How to setup WordPress & WooCommerce on AWS using Cloudways

How to setup WordPress & WooCommerce on AWS using Cloudways featured image

This guide is intended to show how to setup a WordPress and WooCommerce installation on Cloudways (a managed cloud hosting panel, which does most of the “heavy lifting” when it comes to setting up all the necessary components to run a cloud hosted web application).

It contains our Cloudways referal link and also there’s our voucher code which will get you some money off – though our reason for posting this tutorial is very specifically in order for clients where we recommend this as an appropriate hosting option.

Some quick reasons why this is a nice entry point to hosting a WordPress and WooCommerce website in the AWS cloud include things like automated backups, Let’s Encrypt support out of the box, as well as an optimized WooCommerce hosting environment which includes great speed optimizations like Varnish, Nginx proxying, the latest versions of PHP and more…

How to setup a WooCommerce store with Cloudways

This guide assumes you do not currently have a Cloudways account, so step one is:

1) Signup a new Cloudways account

  1. Visit this link, and click the green button which says “Get started for free”.
  2. Enter your email address, intended password, and the dropdown boxes, then press “Start Free”.

2) Setup your initial account with AWS as the hosting provider

Select the most recent version of WordPress and WooCommerce under “Select your application”.

  • Give your application a name, like “Shop X Webstore”
  • Give your server a name like “Shop X AWS Server”
  • Give your project a name like “Shop X Hosting”

Choose AWS as hosting provider

Other services may be a little cheaper, but AWS has some big advantages which make it really superb for hosting WordPress & WooCommerce. Firstly: database and files in dedicated instances; secondly, locations all over the world; thirdly, you can scale up and back down at the click of a button. With (most) other services, you cannot scale back down, meaning you have extra work to clone applications into new servers if ever you want to scale down.

This makes AWS a great choice for spiky sales (like Black Friday). Of course, you could hire us to clone, scale, and setup your servers each time you scale, but that’s firstly long winded, and secondly, its going to cost you whatever you would have saved in instance costs (as a general rule). There are economies of scale here, but this guide is intended for those on the small to middle end of the size spectrum.

Bandwidth – leave at 2GB (for now)

You can leave this where it is. Its only a cost estimation in any case – not prepaid.

Instance size – small (at first)

For the “free trial” and initial installation, you may not be allowed to select the larger options in AWS, until billing is setup, so choose a smaller instance than perhaps you needed. Stick with the Small instance size.

Files and database sizes

The thing to be aware of if you are importing (migrating) a store from elsewhere is the size of the files and the database. As a rule of thumb, allow at least 2x the amount of space your actual site files and database takes up. I recommend much more than that. But you should not go smaller than double, as this has some performance ramifications. Storage space is relatively cheap, so think 5x your current size.

For a clean install, the opening minimum values should be sufficient – so 2GB for files and 2GB for database – these can be scaled later if needed (see below!).

Location – IMPORTANT!!

Probably the most important factor when setting up your new server is the location. Choose the location which is physically closest to your target market – i.e. which is nearest to where you expect most of your customers will come from. This will mean the site is fast as possible for these users; it will lead to happier customers, better local search ranking, and ultimately, as a result, more sales.

Choose the best location.

Hit Launch Now

The launch now button is at the bottom right. Hit this now. It will start building and say something like 10 minutes for time. Go and have coffee! It will be up and running soon!

3) Setup billing

You’ll want to login, and visit “Account” then click “Credit Card” to setup your billing – this should be done before you begin to incur costs, at least if you are planning to use this account for hosting a real application.

NOTE that for some larger instances, on new accounts, you may sometimes need to “pre-pay” an amount. I recommend 1-2 months expected fees for this. For that, click “funds”.

4) Scaling up your application

If you do decide to scale up your server size for this application on AWS – and for a WooCommerce store, there is every chance you might need to – then you should click “Servers” at the top left, and then select “Shop X AWS Server” (or whatever you called this in step 2!).

Then, select “Vertical Scaling” and choose the instance type you require and press “Scale Now”.

Here is also where you (by selecting the relevant tab) will be able to increase disk size for both the application and the database.

If you are a Silicon Dales client, we will most likely toggle this setting on your behalf, or make specific recommendations about the instance sizes you require here.

5) Get logged into your new WordPress & WooCommerce application

Open the Application tab, and select your new “Shop X Webstore” application, and you’ll find all the relevant access details in there.

This is also where you’ll setup the domain and other things, once you’re ready to point a physical domain at your store, but we’ll leave this tutorial for another time, as its going to be determined by what “setup” involves for your site.

The above instructions will get you a new Cloudways account, install WordPress and WooCommerce onto a small server, and get your billing setup ready to scale up when necessary.

It should be complete in around 15-20 minutes start to finish. The same is rarely true when installing on AWS bare metal, so you’re saving much time, as well as gaining some support from Cloudways too. That’s worthwhile for mid-sized stores running WooCommerce, in our experience.

Contact Silicon Dales for help

If you’d like paid help with this process, please don’t hesitate to contact Silicon Dales. We work often with Cloudways, and also, we’re AWS Consulting Partners, so we’re really familiar with the AWS product offering, and managing your own WordPress based clusted on AWS direct, too, should your WP or Woo requirements grow to this level at any stage.

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