can add a number of extra features to these, which will also be billed hourly and bundled into a single bill that arrives at the end of the month.
One interesting twist here is that all of the plans come with a monthly cap. “Each month has a different number of hours. January has 744. February has 672. April has 720,” the Linode team wrote on the company’s forum today. “Imagine if your bill was different every month!” For AWS users, of course, that’s exactly what happens.
Over the last few months, Linode has lost a bit of mind share to new competitors, including DigitalOcean, which always charged by the hour. It’s hard not to look at Linode’s move as a reaction to this, but it’s also simply a reflection of what developers expect from their cloud computing services: being able to quickly start up and shut down a machine as needed without having to deal with refunds and credits at the end of the month.