How to Create an AWS Lightsail Virtual Machine



To create a new server on AWS using LightSail, you’ll first need to sign into your AWS account and head to the main AWS dashboard. From there, you can search for LightSail. The first time you visit, you’ll need to specify a support language, but for this article, I’ve already done that, so I can go straight to creating a new instance.

After clicking on Create Instance, you’ll be taken to a page where you need to select an instance location. This defaults to your main AWS location, and if you need to change that, you can change your AWS region easily. (This region’s perfect for me, so I’ll leave it as is.)

Next, you need to specify some information about the server instance you’re spinning up. In this case, I want to use Microsoft Windows. (If you’re using Windows, note that this does increase the amount you’ll be paying per month, as it includes the Windows licensing fees.)

I only want to install the OS — I don’t want to include any apps. The default selection here of Server 2016 is perfect for what I’m doing.

If you have any PowerShell scripts that you want to run on your server’s first launch, you can add them here.

I don’t need to run any PowerShell scripts at this time, so I’ll continue on to sizing.

By default, plans are organized by price, with the lowest listed first. Note that the first month is free. However, if you know that the application you’ll be deploying is memory-hungry, and that’s your most important metric, you can sort plans by the amount of memory provisioned or processing power. But for this example, I’ll just stick with price and select the cheapest one. There’s one CPU, and half a gig of memory is going to be fine here.

Finally, I need to name my instance. And I can specify how many servers that I want spun up. I want two servers. Next, I’ll click Create.

As you can see, a unique number has been appended to the end of each of my VM names, and they’re already running.

Once that little monitor icon has changed color to orange, you can connect to your virtual machine. We’ll go ahead and click it. My LightSail VM now pops up via a browser-based RDP window, and I’m automatically logged in for the first time as the default administrator.

I’ve now successfully created two instances of a virtual machine on AWS using LightSail!


Josh King is the Senior Infrastructure & Automation Administrator at a local government body in regional New Zealand, working within a predominantly Windows and VMware environment. Josh has a passion for PowerShell and automation. You can find his blog at or reach out to him on Twitter, @WindosNZ.


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