A step-by-step guide to set up the Joomla website on Lightsail powered by AWS.

A few weeks back, Amazon announced a new service called “Lightsail” to provide VPS (Virtual Private Server) starting from $5 a month.

In $5 plan, you get 512 MB RAM, one virtual CPU, 20 GB SSD, 1 TB transfer

lightsail-pricing

By looking at pricing, looks like direct completion with DigitalOcean.

Lightsail is on top of AWS (Amazon Web Service) with many features to ease the hosting for Joomla, WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Node.js, MEAN, etc.

However, in this article, – I will focus on Joomla.

Some of the notable features.

  • Static IP address
  • Scalable and access to AWS services
  • SSH terminal
  • Server monitoring
  • High-performing SSD storage
  • Snapshots
  • Speedy & secure network
  • The first month free
lightsail

Let’s get it started.

Creating a Lightsail account

  • Access Amazon Lightsail website and click Sign up
  • Enter your email and select “I am a new user.”
  • Fill in the information on “Login Credentials” & “Contact Information” page and click “Create an account.”
  • Enter the credit card information and activate your account
  • Once done, log in with the credential and you will get the “Getting started” popup.
lightsail-getting-started

Create a Joomla Instance

Assuming you are still logged in, select the “Joomla” from the list

lightsail-select-joomla
  • Scroll down and select the plan
  • Choose the zone where you want to host your website
lightsail-select-zone
  • Change the name of the instance if you want and click “Create.”
lightsail-create
  • it will take a few seconds to set up and once done; you should see the instance created
lightsail-instance

Connecting to Lightsail Server

There are two ways you can connect to your Lightsail server

Through the browser – you can get into the server right from the browser itself. Click on the instance, and you will have a button “Connect using SSH.”

lightsail-ssh-browser

This would probably be the easiest way to connect. You don’t need to enter any credentials as a session is being authenticated with your Lightsail login.

To become root, you type “sudo su –” as shown below.

lightsail-ssh

Using SSH client – You can follow the detailed instructions on how to connect using SSH client like Putty.

Managing Lightsail Instance

You can manage your entire server and Joomla through a browser, and let’s take a look at some of the important configuration & metrics.

IP address – you will get one public IP to map to your domain and one private IP. If you are just going to have one instance, then you may not use the private IP. However, if you are looking to connect to other AWS services, then you may need this.

Public IP & Private IP is shown next to the instance on top.

Utilization Report – you get CPU, Network usage in an interval of 1h, 6h, 1d, 1w, and 2weeks.

lightsail-metrics

It’s available under the “Metrics” tab.

Firewall – Port 22, 80 & 443 is allowed by default. However, if you would like to allow some other port or want to edit an existing port, you can do it through the browser under the “Networking” tab.

lightsail-firewall

Changing the SSH port from 22 to something else would be a good idea to prevent brute force attacks.

Snapshots – It would be useful to take a backup of your instance, so if something goes wrong, you can restore it with the taken snapshot.

Rebooting VM –  stop and restart option is just next to instance details.

Mapping domain to Public IP

Before you map your domain name to public IP, you need to reserve a static IP. The current public IP you see is dynamic and may change after you reboot your VM.

  • To create a static public IP, click “Create other resources” and select “static IP.”
  • Choose the instance to attach the IP and click “Create.”
  • In a few seconds, you should get a new public static IP
lightsail-static-ip

Now you are all set to map this public IP to your domain at the registrar. You can log in to your domain registrar and update the A record for your domain to public IP.

For ex, if your domain is registered with Name Cheap

  • Click “Manage” next to the domain
  • Go to “Advanced DNS.”
  • Click “ADD NEW RECORD.”
  • Select “A Record” to enter the public IP address and save the changes by clicking the green tick mark.
namecheap-a-record

It will take some time to propagate the DNS globally. You may use the DNS Record Lookup tool to verify the A record.

Once done, try accessing your domain, and you should see the Joomla default page.

lightsail-joomla-live

Wondering what’s the credential to log in to Joomla Admin Console?

The default username is – user

Password is stored in the file – /home/bitnami/bitnami_application_password

All yours to set up the Joomla template and don’t forget to secure your Joomla.

Lightsail Performance

I did the speed test on my website powered by Lightsail, and the result is fantastic.

I didn’t install any extension, and it was loaded in less than one second.

GTmetrix test from Dallas

gtmetrix-lightsail

TWC test from California

twc-lightsail

Pingdom test from New York

pingdom-lightsail

Joomla performs better on Lightsail and looks promising to me. One month is free to give it a try to see how it goes. If you need some alternative, then check out some of the best Joomla hosting platforms.