Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched a new service called Amazon Lightsail. Amazon Lightsail is a flat-rate, low-cost computing solution with easy setup and low maintenance. In the server hosting world, these systems are known as Virtual Private Servers (VPS).
Lightsail is designed to be the easiest way to launch and manage a virtual private server with AWS. Lightsail plans include everything you need to jumpstart your project – a virtual machine, SSD-based storage, data transfer, DNS management, and a static IP – for a low, predictable price.
In this post, I will show you how to set up an Amazon Lightsail instance and we’ll talk about why Amazon decided to get into the VPS market.
Amazon Lightsail: Setting up your first instance
Setting up a Lightsail VPS is fairly straightforward. The Lightsail website can be accessed from the AWS console.
There is also an option to create servers from one of the base images. These images provide applications bundled with an operating system so you don’t have to install them manually:
We are not using any launch scripts:
Note that if you want Lightsail to create the SSH key for the instance, you can download the private key only once. You can also upload the public part of an existing SSH key, and Lightsail assumes that you have access to the private key.
We also chose to assign our server 4 GB of RAM, 2 vCPU, and a 60 GB SSD disk with a monthly data transfer rate of 4 TB. The instance will cost is $40 per month (USD). We have named our instance “Amazon_Linux-4GB-London-1”:
It takes less than a minute to provision the server, and it will also be assigned a public IP address. Clicking on the three vertical dots on the instance resource will open a menu from where we can stop, restart, delete, connect to, or manage the instance:
The connect option will open a new browser window with SSH access, as shown below:
Selecting Manage from the menu or clicking on the instance name in the dashboard will take us to a different screen:
Clicking on “Connect using SSH” will again open the separate SSH screen in the browser. Most users would want to access the instance with a terminal program like PuTTy or from the OS command prompt. Other tabs of the instance’s property page are used for different purposes:
- Metrics: The performance metrics for Lightsail instances are the same as those available for EC2, only fewer in number. As with CloudWatch metrics, these are available for up to two weeks. The metrics include:
- CPU Utilization (%)
- NetworkIn (incoming bytes received by all network interfaces)
- NetworkOut (outgoing bytes sent by all network interfaces)
- StausCheckFailed_Instance (if the instance VM itself failed AWS connectivity tests)
- StatusCheckFailed_System (if the host containing the instance has a failure)
- StatsuCheckFailed (a combination of StausCheckFailed_Instance and StatusCheckFailed_System)
- Networking: From here, you can check the public and private IP addresses of the instance. As with EC2, rebooting the instance will assign it a new public IP. You can also assign a static IP to the instance.
Users can also create firewall rules for the instance from the Networking tab.
Snapshot: For virtual servers, snapshots are like a “point in time” copy of the entire instance. This is a common feature in all virtual server environments and Lightsail is no exception. Users can create snapshots of their Lightsail instance from this tab. Snapshots are available even after an instance has been terminated, so you can also recreate the instance later.
Amazon Lightsail to be a cheap, user-friendly platform that allows you to rapidly set up infrastructure and deploy applications.