Amazon Lightsail

Lightsail is an easy-to-use cloud platform that provides developers compute, storage, and networking capacity and capabilities to deploy and manage websites, web applications, and databases in the cloud. Lightsail includes everything customers need to launch their project quickly – a virtual machine, a managed database, SSD-based storage, data transfer, DNS management, and a static IP.

  • AWS Lightsail scales out applications or websites over time and improves its availability and redundancy by adding other Lightsail resources, like load balancers, attached block storage and managed databases.
  • Lightsail is ideal for simpler workloads, quick deployments, and getting started on AWS. It’s designed to start small, and then scale to grow. As their project grows, customers can use load balancers and attached block storage with their instance to increase redundancy and uptime and access dozens of other AWS services to add new capabilities.
  • Customers can create preconfigured virtual private instances that include everything to easily deploy and manage your application, or create databases for which the security and health of the underlying infrastructure and operating system is managed by Lightsail.
  • Using Lightsail AWS customers can run websites, web applications, business software, blogs, e-commerce sites, and more.

Lightsail Features

Lightsail offers virtual instances that are easy to set up and backed by the power and reliability of AWS. 

  • Lightsail enables customers click-to-launch a simple operating system (OS), a pre-configured application, or development stack – such as WordPress, Windows, Plesk, LAMP, Nginx, and more.

Lightsail managed databases enable customers to scale their databases independently of their virtual servers, that improve the availability of their applications, or run standalone databases in the cloud. 

  • Customers can deploy multi-tiered applications, all within Lightsail, by creating multiple instances that are connected to a central managed database, and a load balancer that directs traffic to the instances.
  • Lightsail managed database plans bundle together memory, processing, storage, and transfer allowance into a single, predictable monthly price.

Lightsail’s simplified load balancing routes web traffic across instances so that customers  websites and applications can accommodate variations in traffic, be better protected from outages, and deliver a seamless experience to their visitors.

  • Lightsail load balancers include integrated certificate management, providing free SSL/TLS certificates that can be provisioned and added to a load balancer in just a few clicks. 
    • Customers can request and manage certificates directly from the Lightsail console – and AWS manage renewals on their behalf.

Amazon Lightsail uses a focused set of features like instances, managed databases and load balancers to make it easier to get started. 

  • Customers can integrate their Lightsail project with some of the 90+ other services in AWS through Amazon VPC peering.
  • Customers are able to manage the services in AWS using the AWS management console, while still keeping their day-to-day management in the Lightsail console.

Lightsail Advantages

Burstable 

Lightsail instances are specifically engineered based on AWS for web servers, developer environments, and other database use cases. Such workloads don’t use the full CPU often or consistently, but occasionally need a performance burst. Lightsail uses burstable performance instances that provide a baseline level of CPU performance with the additional ability to burst above the baseline. 

  • This design enables customers to get the performance they need, when they need it, while protecting them from the variable performance or other common side effects that might typically experience from over-subscription in other environments.

1-click connection

Lightsail offers a 1-click secure connection to customers’ instance’s terminal right from their  home browser. It supports SSH access for Linux/Unix-based instances and RDP access for Windows-based instances. 

  • To use 1-click connections, all customers nee launch the instance management screens, click Connect using SSH or Connect using RDP, and a new browser window opens and automatically connects to your instance.
  • For those who prefer to use Linux/Unix-based instances using their own client, Lightsail will do the SSH key storing and management work for them, and provide them with a secure key to use in your SSH client.

Lightsail IP Addresses 

Each Lightsail instance automatically gets a private IP address and a public IP address. AWS Lightsail customers can use the private IP to transmit data between Lightsail instances and AWS resources privately, and they can use the public IP to connect to their instance from the Internet through a registered domain name or through an SSH or RDP connection local computer. 

  • They are able to attach a static IP to the instance, which substitutes the public IP with an IP address that doesn’t change even if the instance is 
  • A public IP (fixed IP Address) is dedicated to AWS clients Lightsail account. Customers can assign a static IP to an instance, replacing its public IP. stopped and started.

Supported operating systems

Lightsail offers a range of operating systems and application templates that are automatically installed when a new Lightsail instance is created. The Application templates include WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, Ghost, Magento, Redmine, LAMP, Nginx (LEMP), MEAN, Node.js, Django, and more.

  • Customers are able to install additional software on their instances by using the in-browser SSH or their own SSH client.

Lightsail Instances

A Lightsail instance is a virtual private server (VPS) that lives in the AWS Cloud. Using AWS Lightsail instances to store customers data, run your code, and build web-based applications or websites. AWS customers instances can connect to each other and to other AWS resources through both public (internet) and private (VPC) networking, and they can create, manage, and connect easily to instances right from the Lightsail console.

Software

Lightsail offers a range of operating system and application templates that are automatically installed when clients create a new Lightsail instance. Application templates include WordPress, WordPress Multisite, Django, Drupal, Ghost, Joomla!, Magento, Redmine, LAMP, Nginx (LEMP), MEAN, and Node.js.

  • AWS customers can install additional software on their instances by using the in-browser SSH or their own SSH client.

Burstable Instances

On the CPU utilization metric graphs for customers instance, there is a sustainable zone, and a burstable zone. Lightsail instance can operate in the sustainable zone indefinitely with no impact to the operation of the system. The instance may begin operating in the burstable zone when under heavy load. While operating in the burstable zone the instance is consuming a higher amount of CPU cycles. Therefore, it can only operate in this zone for a limited period of time.

Burstable Instances

A snapshot contains all of the data that is needed to restore your resource (from the moment when the snapshot was taken). If customers want to back up their data, they can use the Lightsail console or API to create a manual snapshot of their instance, or enable automatic snapshots to have Lightsail create daily snapshots for them. If there is a failure or bad code deployment, they can later use their instance snapshot to create a brand new instance. When the customers restore a resource by creating it from a snapshot, the new resource begins as an exact replica of the original resource that was used to create the snapshot. Instance and block storage disk snapshots can be copied from one Amazon Web Services (AWS) Region to another within the same Lightsail account. Database snapshots cannot be copied between regions.  

Lightsail plan

Also referred to as a bundle, a Lightsail plan includes a virtual server with a fixed amount of memory (RAM) and compute (vCPUs), SSD-based storage (disks), and a free data transfer allowance. Lightsail plans also offer static IP addresses (5 per account) and DNS management (3 domain zones per account). Lightsail plans are charged on an hourly, on-demand basis, so you only pay for a plan when you’re using it.

Instances performance

Lightsail instances are specifically engineered by AWS for web servers, developer environments, and small database use cases. Such workloads don’t use the full CPU often or consistently, but occasionally need a performance burst. Lightsail uses burstable performance instances that provide a baseline level of CPU performance with the additional ability to burst above the baseline. This design enables customers to get the performance they need, when they need it, while protecting their from the variable performance or other common side effects that customers might typically experience from over-subscription in other environments.

One-click connection

Lightsail offers a 1-click secure connection to customers instance’s terminal right from their browser, supporting SSH access for Linux/Unix-based instances and RDP access for Windows-based instances. To use 1-click connections, launch the instance management screens, choose Connect using SSH or Connect using RDP, and a new browser window opens and automatically connects to the customer instance.

If customers prefer to connect to their Linux/Unix-based instance using their own client, Lightsail will do the SSH key storing and management work for them, and provide them with a secure key to use in their SSH client.

Lightsail Components

Lightsail Databases

Lightsail managed databases are instances that are dedicated to running databases, instead of other workloads like web servers, mail servers, etc. A managed database can contain multiple user-created databases, and AWS customers can access it by using the same tools and applications that they use with a stand-alone database. Lightsail maintains the security and health of their database’s underlying infrastructure and operating system, so that customers can run a database without deep expertise in infrastructure management.

  • Lightsail managed databases come with a fixed amount of memory, computing power, and SSD based storage in their plans.
  • Lightsail will automatically install and configure your chosen database for you upon creation.
  • Lightsail managed databases provide an easy, low maintenance way to store your data in the cloud. AWS customers can run managed databases either as a new database or by migrating from an existing on-premises or hosted database to Lightsail.
  • Lightsail managed databases support the latest major versions of MySQL. Currently, these versions are MySQL 5.6, 5.7, and 8.0. Lightsail only provides the latest minor version for each major version option.

Block Storage

Lightsail block storage provides additional storage volumes (called “attached disks” in Lightsail) that customers can attach to your Lightsail instance, similar to an individual hard drive. Attached disks are useful for applications or software that need to separate out specific data from their core service and to protect application data in case of a failure or other issue with their instance and system disk. Attached disks offers consistent performance and low latency needed for applications or software that frequently access their stored data.

Lightsail block storage disks use solid-state drives (SSD). This type of block storage balances a low price and good performance and is intended to support the vast majority of workloads that run on Lightsail. For customers with applications that require sustained IOPS performance, high amounts of throughput per disk, or that are running large databases like MongoDB, Cassandra, etc., we recommend using Amazon EC2 with GP2 or Provisioned IOPS SSD storage instead of Lightsail.

Lightsail block storage is designed to be highly available and reliable. Each attached disk is automatically replicated within its Availability Zone to protect customers from component failure. Lightsail block storage disks are designed for 99.99% availability. Lightsail also supports disk snapshots to allow regular backups of customers data.

Load balancers

Lightsail load balancers allow customers to build highly available websites and applications. By distributing traffic across instances in different Availability Zones and pointing traffic to only healthy target instances, Lightsail load balancers reduce the risk of their application going down due to an issue with their instance or to a datacenter outage. With Lightsail load balancers and multiple target instances, website or application can also accommodate increases in web traffic and maintain good performance for visitors during peak load times.

Lightsail load balancers scale automatically to handle traffic spikes without manually adjust them. If the application experiences a transient spike in traffic, the Lightsail load balancer will automatically scale and continue to efficiently direct traffic to customers Lightsail instances. 

  • Lightsail supports adding instances as target instances for more than one load balancer, if desired.
  • Session persistence enables the load balancer to bind a visitor’s session to a specific target instance. This ensures that all requests from the user during the session are sent to the same target instance. 
  • Lightsail load balancers support HTTP and HTTPS connections.
  • Lightsail load balancers direct traffic to your healthy target instances based on a round robin algorithm.

Networking

Each Lightsail instance automatically gets a private IP address and a public IP address. AWS Lightsail customers can use the private IP to transmit data between Lightsail instances and AWS resources privately, for free. They can use the public IP to connect to the instance from the Internet, such as through a registered domain name or through an SSH or RDP connection from local computer. Customers can also attach a static IP to the instance, which substitutes the public IP with an IP address that doesn’t change even if the instance is stopped and started.

  • static IP is a fixed, public IP that is dedicated to customers Lightsail account. AWS customers can assign a static IP to an instance, replacing its public IP. 
  • DNS is a globally distributed service that translates human readable names like www.example.com into numeric IP addresses, like 192.0.2.1 that computers use to connect to each other.
  • It’s important to know that to use a domain in Lightsail, customers need to register it. They can do so that by registering a new domains using Route 53, or your preferred DNS registrar.

Launching Wordpress on Lightsail

Using Amazon Lightsail, AWS customers can launch a WordPress site on a virtual private server with a few clicks. the VPS will launch in minutes with WordPress installed and optimized for high performance and security.

  • Manage all your sites from one console
  • Backup your sites with snapshotting
  • Track server metrics and performance
  • Set up your domain records
  • Access your server via SSH with one-click
  • Add resources easily as your site grows
 

 

Creating Lightsail Load Balancer

Lightsail’s simplified load balancing routes web traffic across Lightsail instances so that customers websites and applications can accommodate variations in traffic, be better protected from outages, and deliver a seamless experience to their visitors – all at the predictable price of $18 USD a month.

  • Lightsail load balancer also includes integrated certificate management, providing free SSL/TLS certificates that can be provisioned and added to load balancers with just a few clicks. 
  • Lightsail load balancers scale to support variable web traffic.
  • Build highly available applications and websites by deploying target instances across multiple Availability zones.
  • Load balancers automatically check the health of target instances and distribute traffic to healthy target instances only.
  • Create load balancers, add and monitor target instances, and manage certificates in one place with the Lightsail console or CLI.

 

Redirecting traffic to HTTPS

Amazon Lightsail makes it easy to secure your websites and applications with SSL/TLS using Lightsail load balancers. However, using a Lightsail load balancer might not generally be the right choice. Perhaps your site doesn’t need the scalability or fault tolerance load balancers provide, or maybe you’re optimizing for cost.

Using Let’s Encrypt to obtain a free SSL certificate. You can integrate those certificates with Lightsail instances. This tutorial shows you how to request a Let’s Encrypt wildcard certificate using Certbot, and integrate it with your WordPress instance using the Really Simple SSL plugin.