Have you always wanted to have your web space to showcase your portfolio or to start a blog? WordPress hosting is one of the first things that come into your mind, but it comes with an upfront cost and, you may want to explore free WordPress option before committing to a yearly contract.
If you don’t want to pay the upfront cost then, you can register with Amazon AWS service that will give you 12 months free tier usage.
This tutorial will help you setting up Free WordPress using AWS tier program:
If you prefer step by step video tutorial, please check out this video
1. Register your domain with any domain name service provider.
The first thing that you want is the unique domain name. Choosing a great domain name can be tricky. Few tips are:
- A domain name should be easy to remember.
- Short and concise domain names are preferred over the long ones. The only problem is they are mostly unavailable.
- Avoid dots and dashes.
- Purchase only one extension. You don’t need all the extensions for hosting personal blog or portfolio. Depending upon your use case, prefer .com, .in, .org etc over new extensions as they are easier to remember.
Once, you have selected your domain name, it’s time to register the domain name. You can do so by registering and any domain name provider like GoDaddy or Namecheap. For this blog, I am going to use GoDaddy.
- Go to GoDaddy.com
- Enter your domain name which you want to register.
- If it’s available then proceed to checkout.
- Once registered, you will be taken to my products page.
That’s all for now. Please keep My Products page open as we will need it later.
Once you have purchased a domain name, then you will need to have a hosting server for this domain name.
Although you can have hosting server on GoDaddy, it will cost you a minimum of 1 – 2 dollar per month with the shared hosting.
I would not recommend purchasing shared hosting as it’s damn slow and you can get better options from Amazon that too free for the first year.
I know it requires a bit of work, but 1 to 3 hours of day’s work will give you free WordPress hosting for a year. That’s not a bad deal.
If you don’t know what a hosting server is?
A Hosting server is where your WordPress data will reside.
2. Steps to Register on AWS
- First, go to https://portal.aws.amazon.com/billing/signup page
- Then, fill in your details and register yourself on AWS.
- Once registered, you will be taken to the AWS Console. See the image
3. Create an EC2 instance.
Next step is to set up an EC2 instance on AWS. EC2 instances are nothing but virtual machines that you can use for different-2 use cases. We will use the EC2 instance to host our WordPress. These are the steps:
- Go to AWS Management console -> Find service -> Type “EC2” in the search box.
- The Search box will auto-populate EC2. Select EC2.
- Now, you will be redirected to EC2 console. Scroll down a bit, and you will see the ‘Launch instance’ button. Click ‘Launch instance’ button
- On Launch instance first screen (see image below), Search “Bitnami WordPress”.
- Now, you will see 5 results in AWS Marketplace section. Click “5 results”, and it will populate all the Bitnami AMI as shown
- Select “WordPress Certified by Bitnami and Automatic”
- On the next screen, choose the instance type “t2.micro” as this comes into free tier eligibility.
- Next, select the “Review and Launch” button.
- When you click on the “Launch Instance” button, It will ask for “Create a new key pair”. Write “mykeypair” on Keypair and download the key pair and store it somewhere safe. Click continue
- It will take around 2-3 minutes before your newly created instance is up and running.
- Select your newly created instance and look for the public IP address and copy it somewhere.
- You can check if your server is running WordPress or not by pasting copied Public IP address in a browser. You should see WordPress page like this:
Congratulations! Your free WordPress site is up and running, but it is still not mapped with your domain name. For that, we will need to update your domain’s DNS entry.
4. Map domain name with newly created AWS EC2 instance.
It is now time to link your newly created instance on AWS to your domain name. Here are the steps:
- Go to the Domains section in your GoDaddy account.
- Look for DNS button alongside your new domain and click on it.
- Change the ‘A record’ of your DNS profile with the IP address of your EC2 instance. Save it.
- Now, type your domain name on the browser. After waiting a few minutes, you should be able to access your WordPress account.
Note: DNS entry changes sometimes take up to 48 hours to propagate properly.
Congratulations! By investing less than 4 dollars (on domain purchase only), you have successfully hosted your free WordPress website for the next 12 months.
AWS EC2 t2.micro is a very basic instance and should be good enough for low traffic blog sites or portfolio websites. If you are looking to host it for a shopping cart or company website with heavy usage in mind, this might not be a good fit for you. For others, it is better than hosting on a shared server.
If you survive your first-year itch and still want to continue with your blogging, you can upgrade to better ec2 instance or switch it altogether to a different hosting provider.
That is all for today. Thank you very much for reading along. Your comments are more than welcome.
Read the second part How to host free WordPress on Amazon AWS part 2