Last evening I signed up for Amazon Web Services (AWS) free usage tier to test the features and available services. Another reason was to use Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for storing my site’s backups.
The services are available at fairly reasonable price. Especially, if you are using S3 then you are making a very good deal.
Since, the free usage tier comes with 750 free hours of Amazon EC2 for each month for a year I thought of giving it a try and running WordPress.
Here is a step-by-step guide to setting up and running WordPress on Amazon EC2.
Sign up / Log in to your AWS Account:
If you do not have an AWS account then you can signup for the free usage tier and login to your account.
Setting up our server:
After you have logged in to AWS account, click “My Account / Console” in top right corner of the screen and then click on “AWS Management Console”. You will be presented with something like this :
Click on “EC2″ link and you will be taken to the EC2 Dashboard. Click on “Launch Instance” button to create a new instance. Follow the “Classic Wizard” as shown below :
Click “Continue” and on the next screen select “Ubuntu Server 12.04.1 LTS”
After that you can add a “Name” for your instance for better organization. I have named it as “WordPress”.
Now, you need to create a “Key Pair” so that you can connect easily with your server via SSH. Give an easy to remember name to your key pair and download the file. Keep the file in a place that you can remember. As you will need this file to connect with your server.
Next step is to configure the Firewall and make sure that only required ports are open for our server. Create a new security group. I have named it as “WP”. Now, click the dropdown for “Create a new rule” select SSH and click “Add Rule”. Repeat it for HTTP.
And we are done, setting up our instance. Click “Launch”.
Go to “Instances” page and you will see your new server being initialized and in some time it will be up and running. But, it’s not yet ready to run a WordPress site.
We need to setup the essential services to run WP : Apache, PHP and MySQL.
Connect via Terminal
Select the instance which we created above and click “Instance Actions”, in the pop-up menu click on “Connect”
Here you will need to enter the path of key file that you saved to your computer while creating the instance. Once that’s done you can click “Launch SSH Client”. If you wish you can also store key location in browser cache so that you won’t need to re-enter it every time you connect.
Setting up Apache :
Now, we are connected to our server. Next step is to setup Apache. By default, you will be logged in as user : ubuntu. Let’s switch the user to “root” so that we can get complete access. Use the following command to do so:
Use the following command in terminal to install Apache on your server:
After the installation is complete, look for Public DNS of your instance as shown below:
Copy this Public DNS and paste it in browser’s address bar. You will see a test page for Apache like below :
Our Apache is working and now we will install PHP5. For installing PHP5 use following commands in your terminal:
Note: If your PHP installation fails with a message such as “Unable to fetch some archives…” then run the following command and repeat the above process:
Now, your web files placed in /var/www/ can be accessed in the browser via Public DNS.
Let’s create a test PHP file to make sure that we have PHP running properly. Use the following command to do so :
This will create a new PHP file and open editor. Follow the following steps to add content to file :
- Press i to switch to insert mode.
- Type <?php phpinfo() ?>
- Hit escape key
- Type :wq to write the contents to file and quit the editor.
After creating the file run the file in your browser using the address as your-public-dns/mytest.php and it will show a page like below :
Now that PHP is running perfectly on our Apache. We need MySQL for creating database.
Process for installing MySQL is similar to the process we followed for installing PHP. Use the following command in terminal to install MySQL :
During installation process you will be asked to create a password for “root” user. Keep this password safe in your memory or computer because this will be required to access the database later on.
Since we need to run PHP5 with MySQL, we will also install PHP module for MySQL using the following command
After this we can create database and continue with setting up WordPress. But, it will be nice to setup phpMyAdmin visual interface. So, let’s go ahead with it.
Use the following command to install phpMyAdmin and make sure you configure it for “Apache2″ web server :
Follow the instructions on screen and remember the password that you enter in each field. After the installation of phpMyAdmin is complete we need to configure our Apache to make phpMyAdmin accessible via browser.
Use the following command for configuring Apache:
We restart the apache web server so that it picks up our changes.
That’s all done. Now, you can access phpMyAdmin in browser via your-public-dns/phpmyadmin
Enter username : root and the password which you created while installing MySQL.
Login to the admin and create a new database that we will use later for installing WordPress.
Now, we have all essential elements on our virtual server for running WordPress and everything is working perfectly. So, let’s install WordPress.
First we will navigate to the home directory of our server and then download the latest copy of WordPress and extract it to /var/www directory by using the following command :
By default, all the files will be extracted in a directory “wordpress” so your files are at /var/www/wordpress/ to move the files to root of web server and then remove the “wordpress” directory we will use:
Before we install WordPress we need to map our domain name with the virtual server so that the site is accessible easily.
Mapping Domain Name :
Now we have everything ready in place and all we need to do is map our domain with our virtual server. For this you will have to associate an IP with the instance and map the domain name to that IP.
Head back to EC2 console and click “Elastic IPs” in the left pane. Click “Allocate New Address”
Now, you will see a new IP address in the console. Click “Associate Address” to associate this IP with your instance.
Now, switch to back to “Instances” panel and you can check the attachment status.
You will need to connect to your server by IP address now. Your hostname (public DNS) will no longer work, and if you detach the IP, your instance will be assigned a different hostname (public DNS). So, it’s best to not to change IP or detach it.
You can map your domain name to this elastic IP and it will work perfectly.
For now, I am using IP to access and setup the site. I entered elastic IP in address bar followed by /index.php and it came up with WordPress installation page.
That’s all! Now, you can use follow the steps of WordPress installation, enter required details and setup the site.
Oh but wait! I came up with this :
This is because our current apache user doesn’t have rights to write to the file. To fix this error we will grant access rights to our current apache user. First connect to the server via terminal as we did in the beginning and then execute following commands :
Here, www-datais the default apache user.
There is another issue left to be fixed. That is use of htaccess file and Pretty Permalinks in WordPrses. We will enable use of htaccess file and then enable the rewrite engine for Pretty Permalinks.
Enable htaccess and URL Rewrite
To make .htaccess files work as expected, you need to edit default apache file :
Look for :
Press i to enable insert mode and replace AllowOverride None to AllowOverride All. Now hit escape key and type :wq to write the changes to file and exit the editor.
Restart the apache web server for changes to take effect.
Continue with WP installation
Finally! You are all set to run WordPress site on Amazon EC2. Proceed with the installation process and it will work.
Like I have it here:
Here comes the end to my tutorial. I am not a server administrator or a linux expert. This was a result of my hit-and-trial experiments. So, if you have any suggestions for improvement then please feel free to share your comments.