So I created a free-tier Amazon EC2 ubuntu 12.04 instance. I set up a LAMPP stack on it and use it for a couple of testing websites.

Currently, all the data is stored on the server itself, including the website data. I believe this is bad practice.

I've been reading about using an EBS volume for website data and only using the server storage for applications/config etc. When I run df -h I get this:

Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/xvda1      7.9G  1.8G  5.7G  24% /
udev            288M   12K  287M   1% /dev
tmpfs            60M  176K   59M   1% /run
none            5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
none            296M     0  296M   0% /run/shm

I read the docs on adding a volume to my EC2 instance and having got to the create EBS volume but I noticed I already have an EBS volume - the one that is the connection to my EC2 instance.

And in my AWS control panel, I have thisebs volume

My question is should I create a separate EBS volume for website storage or just have everything on the current volume? If I do, will I get billed for going beyond the free tier (I understand the free tier limit is 30GB, but how many volumes?)? If I don't how would I increase the size of the current volume - it is currently only 8GB.

If adding a new volume, what sort of snapshot should I use?

2 Answers 2


Since you're on the free tier, I'm assuming you're using a t1.micro instance. This particular instance lacks the ephemeral storage (the gigs of "temporary" space) and must be EBS-backed, as you see there.

Ephemeral storage is very useful for worker servers but very bad for permanent storage because this gets wiped if the server is shut down or terminated. EBS on the other hand is permanent as long as you don't mark it for deletion when halting the EC2 instance it's attached to (the downside being price as you don't pay for the ephemeral storage IOPs or otherwise).

  • Thanks, yes, after more exploring it seems my instance is EBS-backed so no need to create another volume. I'll just resize the current EBS volume to a larger size.
    – harryg
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 12:14

You can have as many volumes as you want within the free tier, as long as you don't go over 30GB in total. And you don't need to use any snapshot when creating a blank volume -- just create it, attach it to your instance and build a filesystem on it as you would for a physical disk.

  • OK thanks, can you elaborate on building the filesystem? How would I use the volume on my server and have the my server configs, site data etc on it?
    – harryg
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 11:16
  • I'm afraid that's very specific to your exact server setup -- what filesystem do you use, what applications do you run, where do they store their data, and so on. If you're not a systems administrator yourself, you'll need to find one.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 11:17
  • Well I guess everything should go on the EBS volume. Presumably there is a reasonably simple way to transfer.
    – harryg
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 11:21
  • Also, the fact that I have a EBS volume already, does this mean my instance is "EBS-backed" anyway so there is no need for a separate EBS volume?
    – harryg
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 11:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .