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Cheap Lightsail Virtual Private Servers 2021

Page speed is getting more and more significant, with faster websites frequently ranking higher in search results. In this article, we look at using AWS Lightsail Virtual Private Servers to speed up WordPress.

Recently, I made the move from hosting this webpage at Bluehost and moving it to Azure Lightsail. This was for two reasons:

  • I wanted to try and speed up my website.
  • I’m a nerd who wanted to try some new tech.

Bluehost is a great service for people starting off making a website. It’s very quick to get everything up and running, not too badly priced and performance is…. ok. Having said that, for those of us chasing the fastest Lighthouse and GTMetrix scores, it’s just never going to cut it. If we can save some money along the way, it’s definitely going to help with FIRE, Financial Independence and Saving Money too!

Amazon Lightsail

Azure Lightsail is Amazon’s offering Virtual Private Server (VPS) offering. Once you’re on the site using your lightsail login, you can set up a new WordPress instance in as little as two clicks.

Lightsail Virtual Private Servers

Servers are created on a monthly subscription fee. As an example, a 512MB RAM, 20GB SSD, single-core instance is currently running at around $3.50 a month. That’s around £30 a year for a private virtual server!

The reality of virtual private servers

The limitations of Lightsail Virtual Private Servers

So our virtual private server is better specced, cheaper and gives you more control over your website. But you have to consider that there’s nobody to support you if things go wrong and your entire website is under your control. That includes backups and security. So it’s not for everyone, but if you do want to set up WordPress in Lightsail, how do you go about it?

Step 1: Creating your Lightsail Virtual Private Server

Luckily, setting up a virtual private server is incredibly simple in Lightsail. The process consists of the following steps:

  • Login to Lightsail and setup an account. This is definitely the most complex part of the process.
  • Create a new instance in Lightsail by pressing the “Create instance” button.
  • Select a “linux/unix” platform.
  • Select the “WordPress” blueprint.
  • Choose an instance plan. This will have a direct impact on the performance of your website. If you’re migration from a simple hosting package, the base plan is probably fine for you. For those of you with more traffic, you might want to look into a more advanced plan.
Lightsail Virtual Private Servers pricing
  • Name your instance and click create.

    And that’s it! Just like that you’ve created a Lightsail Virtual private Server that you can host a wordpress site on!

Step 2: Configuring your server

After creating an instance, select it in the Lightsail instances menu. Take a note of the public IP address as we’ll use it later.

Press the “Connect using SSH button” to open a terminal in a pop-up window.

In the console write out:

cat $HOME/bitnami_application_password

Hit return and this will create a popup with your password in it.

Lightsail Virtual Private Servers console
(Passwords in the red box)

Using the IP address we previously wrote down, navigate to http://<YOUR IP ADDRESS>/wp-admin, in this example mines

If you enter your username as “user” and enter the password we found out above, it should log you into a fully functioning WordPress instance.

Steps 3: Enabling HTTPS

Unfortunately, HTTPS is a slightly more complex process when you’re acting as your own host. Luckily, Bitnami has automated the process making it easy to secure your Lightsail Virtual Private Server.

Navigate to your Lightsail portal and select “Networking”. Select “Create a static IP” and run through the steps. Effectively you need to name the static Ip and attach it to an instance. Following this, you want to create a “DNS” in the same part of the website.

This will allow you to bind a domain name to Lightsail. On creating your DNS you’ll be presented with some data that looks like this:

Make sure to take these values and update your domain name provider with them so that the address points to the right place.

You’ll also need to add some further DNS records so that your address is resolved effectively.

After a while, your website address should start successfully mapping to your VPS, then we can look to secure it!

To do this, go back to your console and enter:

sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool

You should be prompted to enter the domain name for your website.

Once you’ve completed this automated run-through, you should have a fully functioning HTTPS website!


In this post, we’ve built a fully secure and fast WordPress instance running on Lightsail Virtual Private Servers that not only costs significantly less than our Bluehost server but performs far faster too. From my testing, Lighthouse scores have moved from around 65 to 85+ just by moving hosts. I count that as a win in my books!

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