The purpose of this post is to get an overview of one of the quickest way to get into the world of AWS Cloud. AWS Lightsail is an introductory way of getting your feet wet in AWS. At TriNimbus, we get a lot of customers that we need to transition from a variety of different environments into AWS. By starting in Lightsail, you are using the AWS infrastructure from the very beginning - so once you get the basics down, the transition to the other offerings of AWS is much smoother.
As your needs grow and your infrastructure becomes more complex, you can take your very solid base that you created in Lightsail and navigate your way through the multitude and continually growing service offerings of AWS.
At re:Invent 2016, AWS announced what we are calling “WordPress As A Service” around the office. Of course the Solution Architects with years of experience were pretty skeptical of the service. Obviously Lightsail is not for them.
But I don’t think that is the target audience for Lightsail. Some people want to become Electrical Engineers and know all of the ins and outs about electricity and then there are others that just want to turn on the switch and get the light. AWS Lightsail is for the latter.
When I first started using AWS I found it a little overwhelming. The advertising on TV and everywhere else made it seem like you just clicked the “Cloud” button and boom your stuff is in the Cloud.
Of course this isn’t the reality when you actually try to do something BUT AWS Lightsail is as close as you can get to an Easy Button Deployment of a Virtual Private Server.
You can have some of the most popular development stacks that exist today up in the Cloud literally in minutes, with just a few clicks.
The way I see it, AWS Lightsail is a great introduction to the AWS Platform without all the complexity. Of course if your blog becomes ridiculously popular and you need to grow, you can start to add in other AWS Services.
Let’s go through the steps.
Obviously Step 1 is click the “Let’s Get Started” Button.
Lightsail uses Bitnami’s implementation of WordPress and it is already pre selected.
Click on the “Create Instance” Button to create your first instance.
Next Select the plan that you want. Since we are just testing it out we will choose the $5/month plan.
As it’s spinning up the instance, it will show the pending wheel as it does all its AWS magic.
Once everything is set up and running, the status will change from pending to running and bingo your new instance is ready for your awesome content.
When you right click on the instance, you are presented with the different things that you can do with the instance. Connect, Manage, Stop, Restart, and Delete.
When you click Connect, you go to the Connect screen. If you’d like, you can create your own SSH key on the account page but by default it uses the default SSH key that it creates for you as part of the startup process.
Click the big orange button that says “Connect using SSH” and it brings up a web based SSH client that automatically connects you into your newly created instance. From there you can manage your content. This gives you quick access to make some quick changes. You can use your favorite SSH Client/Program to manage your content.
You can see how well your system is performing on the Metrics page.
The networking page gives you control over what ports are exposed to the internet. The defaults are SSH, HTTP, and HTTPS
Snapshots are Point In Time Full Backups of your system. It’s always a good idea to make backups. Snapshots make it easy.
If you are just experimenting with the service and you want to tear it down after you’ve had your look around. Deleting an instance is as easy as... hitting the delete button.
We don’t want to delete ours just yet.
And we end with the magic.
Put your ip from your instance into a web browser and view your content.
As you can see we setup a full WordPress stack in less than 30 minutes with just a few clicks.
If you want to take it one step further you can link your IP to your domain with either Route 53 or your current DNS provider and have a WordPress site up and running in AWS for around $5/month or $60/year.
If you are looking to get your feet wet with AWS just to see what this Cloud thing is all about, try giving AWS’s Lightsail a whirl.