What is AWS LightSail?

When you jump into the AWS portal one thing you’ll notice under the ‘Compute’ Services is the “LightSail” option. So what is AWS LightSail? How’s it different to EC2 AWS instances?

In short AWS LightSail is a quick, easy and cost predictable way to deploy either a VM (from a short light of templates) or a web service such as WordPress, Joomla or GitLab. Deployment an instance will give you a virtual machine, SSD storage, data transfer (up to the limit on your plan), DNS management and even a static IP.

While it’s more than possible to achieve the same thing with ‘traditional’ EC2 copuete there would be far more configuration to complete, from spinning up the VM through to configuring networking and access. You would also not have predictable pricing – you would need to understand the cost of the VM, networking & storage etc. Depending on what you’re using the LightSail instance for it likely not to be cheaper, but it is certainly easier with its flat fee costs (from $5 to $80 at the time of writing per month with a month free for certain plans).

So, who’s it aimed at? Well it’s aimed at developers and home users who need a quick, and easy deployment to run their test project or home website on. Access is provided by a dedicate LighSail portal and you even get access to its own API, or Lightsail command line interface (CLI).

So how does this compare to other cloud providers offerings? Well this is still IaaS, you’re still responsible for the management and patching of the VM so it’s not comparable to the likes of Azure Websites (a PaaS offering) or Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP) ‘Serverless Web Development’ offerings which both offer quick deployment and predictable pricing for services such as WordPress but not for VMs.

LightSail is well worth a look if you’re invested in AWS and need to deploy a VM or web service quickly, easily with predicable pricing but the catalog of services could do with expanding. More info can be found on the AWS pages here – https://aws.amazon.com/lightsail/


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