Easy. Amazon has designed the Lightsail service to be as easy to understand and get started with as possible, and this ease of use extends from initial signup to spinning up a VPS, and installing apps.
What this means is that people who have experience running virtual private servers will easily find their way. Even folks that have knowledge of setting up websites at hosting providers will not lose their way, as long as they follow the instructions.
Amazon Lightsail best practices
That said, there are a few best practices to follow, to make the most of your Lightsail experience. Most of these are general recommendations, as well as security guidelines to protect the VPS you launch, but there are a few pointers on how to best design and deploy your workloads.
Let’s go over them:
- Clearly define how much resources you need, then opt for the right plan based on your requirements.
- Windows Server based virtual private servers are not only pricier due to licensing costs, but require substantially more hardware resources, particularly if plan to remotely connect with them using RDP.
- Choose your operating system wisely. Currently you have a selection of 5 Linux distributions, and 2 Windows Server versions. It is a good idea to go with the one you are most familiar with.
- If you decide to go with a Windows Server plan, then be sure to regularly deploy the patches and security updates that Microsoft releases on a monthly basis.
- Change the default settings of the CMS and software that you install on Lightsail like administrator login names that can be used by hackers and individuals to break into your servers.
- Goes without saying that you should always keep the apps you install on your Lightsail server updated. Also consider the code age, or the date of last update, of what you are installing, as well as the number of installs. These are all metrics that give you an idea of the safety and reliability of the product.
- Always keep your snapshots up to date. These are full backups of your instance, and are very affordable to create and keep multiple copies.
- Be sure to store your backups locally, or on different servers.
- Unlike other similar VPS providers like DigitalOcean that also provide password based authentication, Amazon Lightsail only allows SSH access. This is good for security, but be sure to keep this information safely stored in order to connect to your instances.
- Amazon has provided a rudimentary implementation of its security groups feature, which can be used as firewall to protect your Lightsail instances. While you don’t have granular options to restrict traffic from one or more IP addresses, it is still recommended to set this up on first launch.
- If you are planning a medium to large scale infrastructure, then it is always a good idea to split up different functions into different servers. This modular approach ensures that each server only concentrates on performing one task, enhancing performance and simplifying cloning.
- Tag team and use VPC peering to connect to the 70+ AWS service, and managing them from your AWS console, while you handle server management from the Lightsail console.
- Amazon charges for data transfer when you exceed the monthly data allowance of your plan, and these rates vary depending on regions, sometimes nearly double the amount per GB. Think these charges through.
- Use AWS Billing Alerts to keep track of your cloud spending. This is a feature of CloudWatch metrics, but can also be used for Lightsail, where you will get an automatic notification when your monthly spending goes over a set limit.
Although security may seem frightening at first, webmasters that pay attention can run their websites without experiencing any major disruptions at Lightsail. That’s because many of the strategies that apply to web and VPS hosting apply here. Other use cases are much simpler to get up and running with, most notably regular VPS usage for running Windows applications and desktop software. But nevertheless, it is important to follow best practices and recommendations, and staying abreast of the latest trends, standards, and emergent threats.
Amazon Lightsail may have a short learning curve when you first navigate its waters, but it is smooth sailing from then on.
Learn about AWS Lightsail pricing here