Now Served by Lightsail

After years of hosting my site on GoDaddy, I have finally switched to AWS Lightsail. You just can’t beat a WordPress server for $3.50USD/month. I was paying almost $15/month for a Linux hosting service on GoDaddy. It’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. (GoDaddy web hosting vs. AWS EC2 would be more accurate.) And Lightsail is just so easy to setup. I migrated the entire site in about 15 minutes, and it would have been quicker if not for the 100MB limit on the WordPress import process (but I did find a workaround).

It should also be noted that the Linux hosting on GoDaddy was not that great to start with. My pages were terribly slow, taking 5-10 seconds to load at times. So far, Lightsail is much faster.

And now with HTTPS! Setting up HTTPS on a GoDaddy-hosted site always seemed like it was more trouble than it was worth. This is especially true if you wanted to avoid the costly expensive of a non-free certificate. Using Let’s Encrypt certificates is just not easy with GoDaddy. Just look at what Let’s Encrypt says about it. However, since AWS Lightsail’s WordPress uses the bitnami WordPress stack, it is trivial to setup using HTTPS…. AND it even automates the renewal (since Let’s Encrypt certs expire in 90 days). How easy is it to setup? It is literally one command (a pre-installed shell script). Just look at the instructions. This one script does the following for you (that you would have to do by hand with GoDaddy and many other providers):

  • check for updates to the shell script and auto-update itself if an update is found
  • generate a Let’s Encrypt certificate for your site, download it, and install it
  • replace any previous certificate found (and allow you to revoke it)
  • setup HTTP to HTTPS auto-redirecting for Apache so users who arrive via HTTP will be sent to the HTTPS URL
  • setup a cron job that will automatically renew your certificate before it expires

That last part is key. Who wants to go through the entire setup process only to have to repeat it every 90 days?… or worse: forget to do it, and your users see an expired certificate warning.

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