Is Amazon a good solution for hosting your WordPress website?

After facing the fact that I need a faster hosting provider, I finally decided to give some of Amazon’s hosting products a try. Amazon has so many web services that it can be a bit overwhelming to start using them, but I decided to give it a try.

The first thing I looked for was the ability to host WordPress websites. After doing some research, I found out that Amazon had just released a program for WordPress. Using their new product “LightSail”, I found that it was actually quite easy to set up and load WordPress. There are also several other popular CMS applications, such as Drupal and Joomla. If you are interested in an ecommerce solution, Magento is also supported.

Lightsail is not for large deployments, but it is easy enough for smaller requirements. Simply put, you sign up, enter your domain name, configure WordPress, configure your DNS zones, map the static IP address that has been assigned to you, and it starts up.

When you are about to launch one of the applications, Amazon refers to them as “instances.” You should select the instance you are interested in (WordPress, Drupal, etc.) and follow the step-by-step instructions.

1. The first thing is to name your instance. If you don’t name it, Lightsail will create a name for it. Amazon works in zones and, in my case, it is usually Virginia. You can change the zone if you want, but I have found it best to leave it in the default zone.

2. You will also choose your instance plan, which is the monthly rate that suits your needs.

3. You can also run other scripts and choose the default SSH key pair or change the key pair. As above, I always stick with the default.

4. Then click create. It takes a couple of minutes and then a page appears with a public IP address and username to connect to the instance. You will need your private key from your Amazon account, so if you don’t have one, you will need to create it.

5. Bitnami is used to connect to the new site. But after you’ve uploaded WordPress, log in exactly the same way with all other hosting companies. Bitnami is quite intuitive and it doesn’t take more than 15-20 minutes to learn how to navigate.

There are also some project guides and videos to help with the installation. According to the WordPress project guide, there are only 5 steps, but it’s actually more like 8 steps.

I uploaded this a few weeks ago so I haven’t had time to fully build it, but I had no problem loading the theme. I am also using an AWS plugin (free) that will copy all media files to Amazon S3 and serve them from S3 Cloudfront. Hopefully this will reduce the loading time of my pages.

It takes some getting used to not having cpanel, but overall I’d say it’s a definite “Yes” to at least trying Amazon’s Lightsail to host your WordPress sites.

Next on Amazon’s agenda? HTML sites.

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