AWS LightSail – VPS and Web hosting in AWS

4 min read

Cloud adoption is growing over time definitely for good reason. AWS is the leader among the cloud service providers. The ecosystem of AWS is massive and rapidly growing.

The companies offer us cloud services in many different models: SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, FaaS, BaaS and so on. AWS LightSail is a VPS(Virtual Private Server) and Web hosting service offered by AWS.

AWS offers LightSail with different services.

Instances: You can launch a virtual machine with only OS installed and then configure the instance for your need. LightSail also offer PaaS(Platform as a Service). You can launch an instance where platform is ready with installed packages and dependencies. You can simply deploy your application. You have full control to the instance and you can do whatever you need by login into your instance.

For example, you can launch an Ubuntu instance, configure the instance from scratch as per your requirement. Or you can launch a WordPress instance where WordPress is already installed and configured. You just need to launch the instance and configure your WordPress site and you are ready to go!

Container: The next service offered by LightSail is container service. You can launch a computing environment to run your favorite container. You can choose resources(CPU, memory etc) for your environment and the price will be based on that. Then you can create launch configuration by specifying the image, launch script, environment variables etc. to run your container. The price comes with per node capacity per month. So you can figure out how much price you need to pay each month.

Databases: LightSail comes with managed database services for MySQL and Postgres. It offers database service in two mode: Standard and High availability. Standard database is created in single zone where High Availability database is created in multiple zones. You can choose resource capacity(CPU, RAM, Storage) based on your need. The price also varies based on the service type you select and resource capacity you chose. Like other services, database price comes per month basic.

Networking & Security: LightSail has basic networking support for static IP, DNS Zone, load balancer and content distribution. It provides a built-in firewall where you can filter inbound and outbound requests for your instances. It provides a simple alert feature where you can configure alert if some threshold is exceeded at some point in time. For example, you can configure alert to receive email with condition – if CPU usage gets higher and exceed certain threshold(40%) 2 times in last 30 minutes. Once this alert is active, you will receive notification when alert condition is met.

Storage & Backup: For storage, there are two kind of storage LightSail offers: Bucket storage and Disk Storage. You can choose your storage based on your need. Take snapshot of your instances and databases to keep it safe and restore anytime.

Limitations: You can create very limited number of instances(currently 20 per account), 5 total static IPs, 3 DNS zones, 20 TB of attached blocked storage and 5 load balancers etc. You cannot scale your instance unlimited or beyond certain limit and there are not many scaling options available when using LightSail that you get while using EC2.

You cannot utilize the whole AWS ecosystem from the lightsail instance for many of the services. Lightsail has very limited or no support for many AWS services. Personally I find lightsail to be very useful for a new project where performance or scalability does not matter a lot. Since it is based on monthly fixed price, you can calculate your monthly spend easily.

LightSail offers 3 month free for some instance types and database types. You can launch your instance or create database, do some experiment for up-to 3 months with no cost at all.

Want to give it a try?

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