19. April 2017 01:36
by Aaron Medacco

Simple Web Hosting w/ AWS Lightsail

19. April 2017 01:36 by Aaron Medacco | 0 Comments

What if you just want to host a WordPress blog or a simple website on AWS?

Maybe you don't want to learn all the tools necessary to configure your cloud environment from scratch. Perhaps your a business owner or a web designer who knows enough to get a site running on GoDaddy, but got overwhelmed with this when you created an AWS account:

AWS Management Console

Note: The list of services actually keep going, but this is all I could fit in a barely readable image.

Amazon Web Services has recently released AWS Lightsail to service this type of customer. Many hosting providers like WinHost, GoDaddy, BlueHost, etc. offer cheap hosting packages that allow you to get a simple website running quickly. They typically come with their own management console or control panel for users to manage items like DNS, domains, billing, SSL certificates, email, etc. AWS Lightsail offers a similar experience, where setup is fast, easy, and cheap. In other words, you won't have to hire an AWS expert or sink your time learning about Amazon Web Services in order to get up and running. The key to Lightsail is simplicity, to not be overwhelmed by the flexibility and options thrown at you when setting up your environment in AWS.

For example, I was able to get a minimal WordPress environment running within a few clicks:

AWS Lightsail Console

If you're used to most hosting provider consoles, this should look pretty familiar. You can see how Amazon has peeled back the complexity of the normal AWS management console in order to make Lightsail more accessible for the "less" technically-minded customer (newbs). Readers who are familiar with Amazon Web Services will identify how items like security groups and elastic IPs are presented differently in Lightsail's simplified user interface. 

For those that are curious, it appears the instances running within Lightsail are EC2 instances of the t2 instance family under the covers. Resources provisioned with Lightsail do not appear in the normal AWS management console. At the time of this writing, it does not appear that you can "graduate" your Lightsail environment to normal AWS, however I believe this will be a common customer request so it may become an option in the future. Instance-level firewalls (security groups), DNS, monitoring, static (elastic) IPs, and volume snapshots can all be leveraged within AWS Lightsail. However, you should think of AWS Lightsail as AWS Lite. You're not going to have all of the options available that you would normally within AWS, but the intern you hired from the local community college to make your website might be able to figure it out.

If you're interested in this service, check out Jeff Barr's launch post where he shows how easy it is to get started with AWS Lightsail.


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