Migrating WordPress to AWS Lightsail (and other related changes) – Part 2

In part 1 I gave a bit of background and discussed moving the website hosting for two of my sites. In part 2 I’ll discuss domains… Thrilling stuff!</sarcasm>


I thought domains would be easy. I have a pretty good understanding of domain registration and DNS, having worked with them for years so I went looking for a new registrar. I needed to relocate registration and hosting of both domains, and my main requirements looking around were ease of management and price.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’d already settled on Amazon Lightsail for my site hosting, so Amazon seemed a good option for DNS to keep it all together also.

While the web hosting was basically identical for the 2 sites, the domain portion has a little (only a little) variety.


As the first of the 2 sites I moved, I jumped into AWS Route53 and set up my DNS settings. Quite easy, and as best I can tell, will at worst cost me a couple of bucks a month if there are lots of requests (I’m thinking spamming etc; I don’t expect my readership to be that large!).

I also used Route53 and transferred my domain hosting over. Pretty easy, although it gave me some messages about my current provider having to approve it etc. which in the end I suspect is a just half generic warning for some other registries that require that. Route53 wasn’t the cheapest registrar I’d found here, but for ease of management, I thought I’d just keep it all together.

The one thing I’ll note is to keep an eye on your email. They send you info and anything you need to do which may not always be obvious on the console.


After randominsanity.net.nz being so easy, I planned to so saferhomes.nz the same way. And then I hit the real world.

The easier part first: instead of the Route53 hosting of the domain records, I used the inbuilt DNS part of Lightsail which as best I can tell has no particular additional charge beyond the Lightsail plan I was on. Same general result but different management location. Cool, done.

And then I went to transfer the domain.

Despite .nz having been commonplace for New Zealand for a couple of years now, it seems Route53 does not support this top-level domain (the support .co.nz, .org.nz, .net.nz, but plain old .nz). Gandi, the registrar AWS state they use supports it, but AWS themselves don’t. Bugger.

At first, I thought I must be doing something wrong, but after a while, I’d found numerous forum posts asking AWS when they would support it, right back from when it first became available, with no commitment beyond “it’s on our backlog”. Amazon’s own documentation, when you dig deep enough, has a list of the TLD’s (Top Level Domains) that they support and .nz is not listed.

So, there goes my plan of keeping it all together. In the end, I have moved the registration to Domains4Less and then just entered the AWS name servers for the domain into the records. Not ideal, but it seems to be working well.


The email was much easier in the end. I actually had saferhomes.nz using Google’s GSuite already so I left it where it was.

For randominsanity.net.nz, my initial thought was that I would just find a way to forward it all to a Gmail account I currently tie my personal address in with. However, until now, I’d been basically using a full email account on my ISP network, with Gmail just grabbing email using POP and sending to that user using SMTP. Given I wanted to kill that mailbox, that wasn’t going to work.

I probably spent a couple of hours looking at solutions. Ideally just finding somewhere that’d charge me bugger all to do a blind mail relay for my domain, but that wasn’t really a service in wide supply. I looked at Amazon services, using their Simple Email Service which short of using a lot of work (S3 buckets and Lambda functions) probably wasn’t going to do what I wanted nicely anyway.

In the end, I just bit the bullet and setup another GSuite account for it. It costs me $5 to have my mailbox. I could have used Amazon’s WorkMail feature for a similar price but it didn’t look as polished as Gmail/GSuite so I erred on staying with the option I was familiar with since I had no intention of moving the saferhomes email.


Well, that’s really it at present. Maybe there won’t be a part 3…

In short, this is what I’ve ended up with:


  • Domain Registration: Amazon Route53
  • Domain Hosting: Amazon Route53
  • Website Hosting: Amazon Lightsail
  • Email Hosting: Google GSuite


  • Domain Registration: Domains4Less
  • Domain Hosting: Amazon Lightsail
  • Website Hosting: Amazon Lightsail
  • Email Hosting: Google GSuite

SSL was a bit of a mission, and I can’t say I’m 100% on exactly which bit resolved it but it can be done. Basically following various Bitnami documentation.

Outbound email required configuration of SMTP credentials in WordPress but once that was done it worked fine, for what I needed anyway.

Hopefully, someone might find this something resembling interesting, and maybe even helpful. I’ll try to provide updates as the journey continues or as my setup evolves (I may still try moving everything to a more home-grown EC2/RDS type setup, but we’ll see how we go).

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