Skip to main content

Static Websites: Discount Hosting in the Cloud

Broadly speaking, when it comes to communicating on the web, there are static websites and dynamic websites.

A static website is one whose pages are stored on a server in the exact format that is sent to a client web browser. It is primarily coded in HTML. (For more details, you might like to take this Cloud Academy course on static website hosting.)

A dynamic website is one that changes or can be designed to be customized on the fly. Dynamic sites can be built using programming languages like PHP, Perl, Python, and Ruby.

In this first post, I’ll provide an example of how to set up a very simple static website, and show how surprisingly cheap it can be to host a static website on Amazon’s S3. Part two of this blog series will focus on the more complicated, demanding (and costly) dynamic websites.

Hosting a static website on AWS

  • The first thing that you will need to do is create an index.html file to use are your site’s main page. Let’s try this.
<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>
Cloud Academy static website example
</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<H1>Hi</H1>
<P>Cloud Academy is awesome!</P>
</BODY>
</HTML>
  • Now, using S3, I’ll create a bucket called cloudacademyblog and upload our index.html file to it. If you’re not sure how to do that, read Uploading Objects into Amazon S3 in the Amazon Simple Storage Service Console User Guide.
  • While viewing our bucket’s Static Website Hosting properties within the AWS S3 console, we’ll need to
    – enable website hosting
    – note our endpoint (mine is cloudacademyblog.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com) which will be our website address
    – set index.html as the Index Document as shown below
Static Website: Enabling website hosting
  • Also in Properties, under permissions, you’ll need to “add a bucket policy” like the one below (replacing your bucket name for cloudacademyblog is in this example):
{
    "Statement":[{
	"Sid":"PublicReadForGetBucketObjects",
        "Effect":"Allow",
	  "Principal": "*",
      "Action":["s3:GetObject"],
      "Resource":["arn:aws:s3:::cloudacademyblog/*"
      ]
    }
  ]
}

That’s it. Very simple. Very quick.

Let’s now check out our new website by going to cloudacademyblog.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com.

Here’s what we see:
Static website: Example
Not the greatest website ever built but certainly up there with the cheapest. You can, of course, add new pages, links, and images, but keep in mind that you should stick to HTML – as this is a static website. If your site requires fancy PHP (a WordPress, site, for example) you’ll need to come up with another solution. Or just read part two of this post.

Static websites: how much do they cost?

If you were to leave it at that and not worry about changing the domain name to something a little more user-friendly, then this site is virtually free. If you keep adding content – especially videos and image files, your costs are still going to be reasonably well contained as there are no set-up fees or commitments to begin using the service and you only pay for what you use.

Going static offers some terrific advantages:

  • A fast and efficient way to deliver content.
  • Does not require any code or backend databases, which can make content delivery more secure.
  • Uses simple, clean URLs for addresses.
  • Takes advantage of web caching systems, further boosting performance.
  • Is compatible with every type of web server technology.

But let’s not forget the disadvantages:

  • You won’t be able to incorporate any interactive functionality or e-commerce tools.
  • There’s no way to use popular CMS systems like WordPress.

One of the best things about AWS is that you can play around as much as you want and as long as you take some reasonable precautions you can’t get yourself into too much trouble. So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself an AWS account if you haven’t already got one and build yourself a static website.

Look out for part two of this article when I will take you through the cheapest option on setting up a dynamic website on AWS.

Avatar

Written by

Michael Sheehy

I have been UNIX/Linux System Administrator for the past 15 years and am slowly moving those skills into the AWS Cloud arena. I am passionate about AWS and Cloud Technologies and the exciting future that it promises to bring.

Related Posts

Jeff Hyatt
Jeff Hyatt
— June 18, 2019

10 Steps for an Effective Reserved Instances Strategy

Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers three different ways to pay for EC2 Instances: On-Demand, Reserved Instances, and Spot Instances. This article will focus on effective strategies for purchasing Reserved Instances. While most of the major cloud platforms offer pre-pay and reservation dis...

Read more
  • AWS
  • EC2
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— June 18, 2019

AWS Certification Practice Exam: What to Expect from Test Questions

If you’re building applications on the AWS cloud or looking to get started in cloud computing, certification is a way to build deep knowledge in key services unique to the AWS platform. AWS currently offers 11 certifications that cover major cloud roles including Solutions Architect, De...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Certifications
Avatar
John Chell
— June 13, 2019

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate: A Study Guide

The AWS Solutions Architect - Associate Certification (or Sol Arch Associate for short) offers some clear benefits: Increases marketability to employers Provides solid credentials in a growing industry (with projected growth of as much as 70 percent in five years) Market anal...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Certifications
Chris Gambino and Joe Niemiec
Chris Gambino and Joe Niemiec
— June 11, 2019

Moving Data to S3 with Apache NiFi

Moving data to the cloud is one of the cornerstones of any cloud migration. Apache NiFi is an open source tool that enables you to easily move and process data using a graphical user interface (GUI).  In this blog post, we will examine a simple way to move data to the cloud using NiFi c...

Read more
  • AWS
  • S3
Avatar
Chandan Patra
— June 11, 2019

Amazon DynamoDB: 10 Things You Should Know

Amazon DynamoDB is a managed NoSQL service with strong consistency and predictable performance that shields users from the complexities of manual setup.Whether or not you've actually used a NoSQL data store yourself, it's probably a good idea to make sure you fully understand the key ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • DynamoDB
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— June 6, 2019

The 11 AWS Certifications: Which is Right for You and Your Team?

As companies increasingly shift workloads to the public cloud, cloud computing has moved from a nice-to-have to a core competency in the enterprise. This shift requires a new set of skills to design, deploy, and manage applications in cloud computing.As the market leader and most ma...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Certifications
Sam Ghardashem
Sam Ghardashem
— May 15, 2019

Aviatrix Integration of a NextGen Firewall in AWS Transit Gateway

Learn how Aviatrix’s intelligent orchestration and control eliminates unwanted tradeoffs encountered when deploying Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Firewalls with AWS Transit Gateway.Deploying any next generation firewall in a public cloud environment is challenging, not because of the f...

Read more
  • AWS
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— May 3, 2019

AWS Config Best Practices for Compliance

Use AWS Config the Right Way for Successful ComplianceIt’s well-known that AWS Config is a powerful service for monitoring all changes across your resources. As AWS Config has constantly evolved and improved over the years, it has transformed into a true powerhouse for monitoring your...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Compliance
Avatar
Francesca Vigliani
— April 30, 2019

Cloud Academy is Coming to the AWS Summits in Atlanta, London, and Chicago

Cloud Academy is a proud sponsor of the 2019 AWS Summits in Atlanta, London, and Chicago. We hope you plan to attend these free events that bring the cloud computing community together to connect, collaborate, and learn about AWS. These events are all about learning. You can learn how t...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Summits
Paul Hortop
Paul Hortop
— April 2, 2019

How to Monitor Your AWS Infrastructure

The AWS cloud platform has made it easier than ever to be flexible, efficient, and cost-effective. However, monitoring your AWS infrastructure is the key to getting all of these benefits. Realizing these benefits requires that you follow AWS best practices which constantly change as AWS...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Monitoring
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— April 1, 2019

AWS EC2 Instance Types Explained

Amazon Web Services’ resource offerings are constantly changing, and staying on top of their evolution can be a challenge. Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instances are one of their core resource offerings, and they form the backbone of most cloud deployments. EC2 instances provide you with...

Read more
  • AWS
  • EC2
Avatar
Nitheesh Poojary
— March 26, 2019

How DNS Works – the Domain Name System (Part One)

Before migrating domains to Amazon's Route53, we should first make sure we properly understand how DNS worksWhile we'll get to AWS's Route53 Domain Name System (DNS) service in the second part of this series, I thought it would be helpful to first make sure that we properly understand...

Read more
  • AWS