Frequently asked questions
Amazon Lightsail is the easiest way to get started with AWS for developers, small businesses, students, and other users who need a simple virtual private server (VPS) solution. Lightsail provides developers compute, storage, and networking capacity and capabilities to deploy and manage websites and web applications in the cloud. Lightsail includes everything you need to launch your project quickly – a virtual machine, SSD-based storage, data transfer, DNS management, and a static IP – for a low, predictable monthly price.
You can get preconfigured virtual private server plans that include everything to easily deploy and manage your application. Lightsail is best suited to projects that require a few virtual private servers and users who prefer a simple management interface. Common use cases for Lightsail include running websites, web applications, blogs, e-commerce sites, simple software, and more.
Also referred to as a bundle, a Lightsail plan includes a virtual server with a fixed amount of memory (RAM) and compute (vCPUs), SSD-based storage (disks), and a free data transfer allowance. Lightsail plans also offer static IP addresses (5 per account) and DNS management (3 domain zones per account). Lightsail plans are charged on an hourly, on-demand basis, so you only pay for a plan when you're using it.
A Lightsail instance is a virtual private server (VPS) that lives in the AWS Cloud. Use your Lightsail instances to store your data, run your code, and build web-based applications or websites. Your instances can connect to each other and to other AWS resources through both public (Internet) and private (VPC) networking. You can create, manage, and connect easily to instances right from the Lightsail console.
Lightsail offers a range of operating system and application templates that are automatically installed when you create a new Lightsail instance. Application templates include WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, Magento, Redmine, LAMP, Nginx (LEMP), MEAN, Node.js, and more.
You can install additional software on your instances by using the in-browser SSH or your own SSH client.
After logging in to Lightsail, you can use the Lightsail console, command line interface (CLI), or API to create and manage instances.
The first time you log in to the console, choose Create Instance. The create instance page is where you can choose the software, location, and name for your instance. Once you choose Create, your new instance will spin up automatically within minutes.
Lightsail instances are specifically engineered by AWS for web servers, developer environments, and small database use cases. Such workloads don't use the full CPU often or consistently, but occasionally need a performance burst. Lightsail uses burstable performance instances that provide a baseline level of CPU performance with the additional ability to burst above the baseline. This design enables you to get the performance you need, when you need it, while protecting you from the variable performance or other common side effects that you might typically experience from over-subscription in other environments.
If you need highly configurable environments and instances with consistently high CPU performance for applications such as video encoding or HPC applications, we recommend you use Amazon EC2.
Lightsail offers a 1-click secure connection to your instance's terminal right from your browser, supporting SSH access for Linux/Unix-based instances and RDP access for Windows-based instances. To use 1-click connections, launch your instance management screens, click Connect using SSH or Connect using RDP, and a new browser window opens and automatically connects to your instance.
If you prefer to connect to your Linux/Unix-based instance using your own client, Lightsail will do the SSH key storing and management work for you, and provide you with a secure key to use in your SSH client.
Each Lightsail instance automatically gets a private IP address and a public IP address, which are reachable from the Internet. You can use the private IP to send data to other Lightsail instances and AWS resources in private, for free. You can also substitute as static IP for the public IP of a Lightsail instance.
A static IP is a fixed, public IP that is dedicated to your Lightsail account. You can assign a static IP to an instance, replacing its public IP. If you decide to replace your instance with another one, you can reassign the static IP to the new instance. In this way, you don't have to reconfigure any external systems (like DNS records) to point to a new IP every time you want to replace your instance.
DNS is a globally distributed service that translates human readable names like www.example.com into numeric IP addresses, like 192.0.2.1 that computers use to connect to each other. With Lightsail, you can easily map your registered domain names such as photos.example.com to the public IPs of your Lightsail instances. In this way, when users type human readable names like example.com into their browsers, Lightsail automatically translates the address into the IP of the instance you want to direct your users to. Each of these translations is referred to as a DNS query.
It's important to know that in order to use a domain in Lightsail, you must first register it. You can register new domains using Amazon Route 53, or your preferred DNS registrar.
Yes. You can control the data traffic for your instances by using the Lightsail firewall. From the Lightsail console, you can set rules about which ports of your instance are publicly accessible for different types of traffic.
If you want to back up your data, you can use the Lightsail console or API to take a snapshot of your instance. If there is a failure or bad code deployment, you can later use your instance snapshot to create a brand new instance. We recommend stopping your instance temporarily when taking a snapshot, to ensure your data is complete and not corrupted in any way.
When you stop your instance, it is powered down at its current state and is available for you to start again at any time. Stopping your instance will release its public IP, so it is recommended that you use static IPs for instances that must retain the same IP after they stop.
When you delete your instance, you are performing a destructive action. Unless you have taken an instance snapshot, all of your instance data will be lost and you cannot recover it again. The instance's public and private IPs will also be released. If you were using a static IP with that instance, the static IP is detached, but remains in your account.
You can connect your Lightsail instances to VPC resources in your AWS account privately, by using VPC peering. Just choose Enable VPC peering on your Lightsail account page, and Lightsail does the work for you. Once VPC peering is enabled, you can address other AWS resources in your default AWS VPC by using their private IPs. Find instructions here.
Note that you need to have a default VPC set up in your AWS account in order for VPC peering with Lightsail to work. AWS accounts created before December 2013 do not have a default VPC, and you will need to set one up. Find out more about setting up your default VPC here.
Lightsail is currently available in all the Availability Zones in the following AWS Regions:
- US East (N. Virginia)
- US East (Ohio)
- US West (Oregon)
- Europe (Frankfurt)
- Europe (Ireland)
- Europe (London)
- Asia Pacific (Mumbai)
- Asia Pacific (Singapore)
- Asia Pacific (Sydney)
- Asia Pacific (Tokyo)
Availability Zones are collections of data centers that run on physically distinct, independent infrastructure and are engineered to be highly reliable. Common points of failure such as generators and cooling equipment are not shared between Availability Zones. Additionally, Availability Zones are physically separate, so that even extremely uncommon disasters such as fires, tornados, or flooding can affect only a single Availability Zone.
You can currently create up to 20 Lightsail instances, 5 static IPs, 3 DNS zones, 20 TB of attached block storage, and 5 load balancers in a Lightsail account. You can also generate up to 20 certificates during each calendar year. If you need to increase your account limit for instances, static IPs, block storage, or certificates in your account, please open a case with customer service. We do not currently support increases for DNS zones or load balancers.
We're here for you. Quick Assist in Lightsail offers immediate helpful tips about your actions in the console. From the Lightsail console, you can also access a library of getting started guides, overviews, and how-to topics. And if you want to use the API or CLI, Lightsail has a full API reference for all supported programming languages. You can also use Lightsail support resources:
- If you have an issue with your account or billing, contact customer service online. You get free 24x7 access with your Lightsail account.
- If you have a general question about how to use Lightsail, search the Lightsail documentation and support forums.
Additionally, AWS Support offers an array of paid plans to cover your individual needs.
Lightsail currently supports 6 Linux or Unix-like distributions – Amazon Linux, Debian, FreeBSD, OpenSUSE, and Ubuntu – and 2 Windows Server versions – 2012 R2 and 2016.
Billing and account management
Lightsail plans are billed on an on-demand hourly rate, so you pay only for what you use. For every Lightsail plan you use, we charge you the fixed hourly price, up to the maximum monthly plan cost. The cheapest Lightsail plan starts at $0.0067 USD/hour ($5 USD/month). Lightsail plans that include a Microsoft Windows Server license start at $0.0134 USD/hour ($10 USD/month).
Your Lightsail instances are charged only when they're in the running or stopped state. If you delete your Lightsail instance before the end of the month, we only charge you a prorated cost, based on the total number of hours that you used your Lightsail instance. For example, if you use the least expensive Lightsail plan for 100 hours in a month, you will be charged 67 cents (100*0.0067).
They're free in Lightsail, as long as you are using them! You don't pay for a static IP if it is attached to an instance. Public IPs are a scarce resource and Lightsail is committed to helping to use them efficiently, so we charge a small $0.005 USD/hour fee for static IPs not attached to an instance for more than 1 hour.
Your plan includes a free data transfer allowance. Both data transfer in and data transfer out of your instance count toward your data transfer allowance.
If you exceed your data transfer allowance, you will only get charged for data transfer OUT from a Lightsail instance to the Internet or to AWS resources using the public IP address of the instance. Both data transfer IN to Lightsail instances and data transfer OUT from a Lightsail instance when using the instance’s private IP address are free beyond your data transfer allowance.
Every single Lightsail plan also includes a healthy amount of free IN and OUT data transfer. For example, using the cheapest Lightsail bundle you can send and receive up to 1 TB of data to the Internet within the month, at no extra charge.
Any type of data transfer you consume is covered by your Lightsail plan and counted towards your data transfer allowance. As long as your instance’s data transfer is below the plan allowance, you do not incur any data transfer charges. Your data transfer allowance will reset every month, and you can consume it whenever you need within the month. If you delete your instance before the month ends and create another one, data transfer allowance is shared between the two instances.
We have designed our data transfer plans so that the vast majority of our customers will be fully covered by their allowance and not incur any additional charges. Even if you exceed your data transfer allowance, some types of data transfer are free. Data transfer IN to Lightsail instances is always free. Data transfer OUT from a Lightsail instance to another Lightsail instance or AWS resource in the same Region is also free if private IP addresses are used.
When you exceed the monthly free data transfer allowance of your plan, you will get charged for data transfer OUT from a Lightsail instance to the Internet or to another AWS Region or to AWS resources in the same Region when using public IP addresses. The charge for these types of data transfer above the free allowance is as follows:
- US East (N. Virginia): $0.09 USD/GB
- US East (Ohio): $0.09 USD/GB
- US West (Oregon): $0.09 USD/GB
- Europe (Frankfurt): $0.09 USD/GB
- Europe (Ireland): $0.09 USD/GB
- Europe (London): $0.09 USD/GB
- Asia Pacific (Mumbai): $0.13 USD/GB
- Asia Pacific (Singapore): $0.12 USD/GB
- Asia Pacific (Sydney): $0.17 USD/GB
- Asia Pacific (Tokyo): $0.14 USD/GB
Instances created in different Availability Zones can communicate between zones privately and for free, and are much less likely to be impaired concurrently. Availability Zones enable you to build highly available applications and websites without increasing the cost of data transfer or compromising your application's security.
All Regions have the same data transfer plan allowance as listed on amazonlightsail.com and amazonlightsail.com/pricing, with the exception of the Asia Pacific (Mumbai) and the Asia Pacific (Sydney) Regions. In these two Regions, the data transfer plan allowance is as follows:
- $5 USD/month plan: 500 GB
- $10 USD/month plan: 1 TB
- $20 USD/month plan: 1.5 TB
- $40 USD/month plan: 2 TB
- $80 USD/month plan: 2.5 TB
Your load balancer does not consume your data transfer allowance. Traffic between the load balancer and the target instances is metered and counts toward your data transfer allowance for your instances, in the same way that traffic in from and out to the internet is counted toward your data transfer allowance for Lightsail instances that are not behind a load balancer. Traffic into and out of your load balancer to the internet is not calculated toward the data transfer allowance for your instances.
DNS management is free within Lightsail. You can create up to 3 DNS zones and as many records as you want for each DNS zone. You also get a monthly allowance of 3 million DNS queries per month to your zones. Beyond your first 3 million queries in a month, you are charged $0.40 USD/million DNS queries.
Lightsail snapshots cost $0.05 USD/GB-month for both instance snapshots and for disk snapshots. This means if you take a snapshot of your 30 GB SSD instance and keep it for a month, you pay $1.50 USD at the end of the month.
When you take multiple successive snapshots of the same instance, Lightsail automatically cost-optimizes your snapshots. For each new snapshot you take, you're changed only for the part of the instance that changed. In the example above, if your instance only changes by 2 GB, your second instance snapshot costs only $0.10 USD per month.
Lightsail Block storage costs $0.10 USD per GB per month.
Lightsail load balancers cost $18 per month
Lightsail certificates and certificate management are free with use of a Lightsail load balancer.
Yes! Whether you're an existing or new AWS customer, you get 750 hours of free usage of the $5 USD Lightsail plan for free. You also can try Lightsail plans that include a Microsoft Windows Server license for free using the $10 USD Windows plan.
You can use your 750 hours of usage across as many instances as you like. For example, you can run a single Lightsail instance for a whole month, or 10 Lightsail instances for 75 hours. The free trial offer is only applicable to usage within the first calendar month from when you sign up to use Lightsail.
Lightsail is an AWS service and runs on the AWS trusted and proven cloud infrastructure. You use the same AWS account and credentials to log in to Lightsail and the AWS Management Console.
You can manage your AWS account, including changing your AWS account password, user name, contact information, or billing information from the AWS Billing and Cost Management console.
Lightsail is an Amazon web service, so to use Lightsail, you first agree to the AWS Customer Agreement and Service Terms. When creating Lightsail instances, you also agree that your use of software is also subject to the end user license agreement of the seller, available for your review on the create instance page.
Lightsail block storage
Lightsail block storage provides additional storage volumes (called “attached disks” in Lightsail) that you can attach to your Lightsail instance, similar to an individual hard drive. Attached disks are useful for applications or software that need to separate out specific data from their core service and to protect application data in case of a failure or other issue with your instance and system disk. Attached disks offers consistent performance and low latency needed for applications or software that frequently access their stored data.
Lightsail block storage uses solid-state drives (SSD). This type of block storage balances a low price and good performance and is intended to support the vast majority of workloads that run on Lightsail. For customers with applications that require sustained IOPS performance, high amounts of throughput per disk, or that are running large databases like MongoDB, Cassandra, etc., we recommend using EC2 with GP2 or Provisioned IOPS SSD storage instead of Lightsail.
Each attached disk can be up to 16 TB.
You can attach up to 15 disks per Lightsail instance.
No, disks can only be attached to one instance at a time.
No, you can choose not to attach a disk to an instance. The disk will remain in your account in an unattached state. There is no difference in price if your disk is not attached to an instance.
Yes, you can increase the size of a disk by taking a disk snapshot and then creating a new, larger disk from snapshot.
Yes, to help keep your data secure, all Lightsail attached disks and disk snapshots are encrypted at rest by default, using keys that Lightsail manages on your behalf. Lightsail also provides encryption of data as it moves between Lightsail instances and attached disks.
Lightsail block storage is designed to be highly available and reliable. Each attached disk is automatically replicated within its Availability Zone to protect you from component failure. Although Lightsail does not guarantee SLAs, Lightsail block storage disks are designed for 99.99% availability and for an annual failure rate of less than 0.2%. Lightsail also supports disk snapshots to allow regular backups of your data.
You can back up your disk by taking a disk snapshot. You can also backup your entire instance and any attached disks by taking an instance snapshot.
The system disk included with your Lightsail plan is your instance’s root device. If you terminate your instance, the system disk will be deleted as well. If you experience an instance failure, the system disk could be impacted. You also cannot detach your system disk or back it up separately from your instance. Data stored on an attached disk persists independently of the instance. Attached disks can be detached and moved between instances and can be backed up independently from an instance using disk snapshot. To protect your data, we recommend that you use your Lightsail instance’s system disk only for temporary data. For data requiring a higher level of durability, we recommend using attached disks and regularly backing up your disk using disk or instance snapshots.
Lightsail load balancer
Lightsail load balancers allow you to build highly available websites and applications. By distributing traffic across instances in different Availability Zones and pointing traffic to only healthy target instances, Lightsail load balancers reduce the risk of your application going down due to an issue with your instance or to a datacenter outage. With Lightsail load balancers and multiple target instances, your website or application can also accommodate increases in web traffic and maintain good performance for your visitors during peak load times.
In addition, you can use Lightsail load balancers to build secure applications and accept HTTPS traffic. Lightsail takes the complexity out of requesting, provisioning, and maintaining SSL/TLS certificates. The built-in certificate management requests and renews certificates on your behalf and adds the certificate to your load balancer automatically.
You cannot use load balancers with instances running in different AWS Regions. You can, however, use target instances across different Availability Zones with your load balancer. In fact, we recommend that you distribute your target instances across Availability Zones to maximize the availability of your application.
Lightsail load balancers scale automatically to handle traffic spikes to your application without you having to manually adjust them. If your application experiences a transient spike in traffic, your Lightsail load balancer will automatically scale and continue to efficiently direct traffic to your Lightsail instances. While your Lightsail load balancer is designed to easily manage traffic spikes, applications that consistently experience very high volume levels of traffic may experience performance degradation or throttling. If you expect your application consistently to manage more than 5 GB/hour of data or consistently to have a large number of connections (>400k new connections/hour, >15k active, concurrent connections), we recommend using Amazon EC2 with Application Load Balancing instead.
Lightsail load balancers direct traffic to your healthy target instances based on a round robin algorithm.
During load balancer creation, you will be asked to specify a path (a common file or webpage URL) for Lightsail to ping. If the target instance can be reached using this path, then Lightsail will route traffic there. If one of your target instances is unresponsive, Lightsail will not route traffic to that instance. You can update the Health check path if needed in the load balancer management screens.
You can add as many target instances to your load balancer as you would like - up to your Lightsail account instance limit.
Yes, Lightsail supports adding instances as target instances for more than one load balancer, if desired.
If you delete your load balancer, the attached target instances will continue to run normally and will appear in the Lightsail console as regular Lightsail instances. Please note that you will likely need to update your DNS records to direct traffic to one of your former target instances after you delete the load balancer.
Session persistence enables the load balancer to bind a visitor's session to a specific target instance. This ensures that all requests from the user during the session are sent to the same target instance. Lightsail supports session persistence for applications that require visitors to hit the same target instances for data consistency. For example, many applications that require user authentication can benefit from using session persistence. You can turn on session persistence for specific load balancer from the load balancer management screens after creation.
Lightsail load balancers support HTTP and HTTPS connections.
SSL/TLS certificates are used to establish the identity of your website or application and secure connections between browsers and your website. Lightsail provides a signed certificate to use with your load balancer, and the load balancer provides SSL/TLS termination before routing verified traffic to your target instances over the secure AWS network. Lightsail certificates can only be used with Lightsail load balancers, not with individual Lightsail instances.
Lightsail certificates are domain validated, meaning that you need to provide proof of identity by validating that you own or have access to your website’s domain before the certificate can be provisioned by the certificate authority. When you request a new certificate, Lightsail will prompt you to add a CNAME to the DNS zone(s) of the domain or domains you are validating. You will add this CNAME wherever you currently manage your DNS zones – either Lightsail DNS management or an external DNS hosting provider (e.g., Route 53, GoDaddy, Namecheap, etc.). Once your certificate is validated, you can remove the CNAME record from your DNS zone, if desired.
You must be able to validate that you own a domain for security purposes. This means if you or someone in your organization cannot add a DNS record to validate your certificate for any reason, you will not be able to use an HTTPS-enabled load balancer with Lightsail.
You can add up to 10 domains or subdomains per certificate. Lightsail does not currently support wild card domains.
To change the domains (add/delete) associated with your certificate, you will need to resubmit the certificate and revalidate your ownership of the domain(s). Follow the steps in the certificate management screens to regenerate your certificate and add or remove domains when prompted.
Lightsail provides managed renewal for your SSL/TLS certificates. This means that Lightsail tries to renew the certificates automatically before they expire with no action required from you. Your Lightsail certificate must be actively associated load balancer before it can be automatically renewed.
If your load balancer is deleted, your certificate is deleted as well. If you need to use a certificate for the same domain(s) in the future, you will need to request and validate a new certificate.
No, Lightsail certificates are bound to your Lightsail account and cannot be removed and used outside of Lightsail.