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I've been a part-time Linux sysadmin for a number of years and tonight I wanted to play around with Amazon EC2 and see how it works. There is plenty of documentation on how to configure and customize an Amazon EC2 instance and all the options available. However I didn't find a short, succinct summary of the steps required to spin up an EC2 instance from account creation to pointing your A record to it, so here goes.

  1. If you haven't already, sign up for an Amazon Web Services account and login to the EC2 Management Console.
  2. Create a security group and make sure ports 22, 80, and 443 are open.
  3. Launch an Amazon EC2 instance; I selected the Amazon Linux AMI because it's fast and easy. Make sure to download the private key.
  4. SSH into the instance; if you right-click on the name of the instance in the EC2 Management Console, it will give you a "Connect" option which has the ssh command you can copy and paste into console.
  5. Install Apache, MySQL, and PHP
  6. Add an elastic IP address and associate it with your EC2 instance if you want to add an A record to your DNS zone, otherwise you can access it through public DNS.
  7. Mount a volume on your instance, otherwise you may lose data if/when you stop and start the instance

This will give you everything you need to start hacking away, including about 9GB of HD space.

You'll probably want to stop and start the instance at some point as well.

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