AWS Lightsail – I’ve Made the Transition (finally).

I decided to save myself a few bucks by moving this little old website of mine to the aws platform. At the advice of a friend, I chose Amazon’s Lightsail platform. Lightsail’s current price is $5.00/month and the first month is free. It’s really easy to do the move: you make a backup of your existing website (WordPress is the platform of choice for me). Then, you log into your Amazon AWS account (create one if you haven’t already done so). Follow the instructions for spinning up a new server (in my case a Bitnami WordPress stack). Once created, log into your new WordPress account, look for the “Tools” menu item from the dashboard and Import the backup copy of your website. You should be up and running and Bitnami has excellent documentation and community support, which is a good thing because I had to make use of them both.

I ran into trouble adding SSL protection to the site; my preference based on my past experience is to go the Let’s Encrypt route. Following Bitnami’s documentation, I ran into minor difficulty at Step 1: Install the Lego client. When decompressing the instructions reference an “.xz” client extension when in fact it’s a “gz” extension. Not a huge problem.

My big problem involved Step 3: Configure the Web Server to Use the Let’s Encrypt Certificate(Apache server version). I’ve posted screenshots of the majority of my interactions with Bitnami to solve the problems here. I’ve reproduced the fatal two (last) lines below:

sudo chown root:root /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server*
sudo chmod 600 /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server*

In a nutshell, when I hit the wall with Lego, I decided to try Certbot’s Apache-Ubuntu Xenial client install which worked as far as the installation itself, but my site wound up loading the Ubuntu Apache server default page, which is obviously not what I wanted.

So, what to do? Per Bitnami’s recommendation and my frustration, I started over again, by reverting to a previous snapshot I made of the site and following the Lego instructions. It was a BIG mistake to mix and match (Lego and Certbot). It worked finally, and now I’ve got a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, a much, much better grasp of the AWS cloud infrastructure and an economical, slick web host.

Reach out to me on Twitter for questions.

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About the Author: a.k.a. smd

2 Comments

  1. Hey there, nice post! I work on the LIghtsail team at AWS – could you drop me a DM on twitter (@mikegcoleman) or email me (mikegcol@amazon.com) – I had a couple of questions for you!

    Many thanks.

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