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What is Amazon EC2 Elastic IP and how to manage them efficiently

What is Amazon EC2 Elastic IP and how to manage them efficiently

AWS EC2 instances are computing services that can be used to host web services and applications. These instances belong to an Amazon virtual cloud and they can be accessed with the help of IPs in your specified range.

In our role as Outsourced Tech Support for web hosting companies, we manage Amazon EC2 instances for our customers with two types of external IPs – Public IP and Elastic IP. 

Today, we’ll see what is an EC2 Elastic IP, its benefits and how we manage them to ensure high uptime for our AWS customers.

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How Elastic IPs differ from public IPs

Every AWS user would have an AWS account and can launch EC2 instances under this account for various computing purposes. These instances can be accessed using public IP or elastic IP.

When a new EC2 instance is started, it will be automatically assigned a public IP to access that instance. This public IP address can be used to access the EC2 instance from outside.

Elastic IPs (EIPs) are static IPs allocated to a specific AWS account. They are public IPv4 addresses, that can be manually assigned to EC2 instances to access them from outside.

The public IP is a dynamic one and changes with every reboot. As a result, services in that instance that use DNS, can face downtime during this change in IP.

Whereas, the elastic IPs are static in nature and does not change with an instance restart. Their static nature makes EIPs a more preferable option for services in EC2 instances.

Benefits of using EC2 Elastic IPs

Many internet services require DNS. While using public IPs, it is very difficult to switch the DNS each time an IP change occurs, and it involves a downtime owing to the DNS propagation.

Here are some benefits of using elastic IPs, which prompts us to prefer them over public IPs for our customers’ EC2 instances.

  1. Static and public – Being static in nature, we use the Elastic IPs for public services that require static IPs – such as web server, dns or email server.
  2. Flexibility – As Elastic IPs are allotted to each AWS account and are not specific to an EC2 instance, we allocate an Elastic IP to any EC2 instance as and when a requirement arise.
  3. Load balancing – When one EC2 instance fails or gets overloaded with traffic, we allocate its associated EIP to another EC2 instance, by configuring a failover setup in the system. This helps us to ensure uninterrupted service for the users.
  4. Fail-over setup – Having multiple Elastic IPs for an AWS account enables us to quickly map a service from one IP to another, in case of issues such as IP blacklisting or IP changes.
  5. Uptime – With our load balancing and fail-over setup with the help of elastic IPs, we are able to prevent downtime in services that can happen due to maintenance or DNS propagation.

We’ve been able to prevent server incidents by up to 15% by using our proactive server checks (click here to see how we improve web hosting support).

Now we’ll see how we assign and manage Elastic IPs in our customers’ Amazon EC2 instances.

Coming up: How to allocate elastic IPs


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