How to Run WordPress in the Amazon Web Services Cloud

In a day and age where people routinely post their thoughts on Facebook, an unlinkable, unsearchable, corporate-controlled walled-“garden”, I’m a big fan of owning your own blog. Not only does it give you full creative control, but it’s free of censorship, gives you full ownership, is optimized for search engines and is fully linkable and shareable.

While may be suitable for most people, I prefer the flexibility of running my own server. One of the more affordable solutions is Amazon’s cloud-based Web Services (AWS). But, getting started with AWS can be overwhelming without a deep technical background. When I first installed WordPress on an AWS micro instance, it kept running out of memory and crashing. Then, when I installed a custom, responsive theme on a larger instance, it was still quite slow.

This guide will provide you a detailed, step by step approach to setting up your WordPress blog at AWS (or Digital Ocean) in a high performance, economical fashion using an AWS Micro (or Small) instance running on Apache with Varnish and the W3 Total Cache plugin to optimize performance.

With a three year reserved micro instance, you can run a low traffic blog for $6.44 monthly (with the first year free for new AWS users). If you want a bit more room to grow, purchase a three year reserved small instance for a total monthly rate of $17.95 (what I currently use). Get more information on pricing options here.

Ready to sign up for AWS? Already have an account? Want to install WordPress at Digital Ocean?

Please feel free to post corrections, questions or comments below. You can also follow me on Twitter @reifman or email me directly.

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    • gamesnepal

      It’s even embeddable.

  • Pradeep Rajadas

    Interesting article. I did set up a WordPress site on AWS Beanstalk. Have been running into a lot of problems because the thing is so darn complicated. Mostly these problems started after I installed W3TC.

  • Hi Jeff,
    I am running a website on Justhost.
    After reading this article I am thinking to test AWS services. What you suggest?
    I want to make a video website

    Thanks for your professional support in advance.

  • PPCore

    Setup Worpress in the cloud have become even more usefull with the automated deployment services like Deploy4Me. It deploys WordPress in AWS (or DigitalOcean) and you get the confugured “vanilla” environment with security and networking in place. Saves a lot of time.

  • Russell Soph

    Why do you need both CloudFront and Varnish? It seems both cache static pages, if CloudFront is working efficiently, Varnish will just be passing through to Apache most of the time and slowing things down, no?