How to host Drupal on AWS Lightsail VM Instance - ServerAvatar

Published : Mar 22, 2023

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AWS Lightsail

AWS Lightsail is a simplified and cost-effective way to launch and manage virtual private servers (VPS) in the cloud. It provides a user-friendly interface for deploying and scaling VPS instances with pre-configured options for operating systems, applications, and storage. Additionally, it offers a predictable pricing model that includes a flat monthly fee based on the instance size and data transfer limits.

Get started with AWS Lightsail


Drupal is a free and open-source CMS platform that allows you to create stunning websites within minutes. In addition, you can use its plenty of themes and modulus to extend the functionality of your site. And with that, it's available in multiple languages, so it's easy to target your users from various countries.

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Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail

To create a server in AWS Lightsail, First log in to the AWS Lightsail console. Once you are there, Follow the steps given below.

Step 1: Go to Instance Creation Form

To access the instance creation form, Go to AWS Lightsail dashboard and click on the orange button with Create Instance text. See the following image for reference.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 1

Step 2: Select the Location of your Instance

First of all, You have to select the location for your instance. It is always better to select a location closest to your major traffic source. It will decrease the latency for majority of your website visitors.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 2

If you want to change the location of your server, You can simply update the current region in your AWS account.

Step 3: Select the OS for your Instance

After selecting the location, Select the operating system for your instance. In this case, First click on OS Only and then select Ubuntu 20.04 as an operating system just like the following image.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 3

Step 4: Select SSH Key and Launch Script (Optional/Advanced)

This is an optional step. Here you can set the Launch script and the main SSH key for your server. If you don't understand launch script and SSH keys, Just ignore this step.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 4

Step 5: Select the Plan

In this step, select the size of your VM instance. AWS Lightsail provides lots of different options when it comes to plans and pricing. The plan and pricing selection completely depends on the requirements of your site(s). So, select the plan based on the complexity and traffic of your sites.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 5

Step 6: Verify and Create the Instance

Finally, Enter the name of your instance, number of instances you want to create and assign the tags accordingly for identification. Once done, click on the Create Instance button to start the instance creation process.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 6

It might take a few minutes to deploy the instance. Once done, follow the below given step to update the firewall rules for the VM instance.

Step 7: Update Firewall Rules

ServerAvatar requires 43210 port open. In total, You need to keep the following ports open on the instance.

  • 22 (SSH): To access your server via SSH.
  • 80 (HTTP): To access your sites on HTTP.
  • 443 (HTTPS): To access your sites on HTTPS.
  • 43210 (ServerAvatar): To allow communication between ServerAvatar and your instance.

To update the firewall rules for a specific instance, Go to the AWS Lightsail dashboard and click on the name of the instance you want to update. Then go to the Networking section and add the missing firewall rules. After updating the firewall rules, the networking section of your Instance should look like the following image.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 7

Initial Server Configuration

The Initial server configuration includes installation and configuration of various packages required to host your website. Usually, You have to write commands and modify configuration files. Luckily, With ServerAvatar, Your full server configuration and optimisation can be automated.

Here are the three ways to automatically configure your server with ServerAvatar.

Install and Setup Drupal CMS with ServerAvatar

Step 1. Download Drupal Latest Release Zip file

Visit Drupal's official site and Download Drupal Latest release zip file. You can see the download page in the following image.

Drupal zip file

Step 2. Create a PHP Application

On the server panel, access the Application tab from the sidebar and click the Create button, as shown in the image below.

Create application

Next, fill in the required details to create an application, including the Application Name and Domain Name.

The latest version of Drupal runs on PHP version 8.1. So to change the version, check the Show Advanced Options box and change the PHP version of your application like the below image.

Create application

Note That:

If you want to host Drupal CMS on your domain, then make sure to point your domain to the current IP address of your server, and for that:

  1. Log in to your hosting provider site, where you buy your domain. You can check your domain information with one click.

  2. Access DNS Manager to edit your DNS records(contact the support team if you don’t find them)

  3. Change the IP address of A Record of your website to the current server’s IP address.

Click the Create Application button after filling in the required details.

Step 3. Create Drupal Database

On the server panel, Click the Database tab from the sidebar to create a MySQL database for Drupal.

Create database

ServerAvatar will create a database by filling in database details, including Database Name, Username, and Password.

Database creation form

Once you are done, Click the Create Database button, and ServerAvatar will create your database in seconds.

Step 4. Upload the Drupal Zip file

ServerAvatar has a built-in File Manager feature, so you won't need FTP clients to manage files.

To Upload a zip file on your application, go to the application panel of your created application in step 2 and click the File Manager tab.

Delete the index.html directory

Now access the public_html directory and delete the index.html directory to avoid forbidden errors on the site.

Delete the index.html directory

Upload Drupal Zip file

After deleting the file, it’s time to upload the Drupal zip file to the public_html directory. And for that, Click on the upload icon or Drag and Drop the zip file from your system.

Upload Drupal zip file

Uncompress the Zip file

Unzip/Uncompress the uploaded Zip file in the public_html directory like the following image.

Uncompress zip file

Delete the zip file after successfully uncompressed.

Move files to public directory

Click on the folder created in the public_html directory where all the files are located. Select all files, including hidden files and move them to the public_html folder.

Move files to the public directory

Step 5. Install SSL Certificate

SeverAvatar allows you to install automatic SSL certificates with one click to keep users' data secure and verify your site ownership.

To install SSL on your website, click the SSL Certificates tab from the application panel.

Install SSL

Click the Automatic Installation button like the above image. You can also ensure Force HTTP to HTTPS to secure the communication between the browser and your website.

Step 6. Install and Setup Drupal

Open the URL of your application on the web browser. The setup page will appear like the following image.

Choose language

Drupal supports more than 100 languages.

Drupal choose language

Choose the one you want for your site and click the Save and Continue button.

Choose Profile

Select a profile from the given three installation profiles.

Select installation profile

It would be recommended to Install the Standard profile and click the Save and continue button.

Verify Requirements

It verifies your site requirements and redirects to the next step if everything is fine.

Set up database

Enter the database credentials that we have created in step 3. It includes the database name, database user, and password.

Drupal database configuration

Advanced Options include-

  • Host: leave this field as it is if your database is hosted on the same server as an application
  • Port Number: 3306 is recommended for MySQL/Aurora/MariaDB
  • Table Name Prefix: Enter the database table name prefix as your choice

Click the Save and continue button.

Install Site

It can proceed to install Drupal on your site if all the information is correct. It’ll show you the installation status like the following image.

Install Drupal process

Configure Site

Site Information

Enter your site information, including-

  • Site Name: Enter the name of your site as you want.
  • Site Email Address: Automated emails related to the site, including reset password and registration details, will be sent from this email.

Configure site

Site Maintenance account

Enter a Special user account information that can perform account-level tasks such as making backups and applying site updates. The account you set up has full administrative privileges.

Site maintenance

  • Username: Enter a username that is used for logging in to the Drupal Administrative interface
  • Password: Enter the password for the admin login
  • Email Address: Ente admin email address
Regional Settings

Enter the regional specific information, including-

Regional settings

  • Default Country: Select the name of your country.
  • Default Time Zone: Select a time zone based on your location

Tick all the boxes under the Update Notification section to automatically check for updates and receive notifications.

Click the Save and continue button after filling in the required details.

Step 7. Drupal Admin panel

Completing all the above steps results in access to the Drupal admin panel, which looks like the following image.

Drupal admin panel

That’s it. Now you can create an intuitive website or complex web application easily with a few clicks.