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Amazon EC2 Overview

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a core cloud service provided by AWS, allowing users to provision highly customizable virtual cloud servers. EC2 instances serve as blank slates, offering flexibility for diverse applications. With a plethora of instance types, users can choose CPU, memory, storage, GPU, and networking-optimized configurations based on their specific use cases. EC2 seamlessly integrates with various AWS services, making it a versatile solution for a wide range of applications, from small web services to complex machine-learning workloads.

AWS LightSail Overview

AWS LightSail, designed for simplicity, offers pre-configured cloud servers tailored for specific applications like LAMP, WordPress, Node.js, or Magento. This service targets beginners and non-technical users, streamlining the setup process by eliminating the need for manual software installations. While LightSail is user-friendly and efficient for small to medium-scale web applications, it is not as versatile as EC2.

AWS LightSail vs. EC2: Key Differences

  1. Usage
  • LightSail: Ideal for simple web applications and websites, recommended for beginners.
  • EC2: Suited for applications of all sizes, from small web apps to large-scale Big Data and machine learning projects.
  1. Ease of Use
  • LightSail: User-friendly with a few clicks for server setup and application deployment.
  • EC2: Requires more manual configuration and may involve additional services for streamlined deployment workflows.
  1. Network and Subnets
  • LightSail: Network managed by AWS; no native support for subnets.
  • EC2: Users manage the network through VPCs, Security Groups, and Subnets, supporting both public and private subnets.
  1. Scalability
  • LightSail: Limited scalability; instances cannot be automatically scaled.
  • EC2: Highly scalable using Auto Scaling Groups for horizontal scaling.
  1. EBS Volumes
  • LightSail: Does not support EBS Volumes.
  • EC2: Supports EBS Volumes for flexible storage.
  1. Pricing
  • LightSail: Fixed per-month pricing with a 3-month free tier.
  • EC2: Various pricing models including on-demand and reserved instances; 12-month free tier available.
  1. Load Balancing
  • LightSail: Native load balancing feature.
  • EC2: Offers four types of load balancers with specific use cases.
  1. Monitoring
  • LightSail: Limited monitoring parameters.
  • EC2: Extensive metrics and monitoring options.
  1. Encryption
  • LightSail: AWS-managed encryption enabled by default.
  • EC2: Users can choose to enable or disable encryption.

Use Cases


  • Dev/test environments for cost-effective setups.
  • Beginners exploring AWS with limited cloud knowledge.
  • Cases requiring predictable monthly costs.
  • All-in-one console for load balancers, networking, and databases.


  • Complex applications with varying workloads.
  • Applications in private subnets.
  • Demand for automatic scalability.
  • Need for complete control and flexibility over instances.
  • Optimized instance types for specific use cases.

Pricing Comparison

AWS LightSail

  • Fixed Monthly Pricing: LightSail operates on a fixed “per-month” pricing model, ranging from $3.5 to $160. The pricing is determined by the specific type and specifications of the LightSail instance.
  • Free Tier Availability: Users benefit from a 3-month free tier upon signup, allowing them to explore LightSail’s capabilities without incurring charges during the initial period.


  • On-Demand Instances: EC2 offers on-demand instances with a pay-as-you-go pricing model. Users pay a fixed rate for computing capacity based on actual usage.
  • Reserved Instances: For users with predictable workloads, EC2 provides reserved instances. This involves a commitment for a specific duration, offering a discounted rate compared to on-demand pricing.
  • Free Tier Offering: EC2 includes a 12-month free tier from the signup date, enabling users to access limited computing resources without incurring charges during the initial year.



AWS LightSail:

  • Suited for users seeking simplicity with predictable fixed monthly costs.
  • Ideal for beginners exploring AWS, with the added benefit of a free tier for the initial three months.


  • Provides flexibility with on-demand instances for variable workloads.
  • Reserved instances offer cost savings for users with consistent computing needs.
  • The 12-month free tier allows users to experiment with EC2 at no cost during the initial year.



While EC2 is a more powerful and versatile service, LightSail caters specifically to beginners and users with simpler web application needs. LightSail provides an easy entry point to AWS, and instances can be upgraded to EC2 for more advanced functionalities as requirements evolve. The choice between LightSail and EC2 depends on the user’s specific use case, technical expertise, and scalability requirements.