In this Paperspace review (100% uncompensated) I’ll be detailing my experience with it over the 2+ years I’ve been using it, and answering the main questions people have had with it.
(If you’d like to skip straight to the verdict on whether I recommend Paperspace or not, click here)
How I started with Paperspace
I first started using Paperspace in mid-2018 when I wanted to try some different machine learning projects and didn’t have access to my own GPU (an unfortunate necessity given how computationally intensive training machine learning models can be). With Paperspace, you could pay per-hour for accessing machines with GPU’s, and I ended up using them a lot especially in 2018 and 2019. Here’s a snapshot from my Paperspace account showing how much I was being billed:
And a shapshot of just a fraction of emails from Paperspace in my inbox:
Back then Paperspace just offered per-hour billing (currently still offered as “core”), though as of October 1st 2019 they’ve also been offering a whole lot more (“gradient”). I’ll give a rundown of both of these below.
With the per-hour billing in Paperspace’s “core” product, you can start a machine with some given list of specifications, and it’ll be created for you in seconds. Taken from my own account screen, here’s an example of some of the machines they offer with Linux (though they have Windows machines too):
With this, you will be charged ONLY for the time your machine is running (you can turn it off at any time), plus a small monthly fee for storage of everything on your machine (around $5/month or more if you’re storing a lot). In the example above, the most expensive machine costs $1.10/hour or $26.40/day. Paperspace is ethical with its billing in that they send you a heads-up if your machine has been on for a while, in order to make sure you’re aware you’re being billed:
Once you’ve started a machine in Paperspace, don’t forget to turn it off when it’s done doing what you needed it to do!
You should go with Paperspace core if you just have a one-off need to use a machine. If you have some project that requires a GPU and you should be done with it within a day or two, for example, it makes a lot more sense to just get a machine here and pay hourly rather than buying your own machine with a GPU or signing up to any kind of monthly subscription.
Finally, you’ll notice in the screenshot above that some machines are locked out, and for these, you need to request access. But this is very simple: you just have to tell them what you want to use the machine for:
Then you should get approved very shortly:
As long as you explain to Paperspace what you need your machine for, you should be able to use any machine you want.
Introduced on 1st October 2019, Paperspace gradient is a platform for running machine learning projects easier. Here’s basically what is offered:
Pricing for this is cheap, ranging from free, $8/month and $24/month, and it’s definitely worth checking out if any of the features sound useful to you. It’s not at all necessary for you to use it. For myself, I am old-school and prefer to use nothing other than the bare essentials (an FTP program, SSH and the command line) to run machine learning projects on a cloud machine.
Can you use Paperspace for gaming?
I am not a gamer and have not used Paperspace for gaming personally. Therefore, I’m not in a position to say how good Paperspace actually is for gaming, but based on what I’ve read on Reddit and other sources there are plenty of people who have had a great experience using Paperspace + Parsec for gaming (if you’re interested in cloud gaming, check out /r/cloudygaming on Reddit). On the gaming section of Paperspace, they claim there are “over 300,000” gamers on Paperspace. See also this article from Paperspace on how to get started (apparently it is very simple).
Is Paperspace pricing reasonable?
Paperspace core pricing is definitely reasonable, and similar value to any other cloud compute platform (including AWS). It may be hard to do a perfect apples-to-apples comparison because Paperspace machines will not be 100% identical to machines from other providers. However, looking at their GPU-enabled machines, their current per-hour pricing is about what you’d expect to pay anywhere else. To take an example, $0.78/hour for an 8 vCPU, 30GB RAM and 16GB GPU (NVIDIA P5000) is a fair price in my opinion.
Is Paperspace support good?
I have had to contact Paperspace support a couple of times, first regarding having some issue with billing and also once or twice to ask about my machine taking a long time to start up. In both cases Paperspace support was quick and professional, and I expect you’ll be able to get a good response from them within 24 hours to any question.
Are there any Paperspace promo codes?
Use the code SVFTKBC to get $10 free on Paperspace (that is my personal code). I may get some free cloud compute credits with Paperspace if you use that, and so it’s a win-win for both of us if you sign up to Paperspace with that code.
Paperspace vs AWS
AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a monster in the cloud compute space. However, I prefer using the much smaller Paperspace over AWS since it is far simpler in my experience and much easier to get support. Others may disagree with me on this, but with AWS I was always messing around with trying to navigate the interface, confused on what machine or instance I should try to run (there are literally hundreds), running into issues with getting a security key setup or any number of other things. Personally, I thought Paperspace was much easier to get going with: you just sign up for an account, enter your credit card info, start a machine and you’re ready in 5 minutes. AWS was not like that for me. And with Paperspace, support is likewise super-simple and you can expect an email response within 24 hours for any question. With AWS, you’ll probably have to pay for support, and again, it’s not as quick and simple as just filling out a basic support form. Just figuring out how the support system works and signing up for it as you may well need to do for a response to any question will take you longer than it would to submit your support ticket with Paperspace.
I definitely recommend Paperspace, and would not have spent as much time and money with it as I have if it wasn’t a pleasant experience. It’s super-simple to use and you get exactly what you pay for at a reasonable price. Therefore, if you’re looking for a cloud compute provider and have come this far, I see no reason not to go with them.
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