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How to launch a WordPress website on Amazon Web Services (AWS) using AWS LightSail

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Ever considered launching your own personal website or blog? Consider learning WordPress. It is a great tool that allows people with minimal technical experience to build, maintain and scale fully responsive websites on your own. WordPress is a free open source software written using PHP that lets users add thousands of plugins depending on your needs. Many incredible websites such as techcrunch.comsonymusic.combbcamerica.com and blog.ted.com are built using this powerful tool.

WordPress requires a hosting service (compute power linked to the internet) to enable users around the world access its content. An extremely simple way of hosting a WordPress website is though a hosting provider such as ventraip.com.au and digitalpacific.com.au, right here in Australia. However, they lack the scalability and provides minimal control of the compute resources to the user. This is where AWS LightSail steps in.

With Amazon LightSail, you can launch a WordPress site on AWS which is extremely scalable to millions of users within seconds. This article aims to provide all the necessary material needed to launch your own WordPress website together with AWS LightSail.

Setting Up a Budget

Before getting started I recommend you to setup a budget to ensure that you spend only a comfortable amount monthly. Furthermore, when you create a budget, AWS Budgets provides a Cost Explorer graph to help you see your incurred costs and usage. You can follow the following steps in the link to create a basic monthly budget. I setup my budget to be a $10 monthly “Cost Budget”. https://docs.aws.amazon.com/awsaccountbilling/latest/aboutv2/budgets-create.html

Launching a LightSail Instance

The link below will guide you on how to launch the AWS LightSail instance. It includes steps to connect to your instance by using SSH, sign in to your WordPress website, create a static IP and attaching it to your instance, and create a DNS zone and mapping your domain. https://lightsail.aws.amazon.com/ls/docs/en_us/articles/amazon-lightsail-tutorial-launching-and-configuring-wordpress

Obtaining a free SSL certificate for your website

SSL certificates enables websites to move from HTTP to HTTPS, which is more secure. SSL certificates make SSL/TLS encryption possible, and they contain the website’s public key and the website’s identity, along with related information. An SSL is essential to any website as your website could be flagged by web filters or anti virus guard as being malicious if a SSL certificate has not been issued for the website. Follow the directions on the link below to obtain a free SSL certificate for your AWS LightSail WordPress instance. https://lightsail.aws.amazon.com/ls/docs/en_us/articles/amazon-lightsail-using-lets-encrypt-certificates-with-wordpress

Testing website performance using GTMetrics

With GTmetrix, you enter in your site’s URL and GTmetrix will show your websites current performance metrics, along with scores, recommendations, and analysis tools to help you optimise your site’s performance. Website performance metrics sites such as GTmetrix will be critical when scaling your website to ensure quick load speeds and great user experience. https://www.gtmetrix.com/

Conclusion

Using AWS LightSail, you can create a WordPress website even if you have no previous AWS experience. However, there’s no such thing as a perfect hosting provider, there are some drawbacks even with using LightSail such as not having a free email address associated with your hosting and not having a fixed monthly cost. If LightSail doesn’t meet all your requirements, you can simply opt to go with a traditional hosting provider such as ventraip.com.auau.godaddy.com or digitalpacific.com.au.

 

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