Google Cloud is a collection of computing services that runs on the very same infrastructure that Google uses for its high-end products. You can access their hardware in the form of virtual machines and host your website or application on their data centers. The cloud hosting provider offers next level scalability with servers that are able to adapt to high-traffic surges. What makes it so scalable is that, unlike a traditional virtual machine (VM) or a virtual private server (VPS), Google Cloud hosting services for WordPress websites use multiple machines to store your data. The quantity of resources you can add to your cloud is unlimited, making this hosting service a perfect option for projects requiring high-end performance. However, this top-of-the-line infrastructure comes with a price tag attached.
Google Cloud hosting for WordPress websites – Pricing
If you are willing to shop around and commit to a longer contract, you can find great hosting plans on shared servers at less than $5 per month. There are also unmanaged virtual private servers with prices starting at less than $10 per month, however, they do require some knowledge of server management.
Google Cloud, on the other hand, charges you per hour for the resources you use. To put things into perspective, let’s say you are running a 1 CPU machine with 4 GB of RAM. This will cost you $0.0475 per hour, which equals $24.2725 per month. This is very much in the same price range as many managed WordPress web hosts, but with one key difference – managed hosts often provide a hands-off experience while Google Cloud puts you in control over your cloud account.
Google also offers free credits for signing up as well as reasonable discounts for those that know how to configure their machine.
The infrastructure behind Google Cloud hosting
Let’s take a look at the components that power Google Cloud web hosting.
Google has its hardware-based in data centers all across the globe. Furthermore, the software-defined network that forms the basis for their services is pretty extensive. Over the last two decades, they built an immense network that is said to deliver 20-30% of all internet traffic.
Shared hosting is generally the most affordable option. However, it comes with a tradeoff since you have to share server space and resources with other sites. On the other hand, virtual private servers (VPS) provide websites with the privacy and resources they need by dedicating a specific area of a virtual server to use.
Cloud hosting holds the middle ground. Websites hosted on the cloud don’t have a dedicated virtual server but are instead hosted across a system of virtual machines called Compute Engine. That means websites are not limited to a single virtual machine and don’t use shared resources.
Since Google Cloud is not a managed hosting solution, you are responsible for configuring your own resources. These resources are fully scalable, so in case your website experiences a spike in activity, you have an option to scale them up during that time frame and bring them down to optimal levels when the traffic returns to normal. That said, hosting on Google Cloud can be very cost-efficient when regularly monitored.
How to install WordPress on Google Cloud
Installing WordPress on Google Cloud is a bit more complicated than installing it on other web hosts. In this section of today’s article, our digital marketing agency Chicago will walk you through the installation one step at a time to make the process as seamless as possible:
Deploy a WordPress instance
The very first thing you need to do is sign up for Google Cloud. This shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes. Once you gain access to the console, we suggest verifying the account with your bank or credit card, and Google will award you $300 worth of credits.
After this is done, launch a new project by selecting the Marketplace option from the left-hand side menu of your dashboard.
On the next page, you will see the search feature which you can use to type in WordPress. You will be presented with a list of configurations that you can deploy in a couple of clicks.
Navigate to the one that has Google Click to Deploy in its subtitle.
Upon selecting this option, you will be presented with a preview of estimated costs and the stack the package uses.
As you can see in the image above, this stack offers 1 CPU, 2 GB of RAM, and 10 GB of storage space. The estimated cost is approximately $13.61 per month with discounts for each month of full usage. This is perfect for running a website that receives a moderate amount of traffic. The next thing you need to do is click on LAUNCH ON COMPUTE ENGINE.
Create and configure your project
This step starts with choosing a name for your project and clicking the Create button.
The service should take a couple of minutes to set up. During this time you can further adjust the configuration of your new Google Cloud instance. Bear in mind that changing settings can reduce as well as increase your costs. Keep an eye on the estimated costs on the right-hand side.
Here are a few suggestions concerning this page. You need to make sure not to use less than 2 GB of RAM for optimal performance. Also, this setup suggests a shared CPU as its default option. To avoid any possibility of running a slow WordPress website, we suggest navigating to Machine type and selecting 1vCPU with 3.75 GB of memory.
This will increase your monthly costs to $24.75, not including discounts. If you wish to further increase your performance, navigate to Boot disk type and select SSD Persistent Disk.
Your estimated costs are now around $25.97 each month, not including discounts. We found the default 10 GB of storage to be enough for the majority of websites. There are just a few more things to do before you move on:
- Choose a region for your server
- Check the Install phpMyAdmin option
- Enable HTTP and HTTPS traffic
You are now ready to hit that Deploy button. Google Cloud should take a couple of minutes to get everything prepared. After that, you will be presented with the deployment page where you can view the credentials of your new installation. Here is how it looks.
Just make sure to change your MySQL and WordPress admin users and passwords on the right-hand side, and you are ready for the final step.
Map a domain and set up an SSL certificate
Your website is now live on the cloud, but it is currently accessible only via an IP address. Next step is mapping a custom domain name. Your domain name is very important for the future performance of your WordPress website. Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing one:
- Come up with a unique and memorable name that is likely to stick with your visitors
- Choose a name that gives new visitors as well as search engines an idea of what your website is about
- Keep in mind that your domain name impacts SEO
Once you have decided on the domain name, you need to set up an SSL certificate for your website. This is basically all you need to know when it comes to Google Cloud hosting for WordPress websites. Make sure to keep a watchful eye on your billing costs, since Google will start charging you according to your payment method as soon as your free credits run out.
Benefits of Google Cloud hosting
Now that you know how to host your website on the Google Cloud Platform let’s check all the benefits this solution brings.
According to their Service Level Agreement (SLA), all customers are guaranteed a monthly uptime percentage of 99.5% for single instance VMs.
That equals 716.4 hours of website online time. Also, since their network is widely distributed, in case one of the servers goes down, there are plenty more to ensure that your website stays active.
Google Cloud gives you complete control over the number of resources you allocate to your website, and you can freely scale them up and down when required. However, the more server resources your website consumes, the bigger the costs.
The Cloud network is configured to support high bandwidth and low latency. As it is located all around the world, your website data can be rapidly transferred to Google’s browser. The hosting scalability also plays a huge role here. In case your bandwidth and storage are configured for traffic surges, there is little to no risk of the server being pushed past its potential.
Enabling Google’s content delivery network (CDN) gives your website access to even more servers making static assets delivery go more smoothly.
Google’s data center hardware is custom-built, and its employees monitor data-center facilities 24 hours a day. Furthermore, the data shared over Cloud are encrypted and distributed over multiple virtual machines.
When it comes to website backups, emergency backup generators allow for the data to be immediately shifted to another server in case something unpredictable happens.
However, it is essential to mention that you are still responsible for securing your WordPress website despite all the safety measures.
To those of you that have only used traditional hands-off hosting providers, switching to Google Cloud hosting for a WordPress website may feel like a huge step. With its unique pricing model and hosting configuration options, this model is probably very different from anything you have tried before, hence the reluctance. You may, however, soon find out that it pays huge dividends.
Google Cloud hosting provides your WordPress website with the next level of performance. If you crave limitless scalability, premium security, more control, and flexibility, the huge step you are about to take is certainly one in the right direction.