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WordPress on S3: DNS and HTTPS configuration

Getting a WordPress-on-S3 website up and running is a piece of pie with our step-by-step guide, but making the website live requires a couple more pieces of the puzzle to fit together.

Today I’m going to talk about configuring DNS and HTTPS for WordPress on S3. DNS stands for Domain Name System and it is the technology that makes it possible to use friendly names for web sites. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and it is the technology that makes secure connections possible.


WordPress on S3: going pro

WordPress-on-S3 makes professional website administration as easy as pie.

OblakSoft is pleased to announce availability of the ready-to-run WordPress-on-S3 / Yapixx AMI with enhanced configuration, performance, and website administration features.  Now website owners can use Webmin and phpMyAdmin for secure website administration over the Internet, and pre-configure Cloud Storage Connection for the instance.


WordPress on S3: how to prevent hotlinking

Now that you use Amazon S3 to store and serve media files in scalable fashion, how would you prevent undesirable hotlinking to your files?

Hotlinking to cloud storage URLs

Hotlinking (or direct linking, inline linking) is when other sites link to or embed the image (or other media file, e.g. video) directly without providing a link to the source page. Oftentimes hotlinking happens without meaning any harm: people just want to share a picture with their Facebook friends, or post it to forums they like or etc. Regardless of intention, though, hotlinking may be harmful to your business: the media file gets downloaded from your site and consume the bandwidth that you pay for, but the user doesn’t get to see your page depriving you of ad revenue, etc.

With WordPress-to-Cloud solution all media files are stored in the cloud storage such as Amazon S3. Now it is the cloud storage (and not your web server) that serves the images and other media files. Even though this approach reduces load on your web server and hotlinking is unlikely to cause scalability problems, you are still paying for the bandwidth.


Amazon S3: no outage

When I talk to prospective customers about the Cloud Storage Engine for MySQL (ClouSE) the question of cloud reliability often comes up, especially recently in the light of the outages in AWS.

Cloud outages lead to a lot of publicity.  Cloud opponents jump in with “that’s why I haven’t moved to the cloud and never will”, cloud proponents rebut with “N rules for building highly available applications for the cloud”, cloud competitors call on customers to move to their cloud.  But it’s important to look into details, because not all outages are created equal.

Here is the data I found on the AWS outages in the last couple of years:

WordPress on S3: the beauty of simplicity

My first computer program was written almost quarter a century ago on a BK-0010 computer.  It was very simple: the program asked the user to enter their name and then greeted the user using the entered name, like “Hello, Artem!”.  I was fascinated.  A couple of lines written in Vilnius BASIC transformed a piece of metal and silicon into a considerate thing that cared about a person’s name enough to remember it :-).  Of course, the first experience doesn’t represent the day-to-day routine of software development, but the moments when I see a couple of lines making an amazing transformation still enchant me, and remind me why I’ve been writing code all this time.

I’ve just experienced this very same first-time feeling as we’ve released Yapixx – a picture sharing web application using the cloud storage.   The most amazing thing about Yapixx is that we wrote very little code to make it happen: most of its functionality is provided by WordPress, which by the way we didn’t modify at all. 

On one hand Yapixx is just WordPress, enhanced with plugins and configured to provide good picture sharing experience. 

On the other hand, Yapixx has gone where WordPress could not go before – Yapixx runs completely on top of Amazon S3, using the enormous power of S3 to make serving the users’ pictures highly scalable and storing all data extremely durable. 

Providing more choices help cloud computing to enter mainstream

my reply to http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-01-17/news/30634379_1_applications-standards-microsoft

I think the standardization indicates that cloud computing is moving towards maturity. No matter what the reasons for standardization are, I think that the standardization will boost cloud computing adoption and innovation. Standardization makes cloud adoption decisions easier because it mitigates the fears of data lock-in by a single vendor. It also increases the number of IT professionals and engineers who can work with the technology, because learning transferable skills is more attractive that learning single-vendor technology. This will boost bottom-up cloud adoption because more IT professionals and engineers will know how to do it. And last but not least it will keep the leader in check and innovating: a strong leader will only benefit from getting followers. A complementary approach to standardization is creating interoperability between vendor-specific services and established standard technology. For example we at OblakSoft have created ClouSE technology that brings cloud storage services to millions of MySQL-based applications seamlessly and securely, http://www.oblaksoft.com. In the end, I think providing more choices should help cloud computing to enter mainstream.


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