It looks like Amazon Web Services is moving into the hosting market. They’ve set up something called reserved instances. Essentially you pay a one time fee and then get a significantly lower hourly usage rate ($0.03/hour as opposed to $0.10/hour).
When Amazon first came out, it wasn’t cost effective for me to host my website there (in truth it still isn’t cause I have a friend that gives me a deal). But now it is; Reuven Cohen over at Cloud Interoperability Magazine writes:
In doing the math, @ $0.03 a hour, a small reserved EC2 instance will cost you about $262 a year for the uptime, and $325 for the reservation or about $48 dollars a month. Compared to about $876 a year or $73 a month using an on demand instance (not including storage and bandwidth).
Like I said, its still not cheaper for me, but the thought of being able to do whatever crazy scheme I want on a server sure is enticing.
So if you hate your hosting provider (I hear lots of people whining about Dreamhost), perhaps you should consider switching.