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This space holds helpful information about software and hardware and vendors that Dr. Hain has discovered by trial and error. Perhaps if enough of us do this, searches on these devices or companies will bring up more relevant information.

Amazon AWS Web server -- setting up a simple web site

Last edited: January 25, 2020

From what I read, cloud services are popular and are replacing local servers. The purpose of this page it to document my trials/tribulations, as well as provide a "how I did it" page.

My project was to copy a simple website (this one actually), to the Amazon AWS cloud. They claim online that this can be done on 3 minutes. Not true at all -- maybe 3 hours start to finish. I thought I could prepare for this by reading an online book on AWS. This was just gibberish. So here is my list of things to do.

Tasks:

  1. Set up an account -- this wasn't so hard. Doesn't really need much explanation.
  2. Figure out which of the 40 or so Amazon things to click on -- I was looking for cheap, at least until I decide if this works. I settled on "free" with Amazon E2. There seem to be an immense number of alternative options.
  3. Figure out which server to create -- I ended up using Ubuntu 18.04, because I had another Ubuntu instance running at work. It was OK. Perhaps other types of Linux would work as well.
  4. Set up login credentials - -this was harder. Amazon has lots of security stuff. I decided to use the SSH key, because I had used Putty before. This worked OK but took me about 20 minutes. It might be a lot harder for someone who has not used Putty before.
  5. Login to the AWS server using Putty. This was harder than it sounds, because you first need to locate the public IP address (a sub-address on amazon), copy it into Putty, import the Amazon Key, convert it into a Putty Key, save it under a different name. Quite a pain. Took about an hour, but finally got there.
  6. Set up winscp to login to the aws server as well. Similar methodology, only about 10 minutes. Winscp allows you to copy whole directories.
  7. Install a "LAMP" stack. Here, I used a nice online documentation page how to do this on Ubuntu. It is for Ubuntu in general, not specific to AWS. I am not entirely sure if all of the myriads of commands were really needed. I suspect not.
  8. Try to start up the web page -- this didn't work (after all this time !). After about an hour of fiddling around, checking apache configuration, checking using Putty to see if ports are open, I finally figured out that AWS has its own firewall, and that one has to open a port in the Amazon console. Of course, Amazon does not call their firewall a firewall, they call it a "security group". One has to find your security group, and create a rule that allows port 80 in. This seems to be the "gotcha"

So after all this, I was able to copy my website to AWS, and it seems to work fine.

 

 

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