WordPress 101: Cloud Computing Technology Can Improve Your WordPress Website

WordPress is a great platform for business owners, being able to create a professional website without needing to be an expert website developer or proficient in HTML/CSS or PHP coding.

The content management system (CMS) provides a myriad of themes and plugins that extend the use of the platform from a simple blogging site to a professional business interface, online store and more.

We speciailise in search engine friendly websites and updates, and we’ve had great success with WordPress. The biggest issue we have found when it comes to speed and uptime is server resources. Even a heavy site on a great web server will work well. On the flipside, even a light site can struggle on inferior hosting.

As we know, speed affects our rankings in Google search results (SERP) and can also affect usability of the website for users.

Your WordPress Site Hosting Options

When it comes to setting up your business website, whether it be using the WordPress platform of not, the first resource you need to consider after registering a domain name is your web hosting.

Typically, most business owners and agencies offering sub-$500 websites will offer a shared hosting option. This means that your site is amongst other sites sharing the one server in a web hosting space.

The drawcard here is that resources are shared between sites, and the price is kept to a minimum.

Unfortunately, this can hinder your website as those ‘other sites’ on your web server could be malicious, resource consuming monsters that will affect both the speed and uptime of your business’ website. Not a good scenario at all.

The next option becomes a dedicated web server, where you get your own server with all it’s resources. You no longer need to worry about other websites on your server causing your grief.

The downside with dedicated web servers is the cost and availability. As you now have all the resources to yourself, the costs of these resources is no longer shared, and you end up footing the full bill.

This is what many larger companies use, or did use, as they needed the advantages of a dedicated server and used a lot of space and processing power. As business grows, the dedicated server can be upgraded if offered by the hosting provider.

Dedicated servers and private servers are a great option compared to shared hosting, but today there is an even better option, and its now very accessible to business owners of all sizes.

Welcome to the Future

Cloud computing might have started as a tech term, or you might associate it with applications like Dropbox or your Xero accounting software (shoutout to the beautiful amazing Xero – we love you!), but cloud computing is used more than you might know.

When online shopping giant Amazon needed to grow, it created its own datacenters and servers to maximise efficiency for its marketplaces now reaching across the globe.

To do this, they created virtual computers with set resources for set tasks. These virtual machines, or what Amazon refer to as instances, are not bound by a specific server, meaning they share resources.

Don’t mix this up with a shared web server hosting package. These shared resources are processors, memory and storage. The advantage of this setup is that as the need arises, more processing power or storage can be utilised in an instant.

Scaling to customer demand now becomes real-time, no need to upgrade now and then continue payments for a better server when traffic dies down. Scaling works both ways. Server resources can depend on customer demand.

What does this mean for businesses using these servers?

It means they can start with what they need and upscale at anytime and pay for what they need.

As these servers can utilise multiple resources, it also aids redundancy, as when a physical drive, processor or memory unit fails, the Amazon Instance can use another with minimum disruption or downtime.

Now if you are a global business, the advantages continue.

With these instances, we mentioned redundancy. Not only are they redundant within a datacenter, but also between datacenters.

The data on your instance is replicated between datacenters in different parts of the world. So if someone switches the power off at your local datacenter, your resources will still be server but now from a different datacenter location.

For business, having your data always accessible is priceless. Better still, this system will connect you to your data at the closest point, meaning if you are travelling, you may have the same data, but it may come from a datacenter in another country. Why? Speed and efficiency.

If your server was in a datacenter in Australia and you travelled to Canada, it makes sense to access your data from a Canadian datacenter right? Closer. Faster.

The Advantages of being in the Cloud

When we look at cloud hosting, we can see the advantage of having our web data on a real-time scalable, globally accessible resource, but we might see management of the systems required a disadvantage. Lets change that.

The advantages so far include

  • Not having to share our website space with other websites on the same server.
  • Being able to consume more resources as traffic demands, and vice-versa.
  • The ability to connect to the closest datacenter to access our website.

And we will add, automation.

Automation of services like scaling and content distribution can mean we can focus on our website knowing that the hosting will sort out resources needed to show it most efficiently. We can also include monitoring to automation, as alerts and notifications can be sent automatically for set scenarios or limits.

When we setup a WordPress website, we connect the domain name to our hosting, which than stores the web files and connects a database to store data and variables needed for the website.

On a dedicated web server, the database and the storage may sit together on the same physical machine.

With cloud hosting, instances are split into different tasks. There are storage instances, computing instances, database instances, and more. It all depends on the service your require.

For WordPress, this means the database has its own resources, our files are stored separately, and the computing power could be different again.

This makes a big difference to the speed of your website.

Utilising Cloud Hosting for Websites

Whilst cloud hosting is great for business, especially when they can replace in-house server racks with cloud options, it can also be utilised for better web.

In a business IT environment, we might be setting up servers or instances to cater for users and data storage for the business. For web hosting, we are catering to the external user, and how they interact with our website.

These users could be customers, site administrators, search engine bots, ad traffic, social media links and more.

Cloud hosting allows us to set a root location, where our main files are stored and accessed. We usually choose the region where majority of our website traffic comes from. For example, the DriveSocial website is hosted on a Sydney server base, as majority of our customers are in New South Wales.

The beauty of the cloud is that our files will be replicated between other global datacenter locations, and be served to visitors from their closest datacenter.

As the website owner, we can access our WordPress website in a few ways. These include:

  • Logging in to the WordPress admin via / wp-admin
  • Accessing the cloud storage and our web files via remote desktop or applications like Filezilla
  • Logging in to our cloud hosting providers interface and managing the server instance
  • The command line interface using tools like PuTTy.

It is very similar to how you can access your standard web hosting options, and it is important to remember this. It is not a whole new way to do things, a lot is still the same.

When switching to the cloud, there are some things that we find make life a lot easier, these include backups, self-healing (where processes that fail are restarted automatically), content distribution networks, and site migration.

We mentioned Amazon earlier, and whilst they kicked off the popularity of cloud computing, it did exist previous to that. There are now a lot of brands offering cloud solutions.

The main players that you should consider for your business website needs are Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Linode, Digital Ocean and Vultr.

You could go directly to these cloud hosting providers, but they can be quite daunting when it comes to setup. Applications like Lightsail and the such make automation of WordPress setup simpler, but still, there is a better way.

Go direct to the hosts if you are looking to switch your in-house IT systems across to the cloud. If you are looking to utilise cloud computing for your business website, use a middle company like Cloudways.

They offer the support and migration tools to make switching easy. Cloudways also offer access to the major cloud providers mentioned above.

Other advantages are simple installation of WordPress, Drupal and more, PHP 7 and higher already accessible, 24/7 support via phone, free cache plugins, http/2 supported servers, dedicated firewalls, 1-click free SSL installation, and no long term contracts. There are more advantages, but we’ll let you discover them on the Cloudways website.

You may not know what all the above means, but it basically covers a lot of features that are very beneficial to business WordPress websites.

Switching to the Cloud

You may be thinking, dayum…. I wish I knew about cloud hosting before I setup my website. Well good news, its pretty simple to migrate.

If you already have a WordPress website, all you need to do is:

  • Setup your new cloud hosting server and install WordPress (simple, trust us).
  • Add the Cloudways migration plugin to your WordPress website.
  • Fill in the details that match your website to the new cloud hosting server.
  • Click migrate and wait.
  • Then point your domain name to your new cloud hosting IP address. (A record).

Its quick too! And its not magic. It is just a very well setup process.

Choosing Cloud Hosting for your New Website

If you are looking to get a new business website created, just let us know that you want to choose cloud hosting.

The advantages of speed, uptime, vertical scaling, and simple management are too good to go past. Be sure to check out the pricing and compare it to your current hosting provider and what they offer.

WordPress 101: Cloud Computing Technology Can Improve Your WordPress Website

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