This article is about my experience with Amazon Lightsail. The AWS product focuses on instant use virtual machines. The Lightsail includes virtual servers, databases, storage, and networking. I found Lightsail is comparable to Digital Ocean droplets.
I am giving a short review about the UX/UI, instances (virtual machines) and databases.
As a user, my experience with documentation of Amazon Web Services was not straightforward. I preferred Google Cloud and DigitalOcean so far. However, Lightsail is easy to use so that documentation is barely needed. Amazon made a series of videos explaining Lightsail in case users don’t understand how to use.
However, the UI looks outdated. The colour choices, borders and spacings make the UI look strange.
I created an instance to install a small NodeJS application with Docker to crawl some data and insert this in the Lightsail Database. After the data import, I installed Metabase to connect to the database and analyze the data.
It’s easy to set up an instance, Lightsail offers servers in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. I chose Frankfurt because it is closest to my location.
You can set up an instance with an OS blueprint (Ubuntu, Debian, etc. ) or with an app such as WordPress, GitLab, or Django. I used the Ubuntu 18.04 OS. In case of choosing an app, the IP of the instance automatically displays the app immediately.
A nice option is the launch script for setup. This option allows you to run onetime script when you create an instance. I used this option to install Docker. AWS has great tutorial how to use launch scripts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z525kfneC6E
Also Read: How to install WordPress on AWS
Lightsail offers a diverse range of price plans. Starting with $3.5 per month is cheapest and most powerful plan is $160 per month. I chose the $80 package to test the performance of the server.
Prices are comparable with DigitalOcean droplets.
After creating the Instance, the server is accessible with a browser terminal. The terminal of Lightsail is straightforward, the first thing I did was adding my SSH credentials, so I can access the server with my command line instead of the browser.
After accessing the server, I saw some basic tools like Git was already installed. That was useful because I would have needed Git to clone a GitHub repository.
Adding a database to an instance is possible. However, a dedicated database is recommended.
The locations of the database are as same as the locations of the instances.
Lightsail offers MySQL and PostgreSQL databases in several versions. For my database, I chose the latest PostgreSQL version.
Databases are slightly more expensive than instances. The prices are comparable with DigitalOcean databases.
There are two types of pricing plans. Standard and High availability. High availability plan databases are created in an additional availability Zone for added stability and redundancy. More information: https://lightsail.aws.amazon.com/ls/docs/en_us/articles/amazon-lightsail-high-availability-databases
There is no specific console to access databases. Connecting the database to any client with host, name and password is straightforward. Note: to access a database you need to set the Network security to public first.
There is a console log available in the Logs & History tab.
Networking & Storage
There are more products available in Lightsails besides instances and databases. I didn’t dive deep into these products.
With Lightsail networks, it is easy to attach a floating ip, create load balancers and create a DNS zone.
Cheap storage is available at the storage tab. Staring $0.80 per month.
Except for outdated UI, Amazon Lightsail is easy to use.
Amazon Lightsail is perfect, if you’d want to set up a project without going through complicated process of setting up a server.
The cheap pricing plan makes Lightsail even more attractive.