AWS Lightsail WordPress – The compete course
This article is the first in a series about setting up WordPress on AWS Lightsail.
There are a few different options for setting up a WordPress blog, with their own pros and cons. I’ve been blogging since 2008 and I’ve been through so many different services and hosts, and so many problems.
And I’ve spent a lot of money.
Most people start with a free blog on WordPress.com, and quickly outgrow it. Without knowing any better, most people then migrate to a managed hosting platform like SiteGround or Bluehost. At first it seems great. It’s quick and easy to get started, and you set up HTTPS and even a CDN quite quickly.
Then your traffic grows and you start hitting the usage limits.
Then your introductory pricing for the first year runs out and you realise that you’re stuck with a service that is now 4 or 5 times the price and wondering how you can migrate away.
Managed WordPress hosting can end up costing you hundreds and hundreds of pounds/dollars every year, especially if you want more than one site or have modest amounts of traffic. The entry tier pricing for these managed services generally only allows limited traffic, and when you exceed it you’ll be forced to pay up for the premium tier or your site goes offline.
AWS Lightsail came along a few years ago and presented a different model for your WordPress hosting. On AWS you will pay a monthly fee for your WordPress server that is incredibly cheap compared to managed hosting. Then you pay extra charges according to the services you use, like load balancers and CDNs, and according to the amount of traffic that your site gets.
The great thing is that these costs are initially extremely cheap, and they won’t go up until your site starts getting a lot of traffic, and even then, the costs are very reasonable. If you’re new to AWS, in the first year you’ll be on the AWS Free Tier, which will mean your costs are very low indeed.
Your first month on AWS Lightsail WordPress is free.
We’ll look at costs in more detail in the first article in this series.
With a managed WordPress host, you have to pay up front for a certain service level. If you don’t use that capacity, you’re still paying for it. If you exceed that capacity, your site gets throttled or turned off, until you pay even more.
With AWS, you pay for what you use, so while you’re getting started it’s very very cheap. When your site takes off you are in a great position to turn on extra servers, increase the memory and capacity of your server, add load balancers, and ramp up performance so that your site continues to be blazingly quick.
And speed is important. Search engines including Google now consider page loading speed when ranking sites. If you are building a WordPress site for yourself as a hobby and just want cheap, then AWS is a great choice because it is so cheap. If you’re building a blog that you hope will take off and get a lot of traffic then AWS is a great choice because you can achieve very high performance.
Speed counts for SEO these days. Here’s a little saying that I’m quite fond of:
I’m on the first page in Google, therefore I am.
Conversely, if your site doesn’t exist in the first couple of Google search results pages, then it doesn’t really exist at all.
Speed counts. Cost matters.
The reason many people are put off using Lightsail is that it requires a more hands-on involvement in setting up and managing the server. At first glance it can be overwhelming. After all, AWS is designed for IT professionals who do that sort of thing full-time. Right? Well, yes and no. It is, but it’s also designed to be used frequently and by a great number of people who all have better things to be doing, and who will switch to Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform if AWS was too burdensome.
Lightsail is a simplified solution aimed at the more casual user. To complete a fully capable high-performance WordPress site on AWS you will need to dig into some of the other AWS tools, but they’re easy once you know how, and we’re here to teach you how.
Managed WordPress hosts market themselves by promising to handle security and performance and back-ups and will claim that these are all difficult things. They’re really not, with a little knowledge.
This series of tutorials will walk you through setting up WordPress on Lightsail. We’ll show you everything you need to do and explain why it’s done and how it works, so that you understand what’s happening. Understanding is important. Some tutorials expect you to simply copy what you’re shown, but then when something doesn’t work as expected, you’re stuck.
When you understand how and why things are the way they are, then if something doesn’t work quite right you can fix it, and you will know how to keep things running smoothly.
We’ll teach you so that you understand, and we’ll show you how it’s really not as difficult as it might seem. Once you’ve worked through these lessons you’ll have a fully functional, secure, high performance WordPress server with regular backups and email, you’ll know your way around AWS and you’ll be saving a lot of money compared to the major managed WordPress hosting services.
AWS Lightsail WordPress tutorials in this course
We’re going to cover everything you need to know to make sure that your AWS WordPress server is set up correctly for:
- Low cost
- High performance
- High page speed test scores
AWS Lightsail Tutorials
Here’s what we’re going to cover in this series of articles and tutorials about WordPress on AWS. To make it manageable and allow you to go straight to the bits you need, we’re splitting this course into lots of smaller tutorials with a specific focus.
- AWS WordPress pricing and costs
- Setting up a WordPress server on AWS Lightsail, and securing it
- Backing up WordPress on AWS Lightsail
- Setting up HTTPS for WordPress on AWS Lightsail
- Boosting WordPress performance with a CDN on AWS Cloudfront
- Prevent direct access to Lightsail and force all traffic to use the CDN
- Configuring browser caching for WordPress with AWS Lightsail and Cloudfront
- Serving WordPress images from a CDN with AWS Cloudfront
- Setting up email on AWS Lightsail WordPress
- Send and receive emails on your own domain in AWS
- Prevent spammers hijacking your AWS domain email
- Optimizing WordPress page speed
- Optimizing images for WordPress blogs
- Setting up a load-balancer for high performance WordPress on AWS
- Use AWS georestrictions to reduce bills and limit hacking attempts
- Page caching for WordPress on AWS Lightsail
- Security for WordPress on AWS Lightsail
- Managing AWS account security
- Reducing costs for AWS WordPress
- How to avoid unexpected bills in AWS
- Use phpMyAdmin in AWS WordPress
AWS WordPress blogging tutorials
Once you’ve set up your WordPress server, this series will also include guides and tutorials to creating and designing your blog. Then we’ll go onto looking at the tools and techniques you will need for monetizing your blog with advertising, affiliate marketing, direct sales, and e-stores.
- Getting your blog indexed by Google
- Using Google SiteKit for WordPress
- GDPR and privacy for your WordPress blog
- Building a WordPress blog with the Kadence theme
- Designing a brilliant WordPress blog with Elementor
- Managing affiliate links in WordPress
- Managing adverts in WordPress
- Amazon affiliate selling for WordPress
- Beginners guide to affiliate selling and WordPress
- A guide to CJ Affiliates for WordPress bloggers
- A guide to Awin Affiliates for WordPress bloggers
- A guide to Rakuten LinkShare Affiliates for WordPress bloggers
- Where to get high-quality free photos for your WordPress blog
We’re going to be adding more and more to this series so bookmark CodeThump.com and keep coming back for more.
We hope you enjoy these tutorials and we’re sure that by following these lessons you’ll soon have your WordPress server up and running so that you can get straight on with writing your blogs or designing your websites.
Have fun, come back often, let us know what else you’d like to see, and if we help you then you can help us by clicking on the coffee cup at the bottom of every page. Thanks!