02 Apr / 2015
So far in the WordPress on the Cloud series, we have successfully installed WordPress and understood what are the major differences while working with a cloud server instead of VPS. We also learned how to manage themes, plugins and deployment for WordPress sites on Cloud. If you have followed the tutorials so far, you should have WordPress site running with smooth & fast deployments. Now it’s time that we take a deeper look at site performance optimization. We need to make sure that our WordPress site is fast, which is very essential when you are trying to deliver the best user experience and SEO (Search Engines take site speed into consideration while ranking).
For achieving the said optimization, we will make use of general optimization methods like caching, CDN, asset compression, database optimization, etc; Once basic optimization is in place, we’ll fine tune it by using monitoring tools and making appropriate changes accordingly.
For basic optimization, we will be using W3 Total Cache, CloudFlare, query cache & optimization, etc; so let’s discuss these methods one-by-one. Note that during this tutorial we will be following the same “Develop Locally, Deploy Globally” strategy we learned and adopted in a previous tutorial.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
CDN is a network of distributed servers dedicated to serve content with reduced page load time, higher availability, and scalability. Many of the big companies have already adopted this technology as it turns out to be reliable, cost efficient and scalable option. To use CDN for our WordPress site, we can use plugins like W3 Total Cache or Cloudflare. They both are quite easy to set up and they work together quite well. To use these plugins, first install & test the plugins in a development environment (i.e. the local machine in my case) and then deploy the changes.
Web Caching is a widely-used method for temporarily storing and serving static content. Having a cache system in place helps in achieving drastic positive difference in the site performance. Note that CDN and Cache are not exactly the same systems. In fact, one can use them together for advance site performance optimization. To use a Cache system in our WordPress site, we can use the W3 Total Cache plugin by activating corresponding options within the plugin. W3 Total Cache comes with one more important feature which minimizes content and files. This feature helps us in reducing files size and number of files, which results in minimizing number of transaction; thus effectively improving both site performance and user experience.
The stats above are obtained from phpadmin installed in production along with the database. I am using MySQL database obtained from ComputeNext Global Cloud Marketplace, rest of the details about the database can be found here.
As the content of the WordPress sites increases, performance of the site is affected due to increased data query time. Database indexing is most commonly used method for improving query performance. Although WordPress database is already indexed, there is scope for query optimization to improve overall performance of the site. You can take a look at detailed description of WordPress database here. One more method for database optimization is query cache; enabling query cache in the WordPress sites will cache frequently used SQL queries. This method will increase the memory consumption but this increase is quite insignificant and can be neglected considering the overall performance improvement, thus validating its use.
Monitoring and Fine Tuning
So far we have performed basic optimization techniques on our WordPress site. To take this optimization to the next level we need to fine tune the current configuration, to do so we take help of monitoring tools like New Relic. By looking at results we get from monitoring, we proceed towards customized optimization.
New Relic is powerful performance monitoring tool we will be using for making sure that the WordPress configuration is optimized to our needs. With New relic provides detailed graphical performance report about server, transaction, disk, errors, events, third party requests, database performance, themes and plugin, etc. With this information in hand, one can make sound decision on where to make further changes to keep the site running smoothly. New Relic integrates nicely with W3 Total Cache, providing us with more options to choose from the pool of performance optimization tools. There are some WordPress New Relic (unofficial) plugins available, make sure to take a look at them.
Note that you can use W3 Total Cache, CloudFlare, New Relic together even if they have some common features, you just have to make sure to enable/disable corresponding option while configuring the tools. For this series I have chosen combination of CloudFlare (content delivery network and security), W3 Total Cache ( to minify assets, database & object cache), New Relic (monitoring).
This concludes third article in WordPress on Cloud series. Stay tuned as we move towards fourth and final article of the series, where we will test optimization techniques we discussed in this article. We will also take a look at some advanced WordPress configuration and some other resources for WordPress on Cloud.
20 Mar / 2015
In last article of the WordPress on Cloud series, we covered WordPress installation on a cloud server. Once WordPress is up & running, the next immediate step is to customize our website and add features to it. The most common way to approach this customization is with themes and plugins.
In our case, for using themes and plugins we have to come up with a way aligned to our infrastructure. In production we cannot install themes and plugins directly from the WordPress admin panel, as it will create inconsistency among host servers. We approach this issue by making use of the “Develop locally and Deploy globally” strategy. In this approach we develop and test on a local machine, and then we deploy that code to all of our production servers. This approach makes sure that each server has updated version of the website and there is no inconsistency. This approach also saves us hassle of making changes and testing in production environment, which is usually quite slow and does not include in ideal devops practices.
Cloud in the EU – Regulations and Data Privacy Laws To Be Aware Of
When the General Data Protection Regulation takes effect, it will replace the Data Protection Directive and become the ruling law for data processing and collection in all EU member states, regardless of those states’ individual laws.
Currently, the EU Data Protection Directive — which applies to EU-based organizations and those whose data passes through the EU — isn’t legally binding for citizens of EU states and leaves it up to member states to translate the principles into their own laws. And several have, including the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark, and Italy.
13 Mar / 2015
By now, cloud-based systems have proven their superiority over traditional infrastructure: Cloud infrastructure facilitates seamless availability (touting almost zero downtime), scalability, security, and more (You can read more about cloud based systems on our blog). As of January 2015, WordPress was used by more than 23% of top 10 million websites and it’s still the most popular blogging system on the web with more than 60 million websites.
The Benefits Of A Geographically Diverse Federated Cloud
It’s cliché to say that modern online businesses are global businesses, but it’s worth focusing attention on their global nature because it raises a number of issues. Physical limitations in the speed of data transmission can significantly hinder the provision of fast interactive services. Federated clouds, which use a geographically diverse selection of cloud vendors, can help overcome many of the limitations of geographic distance.
Centralization and Geographical Diversity
Data is central to the functioning of modern businesses, and for data to be useful, it has to be integrated. Much of the value of data depends on companies being able to to contextualize, integrate, compare, and analyze. That imposes some restrictions on data handling, particularly where centralization is concerned. The most effective big data analytics strategies depend on access to huge data lakes — it’s the mass of data that provides much of the value.
However, the centralization of data into data lakes is at odds with the desire to provide high-performance interactive services. Centralization necessarily involves degraded performance as we move away from the location of the data repository. The solution is an infrastructure model based on both localized and centralized processing and storage, and that requires infrastructure to be placed at the edges of the network, close to users.
A heterogenous network of geographically dispersed end points exchanging data with a central repository is one of the foundational cloud federation strategies, and it’s one we’re likely to see becoming more popular as companies begin to rely on applications built on top of big data lakes. The technology to tie together these heterogenous networks at the application layer is well established: RabbitMQ is a popular way to manage communications between dispersed machines and networks.
But federated clouds of this nature can be extremely complex to provision and manage at the infrastructure level — particularly when multiple cloud vendors are involved. Larger companies may have to deal with dozens of cloud vendors at the edges of their network, and because the big cloud vendors tend to stick fairly close to large urban centers, many of those edge nodes will be with smaller providers, multiplying the complexity of building a global federated cloud network.
Cloud Integration Layers Cut Through Complexity
ComputeNext’s cloud marketplace integration layer was built to mitigate the inherent complexity of deploying geographically diverse federated clouds, making it far easier to provide very fast performance to geographically distributed users. Rather than negotiating contracts with many vendors, effectively handling payment to multiple companies, getting to grips with their control interfaces, and managing the integration of their cloud networks, ComputeNext provides a single interface for deploying, managing, and paying for infrastructure from vendors across the world.
Reductions in complexity translate to reductions in cost and increases in reliability: companies are able to bring their product to market more quickly and with less management overhead. Companies who use ComputeNext’s cloud integration layer are able to build heterogeneous, geographically diverse cloud networks that provide excellent user experience more quickly and more reliably.
23 Feb / 2015
Cloud Video Editing (and much more) with Kaltura
A Platform for Cloud Video Editing and Content Management
Whether for the desktops, laptops, tablets, or mobile phones, it’s no argument that video has become the king medium for content consumption. To stay relevant and competitive, companies are becoming content creators — with marketing budgets being channeled into the video medium in increasing amounts. This has created a new challenge and business units are now realizing it’s necessary to deploy and own a video content management system or platform that helps them not only ingest and edit video but also share, distribute, manage and possibly monetize their content online across a variety of devices. Enter Kaltura, one of the world’s leading video platforms for a wide variety of applications and use cases in video content delivery and management.
When we talk about the Internet, we tend to have in mind the consumer Internet, the Internet that we all use every day and that is the foundation of modern communication, publishing, and eCommerce. When we talk about the Internet of Things (IoT), which is really just the Internet extended beyond traditional computing devices, we think about Nest, and Philips Hue, and the other sensor-laden, Internet-connected devices that are likely to find their way into our lives in the coming year.
10 Feb / 2015
2015 Will Be The Year Of The Federated Cloud
The original promise of the cloud was that it would offer powerful infrastructure suitable to any computing task to anyone with the means to pay — and that users would need to pay far less than under traditional infrastructure procurement and deployment models.
For the most part, cloud vendors have fulfilled that promise. Startups and established businesses now have easy access to more powerful infrastructure more easily than could have been dreamed of a decade ago, and that’s been a powerful economic benefit. Businesses that could never have existed in the early years of the dot com era are now flourishing in the cloud. Entrepreneurs are able to bring more ideas to fruition and they’re freer to experiment because failure doesn’t mean what it used to.
Small and Medium Businesses Gain from Multi-Cloud Marketplaces
As cloud adoption has grown, a pattern has developed. While businesses of all sizes have recognized the value of cloud computing and adopted its various service modalities, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) adoption has been significantly higher among enterprise-sized organizations, while smaller businesses have predominantly chosen software-as-a-service (SaaS). Of course, there is plenty of crossover, and while smaller companies that are largely web-based have enthusiastically adopted IaaS, a significant majority of smaller manufacturing, service, logistics, and retail companies have stuck to more traditional models of infrastructure deployment like colocation and in-house data centers.