WordPress On AWS Lightsail

I came across AWS Lightsail while writing a prior article about WordPress hosting and decided to see if Amazon offered anything new in the space. Sure enough, they did.   The Lightsail project looks like it is meant to make it far easier for a tech novice to spin up a fully functional web service on the Amazon AWS stack.    That could be nice since AWS has proven to be resilient and high performance for many web applications.

Here is what I learned in my first foray into this service.

Easily spin up WordPress or other apps

It looks like a one-click install, but note that this is an server image “powered by Bitnami” and sold by “Bitrock Inc.” so there is a middle-man in between you and Amazon AWS.    Let’s see what this is about.

The AWS Marketplace “fineprint”

Looking into the details you find that the service is sold by Bitnami.   This particular instance is on the Free Tier, an intro level for most AWS services that works well if you are “just trying things out”.  Note the “Typical Total Price” as well.  $0.067/hr which will likely come into play at some point.   That is $1.608 per day that you keep the server running or $48.24/30-day-month.

Looking deeper you’ll find that the WordPress install costs NOTHING on top of the standard Amazon EC2 instance fees and storage fees.  You only need to pick a properly-sized instance tier.

The M3 instance

You can also see that it will run on the m3.medium instance.  This is the older Amazon EC2 instance type — not available today.

m3.medium is an outdated instance type.   It falls under the “fixed performance general use” model.  Today you’d likely run this on a T2 “burstable performance general use” model — the t2.medium being the closest equivalent.   The fixed performance closest option is the m4.large option though the recommend the M5.large (of course they do).

m3.medium ($0.067/hr)  – 1vCPU, 3.75GiB RAM, 1x410GB Disc

t2.medium ($0.0464/hr + $0.256/hr = $0.072/hr) – 2 vCPU, 4GiB RAM, EBS storage

m4.large ($0.096/hr+ $0.256/hr = $0.1216/hr ) –  2vCPU, 8GiB RAM, EBS storage

m5.large($0.1/hr + $0.256/hr = $0.356/hr ) – 2vCPU, 8GiB RAM, EBS storage

With the newer instance types you’d need an EC2 instance PLUS and EBS store (the number after the + above).   A typical WordPress site does not need 410GB.  Usually 10GB is more than enough.   Prices are $0.10 per GB for General Purpose SSD volumes and $0.045 for EBS throughput HDD volumes (I’d not use Cold HDD for this).    Prices are monthly or 720h worth of storage — a 410GB drive would cost $41/month ($0.057/hr) on SSD or $18.45/month ($0.025625/hr) for HDD.

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