Can I Use Aws For Web Hosting – Web application hosting is one of the primary IT needs of most businesses today. Every company that wants to go mobile and improve their web footprint needs to understand their web application hosting architecture.
As businesses increasingly move to the cloud, the ability to take advantage of the benefits offered by cloud providers, rather than increasing existing resources, is also important.
Can I Use Aws For Web Hosting
Amazon Web Services provides us with reference documents for specific use cases (see image above) that include a recommended architecture for web application hosting. You can find the PDF for further reference.
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Although Amazon’s reference document is self-explanatory, it assumes the reader has prior familiarity with AWS services and does not explain the flow of data from the user to the servers and back.
The reference architecture provided in this blog makes some minor changes to the architecture provided by AWS, while trying to explain the how and why of each component in the overall scheme of things.
Sorry for using non-AWS approved icons/symbols. I should have mentioned the power point before I started the presentation, but I’m too far gone now to get the icon back. I will work on fixing them in the future. That being said, most of these icons are still accurate and won’t mislead the reader into something else.
2. Now, let’s assume that a user opens a website address or opens an app on their device. This is called an “http request” that needs to be answered.
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Now, what happens behind the scenes is that users like you and me only remember human readable domain names (eg www.amazon.com). However, in the network world, every device has a unique IP address (eg 10.184.255.255).
Essentially, even the website a user wants to visit is a server with a unique IP address. Now, there must be a translation service (like a telephone directory) that maps a human-readable website address to its equivalent IP address. This service is called DNS.
AWS’s own DNS service is called route 53 (53 is a reference to the DNS port number, which is only for DNS).
3. The next logical step is to redirect the http request to the web server. However, as shown, it makes sense to take advantage of cloud services to improve our business efficiency.
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A content delivery network is a cluster of servers around the world called “remote locations”. These cached versions or frequently used data are as close to your end user as possible.
Imagine that your end user (client) is located in Germany. Your web application is hosted on a server in Northern Virginia, USA. CDNs offer to host a cached version of the site on servers located in Berlin, so your German user will have no trouble accessing the site (only if your web application is less responsive).
CDNs take up some of your cloud resources and can be used to host static web pages, often without receiving too much data per new HTTP request.
In the end, how you use a CDN is your strategy, but using a CDN ticks the right boxes in our architectural requirements.
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AWS CloudFront acts as a CDN service that can cache content/frequently accessed data in remote locations, reducing user latency and cloud server usage.
4. The next logical flow of an HTTP request (if not satisfactorily resolved in the cloud field) is to connect to the cloud environment.
This is called an “Internet Gateway” by AWS parlance. Internet Gateway (IGW), as its name suggests, is a gateway that establishes a secure and stable connection between the cloud environment and the free and open world of the Internet. In other words, any cloud environment equipped with an Internet gateway can freely communicate with Internet-connected devices.
At the cloud end (in this case, AWS), cloud network regions are called Availability Zones. A good example would be Canada. Canada is a so-called “region”. There are several availability zones within the Canadian “region” that physically host the servers that run your web applications.
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AWS Regions and Availability Zones exist in the cloud environment to distribute workloads across physical environments and avoid a single point of failure. A good web application architecture will take advantage of multiple regions/capability zones.
From a networking perspective, we have Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs). A VPC is a logical network instance of the cloud. Think of it as your Facebook profile. By signing up with Facebook, you no longer have Facebook as a company. You own the photos, videos, content, and everything else in your account that you upload to your account. Also, a VPC lets you manage all the servers, databases, and other infrastructure resources deployed in your AWS account.
5. As mentioned earlier, any good architecture will enhance the use of regions and access zones that can deliver web content to users despite physical catastrophes.
Going forward, our architecture will have at least 2 capability zones per region. The idea is that one AZ acts as a backup when the other fails. Of course, you are free to choose additional AZs as needed (and if AWS is offered in the region you choose).
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Networks equivalent to this design are called subnets. Since a VPC is the network equivalent of a region, a subnet is the network equivalent of an Availability Zone. Again, a subnet cannot span multiple AZs and must be limited to a single AZ. A static site serves content in a reserved format. No server-side code execution is required. For example, if a static website contains HTML documents that display images, it renders the HTML and images to the browser without changing the content of the files.
Static websites load faster because content is delivered and can be cached by a content delivery network (CDN). The web server does not need to perform application logic or database queries. They are relatively inexpensive to develop and adopt. However, it is difficult to maintain large static websites using automated tools, and static websites cannot provide personal information.
Static websites are best when content is updated frequently. As content grows in complexity or needs to be regularly updated, personalized, or dynamically created, it’s best to consider a dynamic site architecture.
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Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) can host static websites without the need for a web server. The website is highly functional and scalable at a fraction of the cost of a traditional web server. Amazon S3 cloud storage provides you with secure, durable and high-volume object storage. A simple web service interface allows you to store and retrieve any data from anywhere on the web
You begin by creating an Amazon S3 bucket, setting up Amazon S3 statistical site hosting functions, and configuring bucket access permissions. After uploading files, Amazon S3 takes care of serving your content to visitors.
Amazon S3 provides HTTP web service capabilities, and content can be viewed by any browser. To point your domain to an Amazon S3 bucket, you need to configure Amazon Route 53, a managed Domain Name System (DNS) service. Figure 3 shows this architecture for the http://example.com domain.
Amazon S3 is inherently scalable. For popular websites, Amazon S3 can handle thousands of HTTP or HTTPS requests per second without any architecture changes.
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Also, by hosting with Amazon S3, the site is highly scalable. Amazon S3 is designed for 99.999999999% reliability and carries a 99.9% service level agreement (SLA). Amazon gives you access to a large-scale, reliable, fast and cost-effective infrastructure that Amazon runs on its global network of websites. By uploading files to Amazon S3, Amazon S3 automatically replicates your content across multiple data centers. Even if the entire data center goes down, your static website will continue to function and be available to end users.
Compare this solution to the traditional free implementation of “active-active” hosting for critical projects. Deploying live or web servers in two different data centers is prohibitive in terms of server costs and engineering time. like
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