WordPress in the Cloud

One of the things I have been doing a lot of over the last few months is talking to folks about running WordPress in Reclaim Cloud. In particular, why would you want/need to? -and how to migrate an existing instance from cPanel to the Cloud? Luckily Gordon Hawley wrote up a guide for the latter which you can find it all of its glory at Migrating a WordPress Site from cPanel to Reclaim Cloud.

For most folks WordPress will run fine within a shared hosting cPanel account. This assumes modest traffic and relatively few simultaneous authors. Specific numbers pointing definitively to when you need a bigger boat for your WordPress instance are difficult to nail down given many factors work into the equation: plugins and themes being used, traffic, media size within posts, etc. We do have a guide for troubleshooting slow sites to help folks work this out, but it can be a moving target. The benefits of WordPress in the Cloud are speed and dedicated, scalable resources so that an upper ceiling of resources can be set to withstand a sudden, large demand.

Below are a few recent instances to provide concrete examples of folks who needed to move their site from cPanel to the Cloud.

Wesleyan University’s Living a Good Life and Black Phoenix Rising

https://blackphoenixrising.us.reclaim.cloud/

I already blogged about Wesleyan University running WordPress in Reclaim Cloud to manage the demand of 3000 participants signing-up for the online course Living a Good Life. This highlights the fact when sending out an announcement for folks to register for a course the immediate demand can place a significant stress on your site, and this is a perfect use-case for having access to scalable resources in the Cloud. There is nothing worse that inviting folks to your site only to have a deluge of interest the server cannot manage. Unfortunately, this is often the case for cPanel accounts running in shared hosting when the number of active visitors gets into the 100s, whereas WordPress on Reclaim Cloud is optimized for thousands of simultaneous hits, which helps allay any concerns of managing potential resource spikes. Things worked so well for Wesleyan’s first experience with WordPress in the cloud for Living a Good Life, that they ran another minicourse, Black Phoenix Rising, in Reclaim Cloud throughout March and April.

Skidmore College’s Library Site

Image of Skidmore Library Site

https://lib.skidmore.edu/

Like Wesleyan, Skidmore College has been a valuable partner to Reclaimover the years, exploring Domains, WordPress Multisite, and more recently the Cloud. Turns out they had been running the library’s forward facing site built on WordPress through Reclaim Hosting’s shared hosting service using Professional Services. This worked well for a time, but while Professional Services gets you access to a low-tenant shared hosting server, it is still shared hosting and resources are limited.*  A library site for a university will have a broader demand in terms of traffic and resources, and we reached out to Michael Paulmeno who runs IT for the library and suggested moving the site to Reclaim Cloud for more stability and scalable resources. The trick to WordPress in the Cloud is that the stand-alone instance offered through Reclaim Cloud’s Marketplace is reinforced for high traffic sites running LiteSpeed as the web server that is coupled with hi-performance caching. It’s truly a performant WordPress site that takes the fear out of running institutional sites running a WordPress sites on shared hosting, something I know all too much about over the years 🙂 Needless to say, the Skidmore Library site has been running well ever since the jump to the Cloud.

University of Oklahoma’s Student Media

Image of Student Media site at OU

http://studentmedia.ou.edu

More recently we connected with University of Oklahoma’s Student Media group to host a couple of their WordPress sites they were running in an unmanaged cPanel server through Bluehost. There were some issues with performance and it has become increasingly apparent that running hi-traffic WordPress sites through cPanel is not ideal in most cases. With Reclaim Cloud  WordPress in the Cloud as a performant, affordable alternative to a VPS that offers scalable resources without you needing to manage a full blown cPanel server. What’s more, not only would it be a lot easier it would most likely cost less. Fact is, if you are running a marketplace stand-alone WordPress in Reclaim Cloud the management is not that much different from running WordPress in Installatron on cPanel, the trade-off is no cPanel interface—which some appreciate—in exchange for far more reliability and speed given a dedicated container running a highly performant WordPress stack. Another interesting benefit of Reclaim Cloud for OU’s Student Media I had not considered is that an environment can be seamlessly shared and moved to non-institutional owners, which is important because OU’s Student Media acts independently from the institution. This is also the case for faculty that are part of larger grants that need independent server space that need to be able to change ownership seamlessly.

And these are a just a few, recent examples of why you might consider hosting WordPress in the Cloud, if you have even more examples let me know given I never tire of the possibilities.

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*In fact, Meredith Fierro wrote the guide “Reclaim Cloud vs Reclaim Hosting Professional Services” which delineates the differences between Professional Services and Reclaim Cloud quite well.

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4 Responses to WordPress in the Cloud

  1. Noah Mitchell says:

    Thanks for sharing those use cases – love seeing what others are doing. You helped us explore how the cloud might help us with a conference website where we were expecting big numbers of participants all at once accessing the same schedule of events and whatnot. While we had some plug-in conflicts with WordFence, everyone involved was impressed at the huge leap in performance of the cloud based site.

    I’m definitely enjoying dreaming up some new ideas for WordPress + Cloud hosting already.

    • Reverend says:

      Hi Noah,

      I wanted that to work for you so bad, but those Wordfence related issues were pretty strange, but turns out it was not an isolated instance. Not sure why that happened, but we’ll have to dig. But quite frankly with all the work the stand-alone WordPress instance is doing to avoid brute force attacks and the like, not sure Wordfence is indispensable on the Cloud, especially given you will soon have the option to install Bitninja’s firewall on an environment-by-enviroment basis—which goes a long way towards securing these instances.

      Anyway, here’s to hoping we have another shot at it 🙂

  2. Lauren Hanks says:

    I’ve been waiting for this post for a while!! Awesome read. Love that you were able to highlight not only use cases for this in the community, but also different work from the Reclaim team as well that makes it all possible. Way to go Gordon & Meredith!

    • Reverend says:

      Lauren,

      The support team’s documentation has been legendary, maybe my favorite part of the Reclaim Roundup (http://roundup.reclaimhosting.com) is catching up on all the articles folks have written. What’s more, it points to another value of the Newsletter, we are all working towards a monthly goal of producing and sharing something. That was what pushed me to get this and the Form of Awesome posts out by month’s end, and I do appreciate a hard deadline or two to get me motivated, especially when it finds a home alongside all the other work happening at Reclaim. It is beautiful!

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