This is a venting post, not an actual comparison

For people looking to spin up a VM that can be used outside of their home networks, there’s several free offers out there, including major names like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Alibaba. Personally I’d rank them like this:

  1. Great tier: Google Cloud Platform, $300 trial credit for 12 months, reasonable pricing. Realistically you’ll probably get around 10 months out of your trial if you provision your VM correctly). UI is a bit confusing but overall usable.
    Very transparent about pricing, even has a toast message showing your remaining fund and trial period. Doesn’t charge you a cent after your trial period ends, it just turns off your VM(s).
  2. Meh tier: Microsoft Azure, $200 trial credit for 12 months, worse pricing. While 200 doesn’t seem to be that much worse than Google’s offering, in reality it is a LOT less due to the higher pricing of VM provisioning. I burned through that $200 in around 3 months. The UI is more intuitive than GCP though.
    Less transparent about your trial period than GCP, but still doesn’t charge you a cent after your trial period ends, it just turns off your VM(s).
    Alibaba cloud is somewhat similar, I haven’t used it that much to have a solid opinion, but on paper it should be on par with Azure. Will update later.
  3. Trash tier: Amazon Web Service. Shitty UI, took me longer than all other services when it come to spinning up a VM, and even when it’s up and running, configuring networking to connect to it was challenging. I gave up after a few days of trying, and then kind of forgot about it. When I come back after a year, I was surprised to see my account suspended for ‘unpaid bills’. And check this out:
Amazon quietly put a massive charge on your account when you aren’t even using your EC instance

No surprise there, having dealt with Amazon before as a student, I am positive this is a government sanctioned scam organization. Avoid Amazon at all cost!