When it comes to hosting and building a website on cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the most preferred choices for developers. According to Canalys, AWS is dominating the global public cloud market, holding around one-third of the total market share.
AWS offers numerous services that can be used for compute power, content delivery, database storage, and more. Developers can use it to build a high-availability production website, whether it is a WordPress site, Node.js web app, LAMP stack web app, Drupal website, or a Python web app.
AWS developers, need to set up, maintain and evolve the cloud infrastructure of web apps. Aside from these, they are also responsible for applying best practices related to security and scalability.
Having said that, let’s take a deep dive into how AWS developers manage a web application.
Deploying a website or web app with Amazon EC2
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) offers developers a secure and scalable computing capacity in the cloud. For hosting a website or web app, the developers need to use virtual app servers called instances.
With Amazon EC2 instances, developers gain complete control over computing resources. They can scale the capacity on the basis of requirements and pay only for the resources they actually use. There are tools like AWS lambda, Elastic Beanstalk and Lightsail that allow the isolation of web apps from common failure cases.
Amazon EC2 supports a number of main operating systems, including Amazon Linux, Windows Server 2012, CentOS 6.5, and Debian 7.4.
Here is how developers get themselves started with Amazon EC2 for deploying a website or web app.
The first step is to set up an AWS account and log into it.
Select “Launch Instance” from the Amazon EC2 Dashboard. It will enable the creation of VM.
Now configure the instance by choosing an Amazon Machine Image (AMI), instance type and security group.
Click on Launch.
In the next step, choose ‘Create a new key pair’ and name it. A key pair file gets downloaded automatically, which needs to be saved. It will be needed for logging in to the instance.
Click on ‘Launch Instances’ to finish the set-up process.
Once the instance is ready, it can be used to build high availability websites or web app.
Using Amazon S3 for cloud storage
S3 comes with a simple interface so that developers can fetch and store large amounts of data from anywhere on the internet, at any time. The storage infrastructure provided with Amazon S3 is known for scalability, reliability, and speed. Amazon itself uses this storage option to host its own websites.
Within S3, the developers need to create buckets for data storage. Each bucket can store a large amount of data, allowing developers to upload a high number of objects into it. The amount of data an object can contain, is up to 5 TB. The objects are stored and fetched from the bucket using a unique key.
There are several purposes of a bucket. It can be used to organize the S3 namespace, recognize the accounts assigned for storage and data transfer, as well as work as the aggregation unit for usage.
Elastic load balancing
Load balancing is a critical part of a website or web app to distribute and balance the traffic load accordingly to multiple targets. AWS provides elastic load balancing to its developers, which allows them to distribute the traffic across a number of services, like Amazon EC2 instances, IP addresses, Lambda functions and containers.
With Elastic load balancing, developers can ensure that their projects run efficiently even when there is heavy traffic. There are three kinds of load balancers available with AWS elastic load balancing— Application Load Balancer, Network Load Balancer and Classic Load Balancer.
Application Load Balancer is an ideal option for HTTP and HTTPS traffic. It provides advanced routing for the requests meant for the delivery of microservices and containers. For balancing the load of Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), Transport Layer Security (TLS) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP), developers opt for Network Load Balancer. Whereas, the Classic Load Balancer is best suited for typical load distribution across EC2 instances. It works for both requests and connections.
Debugging and troubleshooting
A web app or website can include numerous features and components. Often, a few of them might face issues or not work as expected, because of coding errors or other bugs. In such cases, AWS developers follow a number of processes and techniques and check the useful resources that help them to debug a recipe or troubleshoot the issues.
- See the service issue at Common Debugging and Troubleshooting Issues.
- Check the Debugging Recipes for issues related to recipes.
- Check the AWS OpsWorks Stack Forum. It is a forum where other developers discuss their issues. AWS team also monitors these issues and helps in finding the solutions.
- Get in touch with AWS OpsWorks Stacks support team to solve the issue.
Traffic monitoring and analysis
Analysing and monitoring the traffic and network logs help in understanding the way websites and web apps perform on the internet.
AWS provides several tools for traffic monitoring, which includes Real-Time Web Analytics with Kinesis Data Analytics, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon Pinpoint, Amazon Athena, etc.
For tracking of website metrics, the Real-Time Web Analytics with Kinesis Data Analytics is used by developers. This tool provides insights into visitor counts, page views, time spent by visitors, actions taken by visitors, channels driving the traffic and more.
Additionally, the tool comes with an optional dashboard which can be used for monitoring of web servers. Developers can see custom metrics of the servers to know about the performance of servers, average network packets processing, errors, etc.
Management of a web application is a tedious task and requires quality tools and technologies. Amazon Web Services makes things easier for web developers, providing them with all the tools required to handle the app.
Vaibhav Shah is the CEO of Techuz, a mobile app and web development company in India and the USA. He is a technology maven, a visionary who likes to explore innovative technologies and has empowered 100+ businesses with sophisticated Web solutions