Tag Archives: DevOps

Introduction to automated WordPress deployments

I gave an introduction to automated WordPress deployments at WordCamp Miami 2017. This is the companion article that I wrote for it. If you’re just looking for the slides, click here.

How do you feel when you have to update the code on a client’s WordPress site? Do you feel confident that everything will be ok? Or are you filled with dread as if you were about to play a round of Russian roulette?

For a lot of us, it’s a lot closer to the Russian roulette! We press the upload button of our favourite FTP client. We then spend the next minute refreshing the home page in our browser hoping not to see a white screen of death. (Followed by a sigh of relief when everything loads as it should!)

This is a pretty stressful way to work. You shouldn’t have to feel this way each time that you want to update the code of a WordPress site. It should be something that you can do as often as you want without worrying that you broke your site in the process.

And that’s where the idea of automated WordPress deployment comes in. As the name implies, it’s all about automating this process of updating a WordPress site. This, in turn, makes this risky process safer. (But keep in mind that this isn’t a bulletproof solution!)

Gone are the days where you’re playing Russian roulette each time that you want to make a change! You can now update your client’s WordPress site with a lot more confidence. This lets you focus on shipping bug fixes (yay bugs!) and new features.

That said, there are a lot of different ways of automating your WordPress deployments. We’ll go over what makes a successful automated WordPress deployment workflow. We’ll also look at a lot of different tools that you can use to achieve it.

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A look at the modern WordPress server stack

I gave a talk at WordCamp San Diego 2016 on the modern WordPress server stack. This is the companion article that I wrote for it. If you’re just looking for the slides, click here. It was also later republished on Smashing Magazine.

Do you remember when you could run a “fast” WordPress site with just an Apache server and PHP? Yeah, those were days! Things were a lot less complicated back then.

Now, everything has to load lightning fast! Visitors don’t have the same expectations about loading times as they used to. A slow site can have serious implications for you or your client.

As a consequence, the WordPress server stack has had to evolve over the years to keep up with this need for speed. As part of this evolution, it’s had to add a few gears to its engine. Some of the older gears have had to change as well.

The result is that today the WordPress server stack looks quite different from a few years ago. To better understand it, we’re going to explore this new stack in detail. You’ll see how the various pieces fit together to make your WordPress site fast.

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Give your WordPress client an Apple experience

Hosting your WordPress site is an annoying problem. You can’t go far to see a discussion about it. Every week, someone asks who’s the best host. And each week, you never know if you’ll see conflicting answers or a consensus.

It’s not like you can live without hosting either. That puts you at the mercy of hosting providers. This isn’t to say that hosting providers are evil. I think a lot of them are good and mean well.

It’s just that, regardless of their intentions, it doesn’t change things for you. Hosting is a critical part of your client’s experience with your service. They’ll call you if their site is slow, down or even hacked. They’ll question the quality of your work because of it.

But it’s more often than not a result of their decision. Clients skimp on hosting all the time. It’s one of the aspects of a project that your client tends to neglect the most. You know this. You’ve lived it many times.

Your client thinks: “Why should I pay $50/month (or $100/month with SSL!!) for premium hosting? I can get something for half or a quarter of the price.” Of course, it sounds great to them.

Except you’re left holding the bag when things go wrong.

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