AWS Lightsail’s features and benchmark result


This page provides an introduction and explanation of the features, functions, and pricing of AWS’s VPS Lightsail.

Amazon Lightsail Official Site

General Features of AWS Lightsail

As a brief summary of AWS Lightsail, it essentially lacks features like CPU burst capabilities found in AWS EC2 instances (as of May 2024, up to 32GB memory is t3-based, while 64GB memory is m7i-flex.4xlarge-based), and although it operates on a fixed monthly fee basis, it behaves differently from conventional VPS services.
Lightsail based on t3 tends to become difficult to use as CPU performance randomly drops suddenly when heavily utilized, while m7i-flex-based Lightsail experiences sporadic drops in CPU performance.
While it is provided to be easier to use than AWS, it is more suitable for those who have experience using AWS and understand its advantages and disadvantages, allowing them to utilize Lightsail accordingly.

① Volatility (servers can be created and disposed of on an hourly basis)
② Redundancy (service continuity even if one server goes down = requires load balancer, local connections, etc.)
③ Scalability (upgrade in specs while maintaining data)
These fulfill the three conditions of the cloud and represent an advanced cloud-type VPS that goes beyond the framework of VPS.

Information on Free Tier

If you haven’t used the free tier yet:
Linux/Unix Bundle 3 Months Free: $3.50/month, $5/month, $10/month
Windows Bundle 3 Months Free: $8/month, $12/month, $20/month
are available for use.

Amazon Lightsail Pricing and Plan Overview

The following prices are in US dollars excluding taxes, which are charged separately.

Linux Plans and Pricing

Windows Plans and Pricing

Unlike Linux, Windows incurs additional charges for the OS, making it more expensive compared to the Linux version.
For example, in the 512MB memory plan, Linux costs $5 while Windows costs $9.5, roughly twice the price.

Container Service Plans and Pricing

Database (DBaaS) Plans and Pricing

Single server configuration pricing

Normally, when using DBaaS for redundancy, you need to be concerned about the pricing for redundant types.
To make it redundant, you need twice the number of servers, so the price simply doubles from the above amounts.

Object Storage

Additional Disk (Block Disk)

Load Balancer

$18 per month.

Data Transfer Charges Beyond Free Tier

Each plan has a free data transfer tier, but if exceeded, in Japan it costs
Japan: 0.14 USD/GB.
While the figure for AWS proper is low (100GB/month per region), resulting in immediate charges, Lightsail provides a significantly larger free transfer tier, perhaps due to strong competition from other VPS providers.

Features List of Amazon Lightsail

While VPC Peering is possible, it’s limited to the default VPC only

Key Features to Note About Amazon Lightsail

Since it’s based on AWS EC2 instances (Elastic Cloud Compute / servers), understanding the differences and using them accordingly is necessary.

Similarities (but significant differences from regular VPS compared to AWS EC2)

Similarities to AWS EC2 include significant performance degradation when using a certain amount of CPU continuously.
For example, in the 0.5GB memory plan, performance drops to 1/20, making it practically unusable, so you need to avoid such situations.
If you have a site with an average CPU utilization of more than 5% per hour, which is fine up to 5% for the current cheapest Amazon Lightsail plan, the CPU will maintain the same performance as other plans, but exceeding that time will result in a performance drop to 5% = 1/20, causing traffic to accumulate and eventually the server becoming unresponsive, leading to a nightmare scenario.

Similarly, like EC2, if it’s stopped, the IP address changes upon startup.

Differences Benefiting Lightsail Over AWS EC2

1. In terms of pricing, instance costs are cheaper than EC2 on-demand, equivalent or cheaper than EC2 1-year upfront payment, but more expensive than EC2 3-year upfront payment.
The free tier for network transfer is large, in terabytes. For example, with EC2, consuming 1TB of transfer costs $13680 yen (based on October 2018 network bandwidth price at Tokyo DC), but here it’s mostly free.

However, if you’re close to exhausting the free tier, you might hit CPU credit limits first, resulting in a bottleneck with decreased CPU performance.

Furthermore, while EC2/EC3 doesn’t charge for data IN, Lightsail includes both data IN and OUT in its free transfer tier calculation (with only OUT for excess calculation).

Differences Disadvantaging Lightsail Compared to AWS EC2

1. Unlike AWS EC2, Lightsail lacks measures to maintain performance when exceeding CPU limits (auto-scale, Unlimited Burst feature), making it quite inconvenient unless it’s for underutilized sites or use cases where reduced CPU performance isn’t an issue.
Unlike EC2, Lightsail incurs charges even when stopped.

Since VPCs are specific to Lightsail, to communicate with other AWS EC2 instances or DBs, you need VPC Peer connections (pay-as-you-go) instead of going through the Public Internet, which is less secure and consumes network transfer quotas.

Unlike EC2, there are no Reserved Instances or Spot Instances in Lightsail to lower costs.

Since IAM roles cannot be assigned, server-level authentication security settings like accessing S3 without authentication from that instance cannot be configured.

There’s no concept of security groups, so security management via subnet + security groups isn’t possible.

Lightsail Specific Feature: Migration Support to EC2 Instances

You can now launch AWS EC2/EC3 instances using snapshots taken in Lightsail.
This provides an escape route for upgrading when the functionalities and performance of Lightsail are insufficient, which is significant.

Utilizing Lightsail with Awareness of AWS EC

Considering the above similarities and differences, in general,
– For sites with low CPU usage and no sudden spikes in traffic expected
– To leverage Lightsail’s large free network transfer tier
– For those already using AWS who want to increase options based on understanding the advantages and disadvantages
It is suitable for such scenarios.
If you want to avoid the mentioned drawbacks and constraints, it’s better to use AWS EC2 instances or conventional VPS from other providers.

Ultimately, without understanding AWS, cost-effectiveness and operational optimization can be challenging, so Lightsail is more suitable for those who understand AWS services, comprehend the drawbacks, and aim to utilize the benefits accordingly.

In my case, as dealing with those is troublesome, if using AWS, I simply use EC2 instead of Lightsail (^^;

Reviews and User Opinions on Amazon Lightsail

Good Points
– Being able to pay together with AWS is good.
– Easier to set up compared to AWS, similar to rental servers.
Bad Points

Installation of easily installable software doesn’t increase much.
Since few people are aware of the limitations and differences from AWS (not apparent just by looking at the site), many tend to express satisfaction with its cost-effectiveness and functionality compared to AWS. It’s often mentioned that it’s easy to use compared to AWS EC2 and can be set up quickly.

However, as evident from the explanations on this page, if the site doesn’t attract many visitors, it’s not a problem at all, but ultimately, various constraints become burdensome when traffic increases, leading to migration. However, there are few people who have mastered Amazon Lightsail to that extent, and cases where it’s used for light trial purposes are prominent.

Easy Install Supported Software for Amazon Lightsail

Amazon Lightsail Benchmark Results

Setting up and Launching Amazon Lightsail

Please refer to “Amazon Lightsail Configuration/Usage“.

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