AWS EC2 Server Simplified!

If you haven’t used EC2 server before this post may be helpful. Let me give you a very quick overview!

AWS EC2 is nothing special, it’s a simple server okay? nothing crazy about it but it can get interesting..

If you’ve ever got a site up and running you’ve already been involved with servers.

Now compared to traditional servers where you can see actual machine on AWS you can’t see any of that. (that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist). It does exist and it’s controlled via AWS interface.

For example you can create a new server, turn on, turn off. Open ports, modify it’s OS setting and what’s installed inside etc.. many things can be done via UI while others require you to log into the server via SSH.

EC in EC2 stands for elastic cloud because it can be expanded.

If you got a physical server and you want to increase its RAM you can’t. Maybe you can but most people cant, but on AWS you can simply turn off the server and increase its RAM, same goes with disk space and many other specs. You can even switch the disk it’s connected to via interface!

You might wonder if you should use EC2 server, I say it depends, for a simple WordPress site you’re better off using hosting that offers WordPress as everything comes out of the box.

If we’re talking about something more complex where you need access to server or install programs such as composer, apache etc then AWS EC2 may be a good option.

Another cool thing when creating a new EC2 server is that you can decide where you want to place your server. Doing business in UK, you can create one in London for example.

Keep in mind that EC2 is not the only option here, an alternative is digital ocean VPS, it’s like EC2 but much more simple with simpler billing model.

That’s pretty much what an EC2 server is. Don’t let its fancy name fool you, at its core it’s just a server that you can resize via interface and you’re only charged for when it’s actually running, if you turn the server off after a few days you only pay for that.

Some things are slightly more complex but that’s the basic pricing model. When I say things are complex I mean that it’s very easy to be fooled into believing that if you’re working with x service you’ll only pay for that. aha?! what?!

So if you’re creating a server always make sure to check the total costs. Checkout AWS Pricing Calculator. While on sites like Digital ocean you may only pay for the server itself on AWS you may end up paying for more things like data transfer!

So a word of warning, AWS may be very easy to use but the costs can pile up fairly quickly so keep an eye out on your Billing Dashboard this will also indicate what other servers are running.

Lets’ talk about Credits. Credits are like bonuses you can get earn when you don’t overload your server, for example you may earn 1 credit for every 24 hours unless you hit server’s peak.

What’s the benefit of this? AWS will automatically rework your server’s capacity and let it go beyond it’s capacity when needed, granted you have earned the credit. That’s the basic credit model for you.

Another interesting thing you may come across when working with EC2 is Security Groups, see these as firewall. These dictate what type of traffic can go through and what cant. For example, if you don’t open port 80 you may never be able to reach your Apache server.

That’s it!

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