Since IBM, Amazon Web Services (AWS) etc companies are offering their function-as-a-service (FaaS) offering, more number of users are becoming interested towards serverless. While it is true that serverless computing is the next step in the evolution of cloud computing, we have to remember that serverless, FaaS are for helping the traditional static websites, not the dynamic websites like a large WordPress blog.
Is Serverless Cost Effective Comparing to Self-Hosted WordPress?
No. A website like ours needs huge computing resources every day with extensive methods to customize each part. It will cost more to run a website like ours completely converting for serverless. Of course, one can approach FaaS services with WordPress plugins in poly-cloud approach. There are many good and cheap OpenVZ service providers like VPSdime to make the life comfortable within a practical budget. Web hosting no longer belongs just a few companies unlike it was in 2009. Using serverless for this kind of website will increase headache – more will be the number of visits and crawls, more will be the bill. However, you can offload some of the computing need via WordPress plugins. A good example of usage is contact us forms, comment forms etc. Serverless reduces the risk of traditional web servers. You can add some mechanism with serverless to make the website fail-proof by serving the cached content.
When Serverless is Cost Effective?
Serverless is cost-effective to run a personal website which we would otherwise run as a static website using Jekyll, OctoPress etc static site generators. Paying $5 to $7 per month for 1000-2000 visitors per month is a loss. Using a static website decreases the bill plus decreases the headache of MySQL failure, various kind of exploits etc. Either you or your engineers had to SSH regularly to keep the website in good health. With serverless, FaaS etc we can get some dynamic part on this kind of static websites. It is important to think about the SEO prospects (I lack idea).
Serverless or FaaS are not an all-purpose solution just like PaaS is not an all-purpose solution. The pay-as-you-go model has it’s potential when properly used. A busy serious website always needs a complete server with its IP. Serverless made it possible to run WordPress on an OpenVZ instance offloading the CPU intensive works. Most of the OpenVZ providers limit the load average. We can not run a website on VPSdime which needs repeated flushing of cache. W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache suck significant CPU to quickly build the HTML pages. IaaS-based web hosting is over-provisioned to make resources available to handle some load fluctuations. Serverless, FaaS is cost-effective for smaller organizations with less manpower and a limited budget to increase the number of their domains. They can have another domain avoiding a shared hosting. Nothing can beat a static website in terms of simplicity. Using serverless, FaaS need the practical experience of knowing various services for static websites and minimize depending on the functions. At present, serverless and FaaS have limited use-cases.
Serverless is great to use proprietary advanced functions, like the above illustration from IBM demonstrated.