Joeri Smits

Developer, aerial photographer and tech enthousiast. Looking into technology of tomorrow. Located in Nijmegen, NL

Create easily managed databases with AWS Lightsail

22 October 2018

A boat that is sailing on the ocean

Recently Amazon Web Services announced an addition to their service called AWS Lightsail. Lightsail is already known as a service to easily create server instances and manage network operations. It is exciting news that Lightsail now also offers the ability to create a fully managed database within a couple of clicks.

Having a fully managed database over a self-maintained database can be convenient as you don’t need to do any maintenance on the instance itself. AWS handles most of the things for you, and you only need to worry about the actual data inside the database.

Setting up a Lightsail database is a quick and well thought-out process. It comes down to choosing a basic configuration for your database instance with options for security, availability, and redundancy. Each configuration comes with a fixed monthly price that includes: the instance, SSD storage, and data transfer. Lightsail needs a couple of minutes to create your database instance. After that, you’re able to connect, see metrics, logs and configure network settings.
If you want to connect to your database outside AWS, you have to enable “public mode.” Public mode is disabled by default and therefore only allows connections from Lightsail resources in the same AWS region. If “public mode” is enabled anyone with the database username and database password can connect to your database. Generally, this is not something you want and can be a security risk.

Each database instance created through Lightsail has an automatic backup system in place by default. Data is stored for a 7-day period and gives you point-in-time recovery options. Besides this, Lightsail allows you to create manual snapshots of your database.

At the time of writing AWS only supports the latest two versions of the MySQL database engine. AWS announced that they add support for PostgreSQL very soon. AWS Lightsail databases are available in all regions where Lightsail is supported.


Lightsail databases can be very interested if you need to set up a quick database for testing or development purposes. It suits the needs for these kinds of use cases perfectly. It is low-cost and very quick and easy to set up.
If you have a use case for a serious production database though, you are better of with AWS RDS. Managed Relational Database Service (RDS) offers you more features and can be configured in more detail. It is, however, a bit more expensive but offers a lot in return.