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  • A step-by-step guide to launching a high-performance WordPress site on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) using WordOps.

    When you start as a blogger or running a small business, shared hosting is fine as it costs less, and no hosting skills required to install/setup/maintain the infrastructure platform.

    However, when your traffic or user base increases, you need a robust hosting platform to serve millions of customers without slowing down the site.

    There are some premium hosting providers for heavy traffic websites, but that would easily cost $100+ per month.

    Note: Kinsta recently announced a starter plan starting at $30 per month, which leverages GCP.

    However, if you are ok to spend a little bit of time learning and doing by yourself, you can think about VPS/Cloud servers. This article will explain how to get a WordPress site running on Google Cloud Platform in less than 15 minutes.

    This setup would cost around $25 per month and ready to serve 500,000 page views per month. Post setup, I will do a load test to verify the performance.

    Prerequisite

    • I assume you already have a domain; if not, you can buy from Namecheap or Google.
    • Google cloud account with billing enabled
    • Some WordPress themes, but I will use the Newspaper by Tag div.

    Provision New Google Cloud Server

    • Log in to Google Cloud and go to Compute Engine >> VM Instances (direct link)
    • Click “Create Instance” and enter the required information.
    • Select the zone (choose the nearest location of your targetted audience)
    • Choose the machine type.
    • Change boot disk to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and boot disk type to SSD persistent disk with 10 GB size.
    • Allow HTTP and HTTPS firewall and click Create

    In a few seconds, you will have the new instance ready.

    Installing WordPress using WordOps

    There are multiple ways to install WordPress, but one of the easiest ways is using WordOps.

    WordOps is a script wrapper that takes care of installing required components like a database, PHP-FPM, Nginx, WordPress, Redis, phpMyAdmin, etc. If you install them manually, then it may take longer, and room for human errors.

    • Login to newly created Google Cloud VM and switch to root user

    Note: it’s recommended to setup sudo access to root from a regular user in production, but in this exercise, I will use root.

    • Install WordOps with the below command
    wget -qO wo wops.cc && sudo bash wo
    • It will take a minute or two, and once done, you will be returned to the prompt.
    Synchronizing wo database, please wait...
    WordOps (wo) installed successfully
    
    To enable bash-completion, just use the command:
    bash -l
    
    To install WordOps recommended stacks, you can use the command:
    wo stack install
    
    To create a first WordPress site, you can use the command:
    wo site create site.tld --wp
    
    WordOps Documentation : https://docs.wordops.net
    WordOps Community Forum : https://community.wordops.net
    WordOps Community Chat : https://chat.wordops.net
    
    Give WordOps a GitHub star : https://github.com/WordOps/WordOps/
    
    [email protected]:~#

    Now it’s time to create a WordPress site. WordOps gives you an option if you want to install WordPress with caching plugins.

    Currently, it supports WP Super, W3 Total, Nginx, Redis. I’ve tried all, and Redis always performed better for me.

    • Let’s create a site with Redis cache.
    wo site create geekflarelab.com --wpredis

    Above, I am asking WordOps to create a site for geekflarelab.com (It’s my lab domain) with Redis cache. It will take a minute or two and give you confirmation about site creation.

    [email protected]:~# wo site create geekflarelab.com --wpredis
    Start : wo-kernel [OK]
    Adding repository for MySQL, please wait...
    Adding repository for NGINX, please wait...
    Adding repository for PHP, please wait...
    Adding repository for Redis, please wait...
    Updating apt-cache              [OK]
    Installing APT packages         [OK]
    Applying Nginx configuration templates
    Testing Nginx configuration     [OK]
    Restarting Nginx                [OK]
    Testing Nginx configuration     [OK]
    Restarting Nginx                [OK]
    Configuring php7.2-fpm
    Restarting php7.2-fpm           [OK]
    Tuning MariaDB configuration
    Stop  : mysql     [OK]
    Start : mysql     [OK]
    Tuning Redis configuration      [OK]
    Restarting redis-server         [OK]
    Running pre-update checks       [OK]
    Setting up NGINX configuration 	[Done]
    Setting up webroot 		[Done]
    Downloading WordPress 		[Done]
    Setting up database		[Done]
    Configuring WordPress           [OK]
    Installing WordPress            [OK]
    Installing plugin nginx-helper  [OK]
    Setting plugin nginx-helper     [OK]
    Installing plugin redis-cache   [OK]
    Testing Nginx configuration     [OK]
    Reloading Nginx                 [OK]
    HTTP Auth User Name: WordOps
    HTTP Auth Password : XXXXXX
    WordOps backend is available on https://XX.XX.XX.XX:22222 or https://ubuntu-s-1vcpu-2gb-lon1-01:22222
    WordPress admin user : Chandan Kumar
    WordPress admin password : lyWwnfOhD8XXXXXXNTS3vXri
    Configure redis-cache:	http://geekflarelab.com/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=redis-cache
    Object Cache:		Enable
    Successfully created site http://geekflarelab.com
    [email protected]:~#
    • Save the password securely.

    WordPress is successfully installed, and it’s time to point your domain to server IP. That was easy. Isn’t it?

    Getting Static IP

    By default, Google Cloud assigns an ephemeral IP to the instance you don’t want to configure with the domain as it may change in the next instance reboot.

    To avoid the risk, we will reserve a static IP.

    • Go to VPC Network >> External IP addresses from the left navigation.
    • Drop-down Ephemeral type and select static

    • Give the name and click RESERVE.
    • You will notice type is changed to Static.

    GCP VM is ready with the static external IP and WordPress, and the last thing to do is map the domain to the static IP.

    Update Domain A Record

    • Go to a domain registrar
    • Update the A record for your domain to the external IP you just reserved

    It may take some time to get propagated globally. You can use the DNS record lookup tool to verify.

    Once domain A record is updated, you can access the WordPress site with the domain you used with the WordOps command. In my example – http://geekflarelab.com

    Performing Load Test

    Let’s see how the newly setup WordPress site on Google Cloud Platform performs. Before doing a speed test, I will install a theme by Tagdiv, as mentioned earlier.

    This is not necessary, but to ensure I have some post/media files to simulate the real-site scenario.

    So as you can see, geekflarelab.com is ready on GCP.

    There are multiple ways to perform benchmarking, and one of the easiest ways is to do it from a cloud. I used Loader.io to put a load for 100 to 500 users for a one-minute duration, and the results are:

    Average response time = 695 ms

    I know this is a basic WordPress setup and require installing additional plugins, add security, SSL certificate, etc. in a production environment. But that would increase the load time by a few percentages.

    Conclusion

    I hope this gives you an idea of how to set up WordPress on the Google Cloud Platform. This requires a little bit of time to set up and skills, but if you would like to save $$ per month, I believe it’s worth it.

    Alternatively, if you don’t have time to set up or manage WordPress and at the same time want to enjoy Google Cloud, then you can try Cloudways managed hosting platform.