Min/Maxing WordPress Hosting

The Challenge

Getting as close to completely free self hosted wordpress by combining the cheapest tiers of AWS offerings.

I run two WordPress sites, JonahDevs.com and AussieBulkBricks.com. I thought why not use this as an opportunity to learn somethings about self hosting WordPress. Most importantly I was bound to save money on getting as close to fr by trying this.

My Hosting Journey – The Summary

  • AWS Lightsail free tier → then 5 USD per month.
  • AWS EC2 – Hell yeah lets save money and do this ourselves. They are selling us Lightsail on EC2 anyways, right?
  • Okay that was confusing – Many hours of work later
  • Move to VPS from BinaryLane.com.au – turns out AWS EC2 is still kind of expensive if you want more ram and CPU.

AWS Lightsail Free Tier

This one was simple enough, I followed the prompts and signed up to the free tier. Pointed my DNS records to Lightsail as instructed and I was up and running.

The Process of Setting Up AWS Lightsail for WordPress

Selecting operating system for AWS Lightsail

Selecting instance specs:
1 Gb memory
40 GB SSD Storage
2 TB Transfer
First 3 months free

The Pros

  • It kind of just works out of the box
  • Its free (to begin with)

The problems

I really couldn’t get CDN to work nicely via Cloudfront. I am sure I could by revisiting this but didn’t have the energy to push through after the initial easy setup set the bar for how easy I was expecting things to be moving forward. That bar definitely tripped me up here.

Why didn’t I settle for AWS Lightsail?

In short: Ego of a Software Developer and not having CDN working out the box irked me.

I’ll be honest, in hindsight I’m not entirely sure. It has something to do with the feeling of buying something that is ready out of the box. As a software developer I have such a strong gut instinct telling me that whatever resources are bundled up and sold as this package will have a great profit margin and that if only I was able to bundle those resources up myself I could save that difference.

Why Not Hetzner.com?

After a lot of research they really do seem to have great value VPS, If you are based anywhere near the European continent I would recommend going with them. Unfortunately I am half way around the globe from the nearest hosting locations that they offer (Germany / Finland / USA).

Hetnzer VPS pricing sheet, from 4.17 Euro all the way to 26,94 Euro for the

Why is this distance a dealbreaker for me? I like to edit files on my VPS directly via Visual Studio Code Remote extensions. The latency between your input and the file updating really slows things down when working for extended periods. Not to mention that the WordPress interface itself will be slow when updating posts, installing plugins and generally navigating around.

Maybe one day when I can afford to run my own private CDN nodes I will go back to them to serve my European traffic directly from my own server!


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