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We have seen a big wave of new product launches around cloud computing and hosting since last year. And it has even become hotter during the past few weeks. Recently Amazon announced it's Free Usage Tier starting from November 1st, 2010. In this tutorial we will show you how to get your own Joomla (or Drupal, Wordpress) site hosted for free with Amazon EC2.

Video 1: Register a free Amazon EC2 account

If you have already an Amazon account you can simply skip watching the first part and go to the second video.

Video 2: Launch and Configure an EC2 Instance

1. Sign-in your EC2 account.

2. Launch Instance using JoomlArt's AMIs and choose instance type "t1.micro". It is the smallest EC2 instance type and available in the Amazon Free Tier.

3. Enable HTTP port under "Security Groups" to access your website.

4. Associate an Elastic IP to your EC2 instance.

5. Point your DNS of your Domain to EC2 Elastic IP.

Remember we will keep maintaining the AMIs sheet and will add other public AMIs as well so that you can have more options of server environments.

Hope you could successfully try out your own Joomla cloud hosted website and enjoy the benefits Amazon EC2 brings.


The "FREE" Checklist

Amazon EC2 Free Tier is free, as in "free beer". But remember, you will only get the first beer free. After launching the instant, you should:

1. Stop the instance if you are not going to use it. (of cause your site is not ready to be published)

2. Release any Elastic IPs that you don't use. Elastic IPs is free if it is associated with an active (running) instance. The Elastic IPs will be automatically disassociated when you stop the instance. You can keep the IP so that you don't have to change DNS of your domain but you WILL be charged. The best way is to release and request a new one when you want to use the instance again.

3. Check your cloud usage via your Amazon E2 Console to make sure you are in free tier.

Q & A

Q : What is an AMI? What is an EC2 instance?

A : AMI stands for Amazon Machine Image, which is a virtual machine image consisting applications, libraries, data, and associated configuration settings which together builds a software stack that runs your website. An analogy would be: AMI is the architecture plan, and EC2 instance would be the completed house constructed according to this plan.


Q : How to connect my instance via SSH to access files and databases?

A : Follow 5 steps below.

  1. You have to enable SSH port under "Security Groups" to access your website.
  2. Open a SSH client (e.g Putty) and locate your private key file (myKey.pem)
  3. Use chmod to make sure your key file isn't publicly viewable, ssh won't work otherwise. Enter the following command line:
  4. chmod 400 myKey.pem
  5. Connect to your instance using instance's public DNS. Example,enter the following command line:
  6. ssh -i myKey.pem ubuntu@[ec2-public-dns]

Q : How can I enable FTP port for my Instance?

A : Under "Security Groups" create a new Custom Connection Method for your current group with these options:

  • Protocol: TCP
  • From Port: 21, To Port: 21
  • Source: 0.0.0.0/0

Does the EC2 work well?

I hope this tutorial is useful for you, especially when you are new to Joomla and Cloud hosting. If you find the Amazon EC2 cloud working well for you, kindly let us know in the comments. From your feedback, we may provide a new tutorial on how to move your site from Amazon EC2 to your own web server or directly to your computer for the ease of customization & development.

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