Whether for dev/test, a demo, or even a project where a “canned” app will suffice – nothing beats getting a full stack deployed for you in a matter of minutes. I needed a web-facing app for a demo, and decided to give Amazon Lightsail a try. It did not disappoint!
Amazon AWS subscription: I started with an existing subscription, if you have one -- follow along!
Address/Email: For domain registration I used Amazon Route 53, but similar domain registration & configuration can be done with another registrar like GoDaddy.
Part A: Get the domain
We’ll start with buying the domain for our web app. In my case I decided to stand up a blog running WordPress, with the domain name: haxrip.net
1. Find the domain: use Route 53 to find the available domain(s) & add to cart.
2. Register the domain: complete registration with your address / email (used to verify the registrant contact info).
3. Verify email: click on the link in the verification email, and that should be it for domain registration. Mine returned as registered in just 3 minutes, your mileage may vary 😉
Part B: Stand up the app stack
While the domain is being registered we’ll create our WordPress deployment using Amazon Lightsail . Below are the minimum options to create the deployment.
4. Amazon Lightsail: find the Lightsail service in the AWS console (search by name/feature or under the “Compute” category). Click “Create Instance”.
5. Choose location, platform, blueprint: as with most other AWS services we need to pick the region where our resources will be deployed. Since we’re in Seattle, Oregon is the closest option. Next we’ll select Linux as the platform, and under “Apps + OS” I’ll select WordPress 5.3.0, which is the only available version at the time of the writing.
6. Choose instance plan & name: naturally we need to pay for the convenience of the cloud infrastructure, and the lowest priced plan will suffice. Finally, we’ll pick a fancy name for our deployment, and click “Create instance” at the bottom . That is it!
7. Get the IP: within seconds we see the deployment information (greyed out initially), which already contains the IP address assigned to our Linux instance. Everything should go live within a minute.
8. Check the site: it’s truly satisfying to be able to start working on our very own WordPress app within seconds of creating an instance. We can also “Connect using SSH” feature in the Lightsail portal or use our own SSH client to easily retrieve WordPress admin credentials.
The good folks at Bitnami, who create and maintain app stacks automatically set up the username: “user” with a password that’s contained in a file “bitnami_application_password”, which we find in the root directory of our instance.
Part C: Update domain
9. Create domain record: once we have the IP address of our Lightsail instance, we can update the domain’s A-record with this IP. We’ll need to edit the hosted zone for our domain (pick the one you’ve registered), and click “Create Record Set”.
Next, we choose Type: “A – IPv4 address” and enter the IP of our instance. We’re using TTL (time to live) value of 60, but you may want to choose what’s right for you. Click “Create”, and we are done!
Cloud makes it easy to stand up a full app stack with a domain. While there are many other ways to deploy a full stack, Amazon Lightsail and Amazon Route 53 make it super easy. In my case, I was able to kick off a registration of a domain, stand up an Amazon Lightsail instance and log into my WordPress site - all in ~3 minutes. By the time I updated my domain’s zone with a new record, my domain registration had completed. The entire thing was up and running with a domain in under 5 minutes.