WordPress on the AWS Cloud: Options and Best Practices
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) used for creating and managing websites. This open-source software is based on PHP and MySQL, and it is one of the most popular CMS platforms in the world. WordPress allows users to easily create and manage their own websites without needing to have any specialized coding knowledge. It is used by millions of websites, including many large and popular sites.
AWS stands for Amazon Web Services – a cloud computing platform that provides a broad range of services, including storage, computing power, and content delivery. With AWS, businesses and individuals can access a range of services to help them build and run their websites and applications without investing in their infrastructure. Among many other use cases, AWS allows running WordPress websites in the cloud.
Benefits of Running WordPress on AWS
There are several key benefits to running a WordPress website on AWS:
- Improved resilience – Amazon provides high availability and service level agreements (SLAs) that are unmatched by most hosting options.
- Scalability – Amazon provides many options for scaling a WordPress website, both vertically (by increasing the capacity of the web server) and horizontally (by adding more web servers and balancing loads between them).
- Security – AWS is an enterprise-grade environment with strong security features and built-in security solutions such as AWS WAF and AWS Network Firewall.
- Continuous delivery – AWS provides integrated CI/CD tooling that lets you easily build an automated development and deployment pipeline.
3 Options for Running WordPress on AWS
Running WordPress on EC2
Amazon EC2 – short for “elastic compute cloud” – is a web-based service that provides cloud computing capacity in a resizable format. It allows you to launch virtual servers, called instances, which are based on a variety of operating systems, including Linux and Windows.
With EC2, you can choose the size, configuration, and number of instances to suit your needs, and you only pay for the resources/capacity you use. This means you can easily install a WordPress software package.
AWS Marketplace Images
Marketplace is an online store that allows customers to easily discover, purchase, and deploy third-party software on the AWS platform. It offers a wide range of software products designed to run on AWS, including applications, development tools, and infrastructure solutions. Several vendors offer ready-to-use WordPress instances on AWS Marketplace.
Amazon Lightsail is a cloud computing platform that Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers. It is a simpler, more cost-optimized alternative to other AWS services like EC2. It is designed for developers, businesses, and individuals who want to quickly and easily launch and manage virtual private servers (VPS).
With Amazon Lightsail, users can create and manage VPS instances pre-configured with popular web applications, including WordPress, Magento, and LAMP stack. Lightsail offers a range of instance sizes and pricing plans to suit different needs and budgets. It also includes a user-friendly control panel that allows users to manage their VPS instances, DNS records, and other resources.
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Best Practices for WordPress on AWS Lightsail
Amazon’s recommended deployment option for WordPress is the Amazon Lightsail service. Here are some best practices to help you make your deployment more effective.
Ensure Fast Content Delivery
WordPress websites must deliver both dynamic and static content. Dynamic content refers to content that is generated in real-time based on user requests or other variables. This type of content can change each time the page is loaded, or it can change based on user actions or input. Examples include posts, forms, and widgets.
This content can take time to load, but the latency impacts the end-user experience. One way to reduce latency is to use a content delivery network (CDN) like Amazon CloudFront. A CDN is a network of servers that are distributed around the world and are designed to deliver content, such as web pages and media files, more quickly and efficiently to users.
CloudFront can help to reduce the cloud network’s latency while improving the performance of your application or website by caching your content on servers that are located closer to your end-users.
Use Bytecode Caching
Bytecode caching is a way to optimize the performance of a web application by storing the compiled version of the application’s code (bytecode) in a cache, rather than having to recompile it each time it is requested. This can reduce the amount of work that the server has to do and can improve the response time of the application.
For example, if you are running a PHP application on a Lightsail instance, you can use a bytecode caching tool like APC (Alternative PHP Cache) or OPcache to store the compiled version of your PHP scripts in a cache. This will help reduce the load of the instance hosting WordPress.
Implement Backups and Disaster Recovery
Relying on one web server creates a single point of failure. Backing up your data regularly helps to protect you against data loss due to accidents, hardware failures, or other unforeseen events. It gives you a copy of your data that you can use to restore your site if something goes wrong. Depending on your industry and the type of data you are storing, you may need a backup and disaster recovery plan to meet regulatory or compliance requirements.
In the event of a disaster, the cost of recovering from data loss or downtime can be significant. Having a disaster recovery plan in place can help to minimize downtime and ensure that your business can continue to operate in the event of a disaster. This can be particularly important if your WordPress website is critical to your business operations.
To implement backup and disaster recovery on AWS Lightsail, you can use tools and services like Amazon RDS, Amazon EFS, and Amazon S3 to create regular data backups and store them in a secure location. You can create a schedule for automatic snapshots of AWS instances to create point-in-time backups of your data. Snapshots are stored in S3, which provides durable and secure storage for your data.
Use Database Caching
WordPress relies on a database to store and retrieve data, such as posts, pages, comments, and user information. Each time a user requests a page on your website, WordPress has to retrieve the data from the database, which can take time and resources.
You can improve the overall performance of a WordPress site hosted on Lightsail with database caching to store copies of the data frequently accessed in a cache, rather than having to retrieve it from the database each time. This can reduce the load on the database and the CPU of the Lightsail instance, which can improve the overall performance of your site. It can also help to improve the scalability of your site, as it can handle more traffic without having to scale up the database or the instance.
To implement database caching for WordPress on Lightsail, you can use a plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache, which allow you to enable database caching and configure various cache settings. You can also use a caching plugin like Redis or Memcached, which provide in-memory caching and can further improve the performance of your site.
In conclusion, hosting your WordPress website on the AWS cloud has several benefits, including flexibility, scalability, and security. With AWS, you can easily set up and manage a WordPress site, and you only pay for the resources you use. You can also take advantage of a wide range of tools and services, such as Amazon RDS, Amazon EFS, and Amazon S3, to improve the performance and reliability of your site.
However, it is important to consider the costs and potential challenges of using AWS for WordPress. AWS pricing can be complex, and you must carefully evaluate your usage and choose the right instance type and pricing model to meet your needs.
Disclaimer: The author is completely responsible for the content of this article. The opinions expressed are their own and do not represent IEEE’s position nor that of the Computer Society nor its Leadership.