AWS Free Tier

The origin story

A summary of what it took to get up. Discussion on domain registration and site hosting. Do you dare go the AWS route?

Here we go. I got this site up and running in two days. Not bad.

I’m very much glad that I did my homework and properly researched what my options are. Saving $$$ left and right.

Planning to get your own site?

Here’s a summary of what it took to get up.

Domain registration

This is the easiest part. It’s very affordable. You can get a domain for less than a US dollar a year! Since this is a dot com domain, it was about $10/year. Still a great value.

I saw this advice elsewhere and I think it’s sound. A lot of domain registration services offer web hosting and a lot of web hosting services offer domain registration help but it might not be in your interest to keep all of your eggs in one basket.

Example security reasons to keep domain and web hosting separate:

  1. If someone hacks your web host, they’ll hack your site and mess with your content but they can’t take over your domain.
  2. If someone hacks your domain registrar, they can hijack your domain, redirect your visitors to a wrong address but they can’t mess with your site content.

In both situations, keeping them separate makes recovery from such event faster. Just a rule to follow – don’t use the same password for both services!

Think it won’t happen to you? Wake up! Have you seen the news lately? Everyone’s getting hacked. You can’t 100% prevent it but you CAN be prepared for it.

Web hosting

There are free hosting solutions. Problem is that each one I checked, if you want to have your own domain ( instead of, you need to pay. If you don’t care about your domain, go with that. You can set up a free account with or a number of other services. Go for it.

I’ve created free websites/blogs before but this time thought it was time for an “all grown-up” site. I think you get better respect if your website has its own domain name. It will look like you’re more serious about what you’re doing with it. And in the end, I think you will be more serious because you’re paying for it!

Do your homework. Don’t just type in “web hosting” in the search browser and expect to get the best deal. Hint: the promoted results will be the first you’ll see. They’re not cheap. I saw a “deal” for $0.99/month but guess what happens when you get to the checkout? A registration fee and $10/month after the first year. Huh! And don’t think to switch from deal to deal after the intro period. It’s not a piece of cake to switch your hosting once it’s up. Stick to one.

I finally went with AWS Free Tier. That’s right! Get your website hosted by Amazon Web Services for free! Also free: bragging rights!

Two notable points if you want to go this route:

  • The “free” part has its limits. As long as your site usage stays within those limits, it’s free. You go over, and you pay per usage. It’s not supposed to be much if it ever does happen and they describe that static websites (like a personal blog) normally fit within the limit.
  • AWS is not for the computer-challenged. If you want a quick no-fuss solution, this isn’t it. For example, steps I had to go through just to get up and running are below:
    1. Register & activate AWS  – easy.
    2. Launch an instance (this is a virtual computer AWS will start up/reserve for you) – easy/medium when following a tutorial for setting up a WordPress website (here).
    3. Add a WordPress image to the instance – medium.
    4. Start setting up basics of your website – medium.
    5. Allocate an Elastic IP address – easy.
    6. Associate that Elastic IP with the earlier created instance – easy/super hard (details of my struggles with this step are in a separate post).
    7. Associate that Elastic IP with your domain (on domain registrar side) – medium.

It took me few hours to complete that process. This time doesn’t include any editing on this site. There are web hosting solutions that will have you up and running in minutes and will do all of those steps for you. AWS isn’t the easy way by any means.

Just look at this menu of EC2 service console. It gives me a headache!

AWS EC2 menu
Only half of AWS EC2 menu

The set up took me longer than what I was hoping it would take and I feel a bit overwhelmed by just how much configuration can be done on AWS.

But please, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t write all of this to deter you from going the AWS route. Just the opposite. I’m very glad that I did it and I encourage you to try. Don’t ever underestimate your skills.

You’ve never done it before? So what? Everything has its beginnings. Everyone, yes, everyone, every single pro you can think of started somewhere, one day tried something they never did before that was completely new and scary. This is your chance. This is your origin story.

If you want to give it a go, find out more at

Amazon Web Services, the “Powered by AWS” logo, and Amazon EC2 are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries.

This website’s journey has just begun. Stick with me to see where it takes us.

I’ll leave this little piece of wisdom here to give you something to think about:

Not trying is the only unacceptable failure.

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