Docker Hosting for WordPress: What It Is, How It Works, And Why It Makes Sense -

Docker Hosting for WordPress: What It Is, How It Works, And Why It Makes Sense

Docker is helping speed up innovation in a slow-moving industry.

Developers love Docker because it allows them to package, deploy and run applications in lightweight containers. Spotify, for example, are using it to streamline the deployment pipeline of a large number of micro services.

Organizations of all sizes benefit from the flexibility of being able to run containers “on any computer, on any infrastructure, and in any cloud”, as Docker puts it.

We see less of it in the web hosting space where a lot of the players are happy to offer the same tried and tested solutions. Familiar tech is easier to administer and the business model is less risky, even if it means slowing innovation down.

Why Docker Hosting + WordPress = Next Gen Web Hosting

“The Next Generation”.

Say those words and a Star Trek fan will pop out of the woodwork to talk your ear off about the Borg, why Picard was the best captain, and Whoopi Goldberg. But in the web hosting world, the next generation means something very different…

Docker.

In a market where most players are still offering legacy solutions, Docker hosting has emerged as the newcomer that’s shaking things up.

Since its introduction in 2014, Docker has exploded in popularity, and for good reason (which we’ll talk about in a minute). “But woah, slow down for a second”, you say, “I’m not 100% sure what Docker even is”. Well, let’s take a closer look at the tech before we explore why Docker container hosting is turning things on their head…

Kind Of Like A Virtual Machine (But Not)

Docker is a form of container technology, which is pretty much what it sounds like: software that lets you store and run other software or applications on it. In the words of Docker itself, “a container is a standard unit of software that packages up code and all its dependencies so the application runs quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another”.

In other words, if you have an application—for example, a WordPress site—then you can package it into a WordPress Docker image, which is then converted into a container that runs from almost anywhere. In a way, containers are like virtual machines with one major difference: containers work at the OS level, whereas VMs operate at the hardware level. This means containers are more efficient and portable as a lot of the baggage that comes with a VM is jettisoned.

Illustration: Docker.com

Just by reading this, you’ve already seen one of the big benefits that containers have over its virtual predecessor, but being more efficient and portable is just the start.

Why Everyone’s Jumping On The Docker Bandwagon

Docker is anything but a fad. And there’s a number of good reasons for that…

  • Leaner, meaner versions of VMs: Because Docker containers use shared operating systems, they’re much smaller than a bloated virtual machine that runs at the hardware level (and needs a lot more resources and files).
  • Here, there, and everywhere: The magic of Docker is that once you’ve packaged your software into a lightweight container, you can run it pretty much anywhere that supports Docker. And with cloud infrastructure now ubiquitous, Docker cloud hosting has become just as common.
  • Share and share alike: Containers that have everything you need to run the stored application can be easily shared, either by the public Docker Hub or through a private repository.
  • Spins up in seconds: Because containers are stripped of all unnecessary resources and files, they can often be launched in under a minute. That means you practically don’t have to wait for your application to be ready.

As you can see, Docker is an incredibly flexible technology… which is where WordPress comes into the picture.

Docker, Meet WordPress

So, we’ve been singing the praises of Docker… but what’s it got to do with web hosting, and specifically WordPress?

In short, Docker hosting is the next generation of web hosting. An evolutionary step beyond the shared resources that are still so common today. A smarter, better way to host, manage, and keep WordPress running fast.

And since we don’t just talk the talk, that’s exactly how we do it.

Each website is deployed to its own container and doesn’t share any resources with any ‘noisy neighbour’. If traffic increases significantly, the platform automatically spins up more containers to handle that.

Furthermore, if a physical server becomes full, containers are deployed to a different one. That’s what you call horizontal scaling.

With shared hosting you’re competing for resources on a server that is often over-subscribed. You’ve heard the horror stories, no doubt.

You get your own resources with a VPS and typically a lot more grunt than the shared option, but you’re still limited by the box your website is sitting on. You can scale vertically – adding more power to your set up… until you there’s none left and a SysAdmin has to move your website to a different server.

The advantages of a container-based approach is not limited to the individual website but how a provider’s infrastructure is architected. An example: we can quickly deploy Convesio to any number of cloud providers: Google Cloud, AWS, Digital Ocean, etc…

(Fun fact: Convesio is the first true auto-scaling WordPress hosting platform built off Docker containers.)

Why Do It Like This?

Now, this wasn’t created just to be an impressive technological feat. Combining WordPress with Docker makes complete sense for a number of reasons.

  • Performance: Everyone wants a fast website, but the speed often comes with having to hand over more money. With Docker, you’ve got something that has the characteristics and performance of a Virtual Private Server (VPS), but without the added complexity and cost.
  • Self-healing: The #1 fear of almost any website is going offline, but when that happens with Docker, a new container is re-deployed to bring the site back up almost instantly.
  • Fast Setup: If you’ve had the “pleasure” of trying to deploy a new website, you know this can be a proverbial pain. When you use Docker, it’s done in a matter of a minute or two.
  • Auto Scaling: Yep, you’ve already read it, but it bears repeating. Scaling is a big deal when it comes to web hosting, and Docker makes it easy to design a solution to scale up or down automatically.
  • Price: This isn’t just about better bang for your buck, like we touched on above. Because Docker is lighter and leaner, it doesn’t need the same server resources to run on… which means it’s cheaper for everyone.

Now, there can be one down-side with Docker, which is that the “packaging” of the website image to make it ready to be deployed to a container can be a little complex.

Of course, that’s why Convesio is here: it platform handles all of the above by design while customers manage WordPress via an easy-to-use dashboard, that we have designed specifically for the non-technically minded.

“Warp Nine, Engage”

For years, the WordPress hosting industry has relied on the same technologies and techniques, despite the onward march of innovation. Container-based technology has already made a splash in many other industries, and it’s a matter of time before the traditional shared or VPS methods hosting that too many platforms stick with pass into legend.

Of course, anyone looking for web hosting may not care much for the technological debate. But if they’re after warp-speed, super-solid hosting without breaking the budget, WordPress Docker hosting simply makes sense.

See For Yourself

Talking of speed, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial and spin up a test instance of WordPress in two minutes. We don’t ask for a credit card, nor a certificate in System Administration either — our dashboard is very easy to use.

Lawrence Ladomery

My first job in digital was back in 1998 and have worked for all kinds of organizations, from startups to Government, agencies and businesses of all shapes and sizes. I've been using WordPress 12 years but fell in love with it in 2017 when I started working in the web hosting space and getting to know the community. I am also a big fan of Elementor and run the Elementor Melbourne Meetup.

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