Amazon Lightsail is an easy-to-use cloud platform that offers you everything needed to build an application or website, on a cost-effective, monthly plan. Lightsail is ideal for simpler workloads, quick deployments, and getting started on Amazon Web Services. It will help you start small, and then scale as you grow.

Lightsail derives its computing power from Amazon EC2, repackaged in a simple, intuitive interface that makes it easy to set up a virtual server, even for a complete novice. Lightsail comes with numerous pre-configured options, so you don’t need to worry about complicated server settings. You can be up and running in minutes and start focusing on building your website right away.

Although Lightsail offers both Linux and Windows servers, we’re going to discuss setting up a Linux virtual private server. Linux/Unix is the most popular option for running a website, and you don’t need to know anything about Linux. Unless you have a compelling reason to do so, such as running applications built on Microsoft’s .NET Framework, you are likely to be well-served with a Linux host.

For this article, we’re going to assume that you already have an AWS account. If you don’t have one, you can create an AWS account for free. Amazon also publishes information on how to create and activate a new AWS account.

Set up a WordPress instance

Create instance

  1. Visit lightsail.aws.amazon.com.
  2. Click Create instance.
  3. The Instance location is where your server will be. It should default to the area nearest you, which is usually the most appropriate choice. If you want to host your server in a different location, choose Change AWS Region and Availability Zone to select from other places worldwide. We recommend choosing the server location nearest you since this is probably where most of your web traffic will be. If you need increased performance elsewhere in the world, you can set up load balancers in different geographic locations later on, but note that each load balancer incurs additional costs.
  4. Under Pick your instance image > Select a platform choose Linux/Unix.
  5. Under Pick your instance image > Select a blueprint ensure the App+OS option is active and choose WordPress.
  6. Regardless of your backup plans, it’s a great idea to activate the Enable automatic snapshots option. With automatic snapshots, Lightsail will automatically take a daily backup for you at a time you specify. Lightsail keeps the seven most recent snapshots, so you can rest easy knowing that you’ll have a full weeks’ worth of backup history. Use snapshots to restore your instance to a previous state or to create multiple new ones that are replicas of the original. Enabling the feature is free, but you pay for the storage of your snapshots on Lightsail at very reasonable rates. Lightsail also optimises your snapshot storage so that for each consecutive backup, you’re charged only for the data that’s changed from the previous one.
  7. If you choose Enable automatic snapshots, select a time and timezone for the daily backup. We suggest you choose a time when you think traffic will be at its lowest, such as 03:00.
  8. Select an Instance plan. Amazon Lightsail offers a variety of plans to meet different needs. For a simple WordPress site, the smallest should be just fine. If you’re running a WordPress site with many plugins or complicated themes, then a 1GB or 2GB plan may be preferable, so you can increase the WordPress memory limit for optimal performance. If you’re not sure, select the most basic one – you can create a replica instance on a larger plan at any time, then remove the smaller one. Note that you can not restore a snapshot from a larger plan to a smaller one because the disk image is already too large. If you want to go back to a cheaper option, you’ll need to restore your WordPress site manually to the smaller instance – plugins such as All-in-One WP Migration are excellent for this.
  9. In Identify your instance enter a name using only letters, numbers, hyphens and underscores. We suggest using a name like MyBusinessName-512MB-Sydney-ZoneA-001 which is:
    1. Your website/business name
    2. Instance plan memory size
    3. Location and Zone
    4. A sequential number (this is useful for clearly differentiating between multiple instances)
  10. Click Create instance.

It will take a short while for your instance to build. When it’s ready, it will show a status of Running.

Create Static IP

Your instance will have a Private IP used to communicate securely with other Amazon resources over a private network. It is also assigned a Public IP which makes your website accessible over the Internet. However, the Public IP will change every time you restart the instance. To ensure that your site is always available at the same IP address, you need to allocate a Static IP address. A Static IP is free of charge as long as it is attached to an instance.

  1. Go to the Networking tab.
  2. Choose Create Static IP.
  3. Verify that the Static IP location matches the AWS Region and Availability Zone you selected when creating your instance, or choose Change AWS Region and Availability Zone to correct it.
  4. In Attach to an instance, select the instance name you created earlier.
  5. Give the Static IP a suitable name. We suggest using a name like BusinessName-StaticIP-1, which is:
    1. Your website/business name
    2. The words “StaticIP” to identify what this object is
    3. A sequential number (an instance can have up to 5 IP addresses)
  6. Click Create.
  7. Note the Public IP address for later reference in steps below.
  8. Click Home.

Obtain password

  1. Go to the Instances tab.
  2. Select your instance.
  3. Click Connect using SSH to connect to the server using Lightsail’s built-in SSH web interface.
  4. Type cat bitnami_application_password and hit return.
  5. Copy the password shown.
  6. Type exit and hit return to close the SSH connection.
  7. Close the SSH window.

Connect to WordPress

  1. In a web browser, visit your new WordPress website at your Public IP address with /wp-admin added to the end.  For example, if your Public IP address is 1.234.567.890 then you would visit 1.234.567.890/wp-admin in your web browser.
  2. Log in as username user with the bitnami_application_password obtained in the previous section.

You’re now ready to start configuring and building your new WordPress site.