Light on Dark -:- User Guides

More on Instances

We have a server running, but what is it called? In order to access this server we need to either find out what it is called, or give it a name, and there are several steps involved. Firstly we need to understand a bit about how AWS creates an instance.

When AWS creates a new instance, it assigns a public IP address and set this up in DNS, using a naming convention which corresponds to the IP address. If you go into the AWS management console, select an instance and look at its properties in the bottom pane, you will see the public DNS setting like this:

Public DNS

this is a dynamic IP address and a dynamic DNS setting, and it will change if you restart the instance. If you are just setting up a quick, temporary server then you can use this public DNS address; however for general use it is better to use a static IP address, and better still to set this up in the DNS.

In AWS, a 'static' IP address is known as an elastic IP, and instructions for setting one up are here. Once you have set this up, you can set up your existing DNS or you can use Amazon's Route 53 for your DNS server. If you need assistance with DNS, please ask in the forum. One major advantage of using an elastic IP address is that can easily be moved to a new instance, so there are no propagation delays which would be generated by changing the DNS.


Right, we have a server running and we know how to address it – so how do we connect to it?  We need to use SSH – so if you have a client, fire it up and use the key you downloaded earlier. For a quick guide to doing this in PuTTY, please click here.  

The first thing you will be asked to do is to log in. Traditionally in Linux you would login as 'root', but in Ubuntu the root user does not have a password and is usually disabled. If you try to login as root, you will get a message as shown here:
root user

so, try again with the ubuntu user:
Ubuntu user

Those of you familiar with Linux may be surprised at the coloured bar across the bottom. This is Byobu, which as it says is a light, powerful text window manager. My experience of it on AWS is that it does not work happily with putty, and does not like the slow connection to a cloud computer. I would suggest that you start by typing in 'byobu-disable' which has the effect of shutting down the session and allowing you to start a new one without Byobu.

What next

There are several options now, depending on whether you are building a quick and dirty test server, or something which will be used either as a private or public access server.

The first question is how much data will you be storing on the server? The default image we have built this server from has 8 GB of virtual disk storage attached, which is adequate for the application but may not last long when uploading video files. If you feel this is inadequate, please add more disk to your server – but be aware of the cost.

you will also need to check the security settings, to ensure that only authorised people can access the server. There are two parts to this; setting up the firewall (security groups) and setting up users. If you are not familiar with the Linux command line, you might wish to install WebMin to give your graphical view of your users.

Once you are happy with the setup, we are ready to login and install the LAMP server just as if this were a normal Ubuntu server.

just making sure we have a vertical scroll bar, otherwise it jitters sideways.