Host a WordPress Site for Free in the Cloud

More big companies are moving to the cloud, and so are the little guys

Amazon has been trying hard to entice the little shops and hobbyist into their digital doors too.

In case you aren’t aware, Amazon, the world’s biggest marketplace, has been building a massive infrastructure in undisclosed locations around the globe. This secret infrastructure doesn’t just support the Amazon marketplace or make prime shipping possible, it also allows regular users access to elastic cloud computing, virtual machines, and even machine learning (Amazon AI and Alexa). This infrastructure is better known as the cloud. The services within Amazon’s cloud as Amazon Web Services or AWS. So now that we know what the cloud and AWS is…

How can you host a WordPress Site in the cloud for free?

As I said earlier, Amazon has heavily invested in the cloud. As part of their huge investment, AWS is providing a free tier for each of their services.

AWS Free Tier

To take advantage of the AWS free tier, you only need an AWS account and to pick what services you want. The best part about these cloud services is that you can scale them up or down depending on your sites needs. This means no more paying for things you don’t need and if you happen to start off too small, scaling up happens auto-magically almost. The pressure of deciding the perfect hosting on day one has been lifted, just start and load balancing can be when needed for you.

What’s in the free tier? The free tier gives you 750 hours of up time each month, which amount to 31 days for a year. This means for absolutely no cost for hosting 24/7 for 12 months you can begin your ambition, like us, of having your own website.

12 months is all you need

A  year is plenty of time to decide if you are in it for the long haul, or to find out if having, marketing, and driving traffic to your website isn’t your thing. Most personal sites don’t live longer than their initial 12 months. Some last a little longer. Ideally when your 12 months run up you’ve been serious enough about your WordPress site that it can cover its own costs now.

What would it cost anyway to cover its own on Amazon? If we look to running the micro tier then probably about $100 if we have users on our site 24/7 after 12 months. If we’ve been busy making good content for the world then I don’t think that is a huge unrealistic expectation.

Now we know we can utilize Amazon’s free tier and have a WordPress site.  What services do we need exactly?

Well WordPress is pretty simple in its bare demands but it needs a host and a database to run.  A database like MariaDB or MySql, both of which are offered through AWS. Even better though, to get setup we only need to go create our AWS account, sign up for EC2. For most WordPress sites starting out, t2.nano will be plenty, For 24/7 up time is only about $50 a year, but remember scaling is a big selling point here. Once you have your EC2 flavor picked out, head over to the marketplace and select WordPress by Bitnami, a couple clicks in the console and we are up and running with a live site.

Sounds simple, because it is. All that is left is to customize your theme and pick out a catchy domain name.

A Web Developer by trade, find me on Github
A motorcycle enthusiast at heart.
Most days I’d rather be in the woods anywhere.