Amazon Lightsail is essentially AWS simplified making it extremely quick & easy to get your infrastructure deployed into the AWS Cloud Platform.
If you have used AWS to any extent you will know that it is powerful Infrastructure As A Service (IaaS) platform that can do anything from deploying a Virtual Server right up to deploying an entire Virtual Datacenter for an Enterprise Business.
As a result, the setup of an AWS Environment can seem quite complex and intimidating if you’re just getting into AWS. Lightsail removes a lot of the complexity and gives you a very simple interface to the most common usages of AWS for basic users.
It’s worth taking a moment to say that for complex infrastructures Lightsail isn’t going to be for you but if like me who has a simple setup for a WordPress site and Email then Lightsail could be the ideal solution for you.
When you first log in to Lightsail you’re going to notice that all but 5 of the AWS Services are not present, giving you a very clean, easy to understand interface.
If you just want a server to host a website, application or even a simple email server this is all you are going to need. You can use the standard AWS Platform to do this but it requires a little more in-depth knowledge of the platform. This post isn’t a walk though so I’m not going to go into to much detail here, however, I am going to make some simple comparisons.
Let’s start with pricing as that’s something we all need to consider when planning to deploy any infrastructure for a project.
Lightsail gives you a set of specifications for an Instance called an Instance Plan. This includes the Price, RAM, CPUs, Storage & Transfer. You simply pick the instance size needed for your project and away you go.
As with all AWS Charges they are billed hourly which means if you need an instance to test something for a couple of hours you will only be charged for the time the instance was up.
The difference here is that the prices are capped so you know that if you want a $20 instance your bill at the end of the month will be $20. You don’t have to calculate how many hours a month your instance will be up, how much data transfer will cost or how much your storage is going to cost. It’s a simple template that you click and go.
Speaking of click and go, Lightsail gives you a choice of blueprints what can be an Operating System with a pre-installed and configured application or just an Operating System.
You have a good choice of the most common applications and operating systems and if you just want to host your own WordPress blog it’s as simple as clicking the WordPress Blueprint and in a couple of minutes, you will have a server running WordPress.
The last feature I want to look at is the Snapshot Feature. Everybody should know the importance of having a backup and once again this is simplified within Lightsail.
One-click to create a snapshot of your Instance and one checkbox to let Lightsail take a Snapshot once a day and keep 7 of the snapshot available giving you a daily backup. No complex configuration, all that is done in the background, you just get the absolute simplest interface to achieve the goal of creating a daily snapshot.
I think that just about sums up Amazon Lightsail but I just want to mention a couple of things before ending the post.
I have recently moved from using the core AWS Infrastructure to using Lightsail and when I tested it with a simple WordPress install it took about 10 minutes to spin up a WordPress Instance, Attach an External IP and have a daily backup running.
So why did I move? Well, it was quite simply the ease of use. I don’t need the full AWS Experience to the servers I use so why not make life easier. I have things that will need to stay in AWS but my 2 main servers just don’t need it.
As I said at the beginning of the post, Lightsail isn’t going to be for everyone but if you just need some basic infrastructure that easy to configure and maintain then this could be the way forward for you.