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How to Host a Website on AWS in 5 Minutes

For most casual website owners, it’s often easy to simply use a hosting provider with built in support for their CMS and integrating analytics.  However, for the curious and ambitious, hosting directly on cloud (Amazon Web Services (AWS)) will unleash new opportunities with increasingly valuable  cloud services.  I'll talk about three different ways you can go (all in under under 5 minutes):

  1. Host a static HTML or React/Angular site on AWS
  2. How to host a CMS on AWS
  3. Host a web/mobile app on AWS

1. Host a static HTML or React/Angular site on AWS

Amazon S3, the file storage solution for AWS, has a simple checkbox to turn a storage bucket into a hosting solution. You read that right, a single checkbox. While the out-of-the-box configuration is decent, you’ll likely want to do a little tweaking to ensure a secure and resilient site:

  • Ensure public access (and confirm when AWS warns you about public buckets)
  • Under bucket policy, you can just start off with the policy recommended by AWS.  Just copy and paste the JSON.
Static Website Hosting

2. How to host a CMS on AWS

For quickly launching a CMS, nothing beats Amazon Lightsail.  To write this blog, I rapidly clicked on Wordpress, Drupal, and Django, and all three were up and running in less than 5 minutes. At just $3.50/month/instance, it’s dirt cheap. When I deleted the instances, they were gone within a couple minutes. Easy breezy.

2. Host a web/mobile app on AWS

Get to a rapid ‘hello world’ application with AWS Amplify in just a few minutes. Much like Google Firebase, AWS Amplify opens the doors to app services from serverless functions to machine learning. A quick use of two CLI commands, ‘amplify init’ and ‘amplify add api’, got me to a Python API for a web or mobile app.  Setting up branch deployments to three environments (dev, test, prod) took me about 5 minutes.  

Overall, the challenge of cloud is not hosting. As you can see, the basics are simple, speedy, and  streamlined. The challenge is how to innovate with the hundreds of specific services to compete for engagement and improve your standing in the rankings. When adding in the need for 24x7 care and daily decision making, it’s best to find an AWS Managed Services provider to be your partner. Metal Toad has you covered when it comes to a collaborative, values-oriented partner that will take you to the next level of your offering.

Date posted: February 22, 2021

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