There are a few PAAS providers that now provide a free tier of service and cheap prices afterwards. Some, such as AppFog and OpenShift, also offer easy installations of common web apps such as Wordpress. Is there any reason to still use a standard web host for hosting things like PHP scripts or Ruby on Rails apps?

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    Yes. [Voting to close as not a real question.] The terms "free," "unlimited," and "forever" rarely truly mean those things once you actually read the ToS. Even your "cheap prices" example doesn't really work, by the way. The lowest paid PHPFog tier is still significantly more expensive than eg. a Dreamhost account. Different tools have different appropriate uses. If you think shared hosting is pointless, the thousands of companies providing it and millions of people using it obviously disagree. – Su' Sep 3 '12 at 21:17
  • As Su' mentioned, there is still a price difference. A lot of people don't consider a 450~900% premium justifiable for the equivalent of managed VPS or cloud hosting + a slightly more focused control panel. OpenShift looks interesting, but there are still times when the ability to install more than just the platform-approved services is necessary. If you don't need root access and are only interested in the apps/services that a PaaS-provider offers using their configurations, then maybe it'd be an attractive alternative. – Lèse majesté Sep 3 '12 at 22:04
  • I think the free tier on AppFog provides more services than many paid "unlimited" shared web hosting. – Ari Sep 3 '12 at 23:28

Is there any reason to complicate your life using AppFog/PhpFog spendng 29$ per month, when you could simply buy a 45$ per year reliable cPanel hosting service with MySQL (among millions of providers) that will suffice to most of your web application needs for a long time?!

And in the case you have a lot of traffic you simply need to send an email to the hoster and ask them to move your plan to a bigger one, or to a VPS still with cPanel. Even for VPS plans you can find something cheaper of PhpFog.

Last but not least, if you are unhappy with your hoster you can move to another one (there are millions online providing cPanel), with strange stuff like AppFog/PhpFog you risk in the worst case to remain stuck there, and in the best case you'll anyway have fewer alternatives vendors to choose among.

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    The free tier on AppFog and OpenShift is enough for many people console.appfog.com/pricing openshift.redhat.com/community/developers/pricing. For example, OpenShift says it can support a Drupal site with 50k visitors a month and AppFog seems to be able to support more. – Ari Sep 4 '12 at 14:04
  • @Ari: well if everyone enters in his house using the door, you can still enter in your house through the window. – Marco Demaio Sep 4 '12 at 14:53
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    They have one-click installs of common apps, so its not more difficult than using shared hosting (except for setting up your domain name). – Ari Sep 4 '12 at 16:15
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    @Ari: IMHO another advantage of using a standard cPanel hosting provider is that in case you need help in fixing something you will find many articles on the web that you can use along with the hoster helpdesk, when using stuff like AppFog/PhpFog you will find no hint on the web, so you have to rely only on the vendor helpdesk. – Marco Demaio Sep 4 '12 at 18:44

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