One of the biggest problems with AWS for 'normal people' (as opposed to businesses) is that compared to traditional dedicated servers or VPS', it's hard to exactly predict what running a website will cost.
At their re:Invent 2016 conference (where the company typically announces all their exciting new things for AWS), Amazon have formally released their answer to this problem (and their shot across the bows of conventional VPS hosts) in the form of 'Lightsail'.
In their words...
Lightsail is designed to be the easiest way to launch and manage a virtual private server with AWS. Lightsail plans include everything you need to jumpstart your project – a virtual machine, SSD-based storage, data transfer, DNS management, and a static IP – for a low, predictable price.
When they say a low price, they're actually not kidding. This blog is running on the entry level VPS (US East region only for now), which comes in at $5 per month. Oh and the first month is free! That gets you 1 CPU core, 512MB RAM, 20GB of SSD storage and 1TB of traffic. That traffic allowance in particular is rather generous! Best of all, it's all backed with the resilience of AWS, which as we know, is as good as it gets, together with their newly announced DDOS protection, full snapshotting capability and much more.
At setup time (which is super-easy), you can choose from a range of pre-prepared images (such as a LAMP stack) or get a bare OS - I went for Ubuntu 16.04 Server and installed the bits and pieces needed for Ghost without any issues whatsoever.
Of course, the cheaper Lightsail machines aren't going to be useful for running anything massively demanding, but for someone looking to host a relatively low traffic website then it's a very cool thing. Throw a free Cloudflare plan in front of the box to save on load and traffic too and it's hard to think of an quicker, easier and better way to run this sort of Internet presence.
I'll post back here with feedback as I play with Lightsail a bit more, but for now, colour me impressed. Smart move Amazon.
You can read more about Lightsail on the AWS Blog.