Since I am now working for Google, and specifically the Google Cloud Platform, I took the opportunity to test out our Cloud Launcher offerings to migrate this blog over to the Cloud Platform as quickly as possible.
This site runs on WordPress, mainly because I found it the easiest to migrate all the content I have written from 2004 onwards, and since then, it’s been a stable and easy to use platform.
There are several options for running WordPress on Google Cloud Platform, including, as I recently found out, running on App Engine, but the Cloud Launchers let you create an instance on Google Compute Engine, which is our Infrastructure as a Service offering. I didn’t need to install any SDK tools to get WordPress installed and running, as well as implement my specific customisations, I could do it all through the Developer Console in the browser.
Going to the Cloud Launcher page, and typing in “Wordpress”, results in several results, including two separate providers for a single WordPress install. I ended up choosing the Bitnami solution for the following reasons:
- It provided a nice one screen setup process.
- I found the Bitnami documentation and community to be comprehensive.
It is worth noting that this install does have the following caveats:
- It’s a 10GB disk image. If you want to make it larger, you will have to extend it after the initial creation.
- It installs a local MySQL instance, rather than use Cloud SQL.
The installation screen of the WordPress Launcher is fairly straight forward, including automatically opening network ports for HTTP and HTTPS traffic.
If you want to have a static IP (which I know I did), make sure to open up the Management, disk, networking, access & security options, and select Networking. If you look at the drop down forExternal IP, you are able to create a new static IP right then and there.
After clicking the button and waiting a few minutes for the virtual machine to be initialised, I had a brand new WordPress install with a temporary admin password and some sample WordPress plugins installed, ready to go.
My next task was to migrate across the custom theme that my blog uses, which means SSH’ing into the server. Personally, I hate having to worry about managing all the security keys I have for various servers. The developer console makes this ridiculously simple: click the button on the console, and it starts up a bash console in your VM.
From here it was very easy to transfer my skin across to this new machine and install it in the appropriate WordPress directory.
I used the WordPress Import/Export Tool to port across all my content, which included comments and images, and it worked perfectly. I did manually re-install my WordPress Plugins, such as Akismet, Crayon Syntax Highlighter and W3 Total Cache, but it only took me 10 minutes to copy paste the configurations across from one browser window to another.
That is really it. Moving my blog to Google Cloud Platform was very simple, and I didn’t have to install a single SDK or download any SSH keys.
Some fun things to do once you have your WordPress install up and running:
- Configure an Uptime Check on your blog through Google Cloud Monitoring, to let you know if your site ever goes down.
- Sign up with SendGrid, which gives you a free 25,000 emails a month when used from Cloud Platform, and install the WordPress plugin.
- Remove the local MySQL install, and move your data over to Cloud SQL, for automated database backups.
- Take a Persistent Disk Snapshot once you done customising your WordPress install, as a backup or to fire up another copy.
If you are interested in trying this out, sign up for a free trial. You get up to 60 days to play around with Google Cloud Platform, and this is an easy way to test out the platform with no risk.