While working with press medias, it is critical to be dynamic and upfront when it comes to implementing peculiar resolutions to relevant needs. It is understandable that press medias have distinctive requirements other than the standard blogging strategies often practised, both at a technical and publishing point of view. Press medias are daily vulnerable and any significant downside regarding loading speed, overall performance and deployment might cause loss regarding revenue, content relevance and even, failure to capture the attention of their readers which will lead consequently, to down spiral traffic spikes.
Having this in mind – and for many – looking for an optimal, secure, globally scaled and cost-effective hosting solution may quickly turn into a frightening experience, nonetheless, Google Cloud Platform may be the rightful solution. It is indeed, the strongest high-performance competitor to most the popular cloud hosting enthusiast that constantly keeps improving. Hence the practical choice in terms of scalability, pricing and long haul infrastructure, allowing top-notch innovation from prototyping to scalable deployment and production.
Google Cloud Platform is the most antagonistic when it comes to pricing strategies when compared to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, for instance.
Truth be told, it has been quite some time since I last experimented with Google Cloud Platform and I must acknowledge that at first, I was not wholly convinced with their architecture neither the procedures one had to take just to deploy WordPress correctly. Notwithstanding, in the past few weeks – and while working on a press media of a considerable dimension in need for a better hosting solution – I have chosen to overlook my initial sagacity and venture to assemble a full-fledged virtual machine using Google Compute Engine, in this distinct case, deploying a single WordPress installation as a quick start, and this not because it is a widespread popular platform but rather because it is for me, the most versatile.
For those yet uninformed, Google Cloud Platform is a premium service that extends a $300,00 USD credit to spend on its services following the sixty day trial period expiration. The credit is granted instantly after signing up to their service.
The first step is considerably straightforward, and as any other service online all that is required is to sign up for a trial account and then, verify the account using a credit card which will not be charged except if you decide to upgrade the account or after the credit expires, this if by then you prefer to continue to use their service.
Shortly after signing up for Google Cloud Platform, and authenticating your account, you will be able to access the Developers Console. Once you successfully login to the Developers Console, navigate to the Cloud Launcher, which is located on the left sliding navigation bar and click to launch it:
By default, and shortly after loading, it will showcase a plethora of available Launchers. For the scope of this article, I will choose the WordPress Launcher. Nevertheless, you may also become aware that Google Cloud Platform offers additional deployment products, such as App Engine, Compute Engine, Container Engine, Google APIs, Google Cloud Storage, BigQuery, SQL, among others or you can optionally choose to deploy a pre-build solution:
After choosing the WordPress Launcher, it will take you to the WordPress Launch on Compute Engine, where you should notice that the estimated cost for this single and basic installation would be of $4.49 USD on a monthly base, a sum that will not be debited right away. It will also reveal a general overview of the installation characteristics, as well as the provider, Bitnami. Besides the introductory information, it also displays the technical details regarding your WordPress package, such as Apache, MySQL, PHP correspondent versions and so on.
Once you choose the Launcher and proceed to launch WordPress on Compute Engine, you will be required to fill out a form titled “Create a project” in order to deploy the WordPress installation. Even thus Google Compute Engine may at first, seem complicated, it is presented in a clean and visually pleasant to use interface, easing the user experience in a calm manner instead of overwhelming the interface with features as the likes of Amazon Web Services:
Give the Project name and assign an App Engine Location by opening this event while clicking on Show advanced options… Once you have filled out the form required and according to your personal requisites, click the button Create. Take into consideration that it may take a couple of seconds to Deploy WordPress to Google Compute Engine, in the meantime, it will display the following screen with the installation progress:
When your project concludes production, it will be time to deploy WordPress. Again, you will be required to configure the setup, which includes Deployment name, Zone, Machine type, Disk type, Disk size and additional requirements. If you are uncertain on how to proceed, you may leave it by default and switch it at a later stage according to your necessities:
Depending on the setup, and requirements, the installation may take few minutes to be fully deployed, in the meantime, Google Cloud Platform will display the progress of the operation, as well as modal boxes that are helpful to guide you throughout the whole process:
After deployment, Google Cloud Platform will display the designated data to access the frontend of WordPress, as well as the Admin username and associated password for the dashboard. To login to WordPress Dashboard, you simply need to click the button where it reads; log into the admin panel, which will open a new tab in your browser with the traditional WordPress login form.
As aforementioned, once you click the button, it will take you to the WordPress traditional login page, just like any other standard installation setup elsewhere, the native login page will display and require you to fill out the Username or Email, followed by the Password. Both credentials have been automatically generated for you in the previous step:
If you followed those steps correctly, the ultimate result will be the one displayed above, a fresh WordPress install with an essential and clean setup that you can now relish by exploring and experimenting as you may please. Overall, installing themes and plugins works the same way as it would with any other WordPress installation running elsewhere, therefore, I strongly suggest you to install everything you have running on your production installation to ensure that Google Cloud Platform runs it without issues and that you may learn how to overcome difficulties in case you encounter plugin conflicts.
Once you trial period expires, per each new project you wish to create, it will require being linked to an individual billing account, meaning that Google Cloud Platform somehow, offers you the flexibility to interlink multiple billing accounts with different credit cards associated, which is a notable approach if you wish to host third-party installations. I am certain that the concept behind this billing setup is to allow their plans to run as a pay-as-you-go policy of their cloud computing engine. Unfortunately, you cannot make use of a pre-paid credit card, and any attempt to add it to the billing information will result in a temporary block from their part. In order to re-activate the account and lift the block, it will be required to replace the credit card information, and it might take a few working days to have the account validated and re-enabled so that you may continue using their services.
I wish to confirm that if this is the first time you attempt to install WordPress in the cloud, it would be wise to test its functionality and limitations in a period inferior to four weeks after deployment, without setting your installation into a production mode. If you wish to migrate an existing WordPress installation from another provider, to then make use of Google Cloud Platform as your new hosting service, then you may wish to return here and read on how to proceed on Migrating WordPress to Google Cloud Platform, an article I am planning to write and publish within the following weeks to come.
The downside of Google Cloud Platform, as it occurs with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure is that their technical support is rather restricted, which can raise some constraints if you somehow encounter an issue related to plugin conflicts, theme errors or even malware or hacking attacks. In this particular case, you may find yourself managing the technical end on your own, therefore, certain technical skill sets will be required from your part, as having WordPress installed on Google Cloud Platform will signify that you are hosting it in an unmanaged environment.
In which concerns to speed, I have successfully migrated this very same WordPress to Google Cloud Platform and performed some speed tests using Pingdom. My production installation is currently hosted by Pressidium, and has a load time of 8.61 seconds (with Content Delivery Network enabled), while the very same copy on Google Cloud Platform loads at an impressive 1.32 seconds (without Content Delivery Network enabled). The discrepancy between both hosting environments is indeed, abysmal.
At this point, I did not perform complex speed tests mostly because of this installation of mine, which is still quite fresh and not entirely fully features packed. Nevertheless, I will present a comparison illustration whence I migrate a vastly productive and fully featured press media toward Google Cloud Platform so that the results can be more explanatory as well as detailed.
In conclusion, if you are eager to experience something distinctive and versatile, then I would suggest you try Google Cloud Platform and explore it to the fullest.
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