Debian on AWS Lightsail

This is a setup of several items, starting with Debian 9 on Amazon AWS Lightsail. This has server basics and apt, and then follows with links to additional articles. In general, after several years of running CentOS on Linode, and then Amazon Linux AMI on EC2 and Lightsail, I find that Debian 9 is simply faster, just as secure, and at least slightly easier to use.

While there are many flavors of linux, clearly two particular lineages predominate: RHEL/CentOS/AMI and Debian/Ubuntu/Mint. Either are just as valid, though of course niche requirements may make one or the other more attractive. Android and ChromeOS are even more popular, but we are dealing with server OS here. For me, Debian on the desktop via LMDE3 (Linux Mint Debian Edition) is currently a favorite.

AWS Lightsail is a decently priced VPS package. Equivalents can be found in various first and second tier cloud providers such as Digital Ocean, Vultr, Linode, and perhaps even Azure and Google Cloud, who knows? Anyone with any experience with AWS can leverage this with Lightsail, though the main web interface is a bit different.

Related Artices in Debian Services and Applications

Choose Debian Distribution

On Lightsail as of late 2018 Debian 9.5 is an option.

  • Install PHP from special repository sources (found in the Running PHP on Debian article)
  • Install special packages from Backports when needed (such as certbot)
    • Use apt-get -t stretch-backports install PACKAGE


sudo apt-get install -y python-certbot-nginx -t stretch-backports

Packages available from Distributions

Update Debian

sudo apt-get update -y
sudo apt-get -t stretch-backports update -y

Upgrade Debian

Do some checks and then execute upgrade and dist-upgrade:

Note: accept the locally modified files for upgrading when asked.

sudo apt-get upgrade -y
sudo apt-get -t stretch-backports upgrade -y

Note: can have system service restarts be done automatically, when asked.

Upgrade Debian Distribution

This will change from one release to the next if there is a next one for the version being run (e.g., stable).

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Next, run the command to reload the terminal session:

hash -r

Steps in Configuration

Server Basics Steps

  • Configure servername, ip addresses
  • Apt, Apt-Get, Apt-Cache, Configure repositories, Update, Upgrade, Clean, etc.

Servername, IP Addresses

For private IP Addresses

ip addr show eth0 | grep inet | awk '{ print $2; }' | sed 's/\/.*$//'

For a public IP address (esp. Amazon AWS Elastic IP)

curl -4

Apt Sources List, Apt-Get, Apt-Cache

ls -la /etc/apt

and see what is in subdirectories

Installed packages

dpkg-query -l

apt-get commands

apt-get clean
apt-get autoclean
apt-get dist-upgrade
apt-get clean
apt-get check
apt-get autoremove
  • autoclean deletes .deb files from local cache
  • clean deletes .deb files from distribution installation
  • autoremove removes previous, but no longer needed dependencies
  • dist-upgrade deals with dependencies, not just applications, and will add/remove/upgrade them
  • apt-get check will check for dependencies missing

note: difference between apt-get remove xyz vs. apt-get purge xyz, as the first preserves configuration files (for possible later use)

Completely Remove Packages

sudo apt-get --purge remove package-name
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