Bitnami recently released the instructions for setting up your own Moodle using Amazon Web Services, a scalable, cheap cloud hosting environment for websites and apps. If you’re looking for Moodle 2.2 and want a test/dev or even a production site this might be worth looking into. Monthly hosting starts at around $15 per month for the smallest server foot print (32 bit Linux, 600MB, 2 cores and 2GB of space) and you can even map your own URL to the site*.
To get started I first read through the documentation at Bitnami, including their tutorial for setting up the service within Amazon (if you don’t have an Amazon Web Services you’ll need to register, it’s free to sign up but you’ll need a credit card on file to get started).
The first thing you’ll need to do is follow the instructions to create your EC2 using the Bitnami one-click Amazon Machine Images (this will upload the necessary information to the EC2 area of your site. I used the EBS 32-bit version of Moodle 2.2 for Ubuntu. You’ll also want to save the Moodle.template file to your desktop for later during the setup process.
Once the EC2 is set up you’ll need the Key Pair to start a new stack using Cloud Formation.
Following this tutorial you should have enough info to get the stack started and Moodle running: http://wiki.bitnami.org/cloud/Cloud_Formation_Getting_Started.
At the end you’ll have a Moodle instance up and running and accessible on the web. Login as admin, change the theme and voila. Moodle in the cloud for around $15/mo.
I was able to get the cloud version up and running but opted to use Bitnami’s Cloud Services to host my regular account (I’m interested in a higher level of hand-holding and the step by step was much easier to follow). The Bitnami version of the hosting is comparable in price but I also have FTP access to edit files and upload themes, mods, and other addons and the end resulting URL is much more manageable [http://slmoodle.bitnamiapp.com/moodle/].
*That is a little more technical and not covered here.