WordPress in the Cloud, Free for a Year
For the past few months, my personal website has existed in limbo. I had the domain registered through MediaTemple, and was using Posterous to manage it for a while, but stopped updating it for a while only to come back and find Posterous had not only changed significantly, but had also been acquired by Twitter.
I thought about signing up for MediaTemple’s Grid-Service hosting package (for nostalgia mostly; it was Onward State’s first host) but the price deterred me.
WordPress.com would have been easy, but it’s not set-up for experimentation or development… had I just wanted to get my content up quickly and beautifully, there’s no doubt I would have headed over there. Since not, though, I searched around a bit for WordPress-specific hosting companies. There are more than a few (notably WP Engine), but none were at my ideal price-point of $0. What can I say… I aim low.
It took just a bit more searching before I stumbled on the perfect solution. Well, at least, perfect enough.
Turns out Amazon is offering a free usage tier for AWS. Not familiar with it? You probably are much more than you realize. AWS is the cloud computing platform that runs megasites like Zynga, Netflix, and many others. And what could be better on one of the world’s most popular cloud computing platforms than WordPress, the blogging software that now runs something like a fifth of all new websites.
A sweet company called BitNami Hosting provided the connection between AWS and WordPress. The service helped me create and install a server with WordPress on my EC2 instance. While it is possible to set WordPress up directly through AWS, BitNami simplified the whole process and had some helpful documentation to assist along the way.
Was it the easiest way to get publishing online? Not by a long shot… but to turn a phrase, curses are ignorance leaving the body. Now that everything is up and running, I’m really enjoying exploring the various systems and thinking about how I can extend this WordPress installation. Oh yeah, and also about what else I should write on here. If you’ve got thoughts, leave ’em in the comments.