Home Blog

AWS Associate Solutions Architect exam booked!


We have to do annual reviews at work. Twice a year I have to fill in a form listing all my goals and accomplishments. I used to enjoy doing it but now have become a bit jaded about the whole thing.

I can never remember everything I do during the year, and take the stuff I do as “regular work” rather than as an “accomplishment”.

I have single-handedly rolled out the Palo Alto VPN Global Protect Cloud to a couple of hundred users, as well as a bunch of other stuff. However, I view all of this work as, well, my work, as something that should be done. It’s what I am paid for. So having to sing about it during reviews gets a bit annoying. Maybe that’s just me, preferring to stay behind the scenes. Anyway…

As part of my annuals tasks/goals/what-not, I need to pass the Amazon Certified Solutions Associate exam. Then the AWS Certified Advance Networking exam.

While I have not been writing much here, I have been keeping (fairly) on track. I have been going through the ACloud Guru course, which is very good, and I would highly recommend it.

Books, books and more books!

The next step is to go back to the books. For this, I will be (mainly using) the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate book by Sybex, and the AWS Certified Advanced Networking book, also by Sybex.

Annoyingly, there is a newer version of the first book which is fully updated for the SAA-C01 exam!, and due out in April – so it may be worth waiting for this if you are looking to purchase a book.

Alternatively there is AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate All-In-One Exam Guide (Exam SAA-C01) by McGraw-Hill, which is written by a guy who works at AWS (Joyjeet Banerjee).

You don’t have to buy a load of books though. The free whitepapers from AWS do contain everything you need. However, the books are designed to help you pass the exam, so are tuned in that direction.

From what I have been able to gather, is that there are many scenario based questions. These can encompass many different areas of AWS, so I need to try and find some practice scenarios. If you know of any, then please comment below!

Amazon S3 and CloudFront as a WordPress CDN


My original go at setting up CloudFront as a CDN did not go very well. At the end of the last post on setting up CloudFront and W3 Total Cache, it was working (via WP Rocket), but when I changed the theme, things went back to not using the CDN. In this post, I will look at setting up Amazon S3 and using CloudFront through that instead. Hopefully, it should be a bit more stable and less likely to break.

CloudFront and W3 Total Cache

AWS CloudFront

After setting up WordPress in AWS and then switching off CloudFlare so I can use certificates from Amazon Certificate Manager, I noticed a pretty big drop in the GTMetrix score, specifically the YSlow report, and this was due to the lack of CDN (Content Delivery Network). Thankfully, I can progress with my studies of all things AWS, and set up CloudFront.

Certificates and Load Balancers: WordPress in AWS


Following the initial WordPress setup, I need to give the site an SSL certificate, Google doesn’t like sites without certificates. I already have a wildcard cert from CloudFlare, however, I want to keep this as much AWS’d as I can, therefore I want to use the Amazon Certificate Services for this sites certificates. However, EC2 on it’s own does not work with the certificates created in AWS. So, we need to go a bit further and set up an elastic load balancer to sit in front of the website, which will allow us to use the certificates.

WordPress in AWS


I decided that my foray into AWS needed a dedicated platform, so here it is (aws.802101.com). My original plan was to do a complete lift and shift of www.802101.com, but that did not turn out well, and me, being impatient, decided to start with something a little easier. So, I started afresh with WordPress in AWS. I am using the same template, and the reason for this will be clearer shortly. But let’s have a little look at how easy it is to set up WordPress in AWS.