About a year ago our team at Kinsta – Europe’s largest managed WordPress host – decided it was time to overhaul our whole architecture. We already had a great setup but with emerging technologies like Google Cloud, LXD and PHP 7 we knew we could build something even more stable and a lot faster.
In this article we wanted to introduce these new technologies, show you how we’re using them and what this means for WordPress websites in our network.
The Power Of Google Cloud
Every hosting service on the planet consists of two parts: hardware and software. Google Cloud Platform helped us achieve our goals on the hardware side. We needed a strong foundation which wasn’t susceptible to outages, could bear the load of massive traffic (surges included), could scale with ease and was under our full control.
Google’s service – one of the largest networks on the planet – provides all this, and then some. One of our biggest issues in 2015 was being powerless when our current service providers experienced downtime. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail, especially when it comes to site speed and downtime. We found the outages completely unacceptable and wanted to find a way to avoid them.
Google Cloud provides a number of mechanisms that allows us to further increase our uptime, chiefly their Live Migration feature. From the Google Cloud Platform website:
Google Compute Engine’s instances can be moved to nearby hosts while active—even while under extreme load—complete with their working SSD storage (up to 1.5 TB). Since your VMs don’t need to be rebooted for host software updates or other standard operational tasks, uptimes are superb. This ensures predictable performance across all the different parts of your application.
Some other benefits that led us to choose Google Cloud are: an entirely carbon neutral infrastructure, continuously growing global datacenter footprint, all data written to Compute Engine disks is encrypted on the fly, completed ISO 27001, SSAE-16, SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 certifications and more.
The Flexibility Of LXD Containers
LXD is a container hypervisor (isn’t that the coolest name ever?) made by the amazing team behind Ubuntu. They allow us to compartmentalize each and every website and perform container operations through a clean REST API which is super fast, super secure and super efficient.
LXD is at the heart of our new system. It provides the best of both worlds: automatic scaling and complete system isolation. Why is that such a big deal? Security and user control.
Since every site created is within its own container, our network becomes more secure overall. Should a site be attacked or compromised no effects will be carried over to other sites on the network, including sites within the same account.
We can create instant backups with the help of container snapshots which don’t take up space or processing time. We can reinstate any backup within seconds making LXD perfect. These snapshots will provide the foundation for our multi-environment feature where you’ll be able to create multiple staging environments and create a custom workflow and data flow between them.
Isolating websites also means that we can offer a lot more control over your sites’ environments. We offer Git, SSH and WP-CLI out of the box and with the power of SSH you can manipulate your environment easily.
The Efficiency Of PHP 7
We had front-row seats to the “battle” between HHVM and PHP 7 and we think PHP 7 won. HHVM scales better, at huge loads it can indeed be faster, but has some downsides we’re not happy with and unfortunately most of them are tagged as “wontfix” by HHVM’s creators. On top of that we use New Relic Pro to monitor and analyze _each and every_ site hosted on our platform and New Relic will never support HHVM, which is a huge issue for us and our clients.
All our Google Cloud based systems run PHP 7 out of the box. While we can switch between PHP 5.6 and PHP 7 we urge all our customers to use PHP 7 whenever possible. It gives them a faster sites and significantly reduces server load.
We’re really thankful to Google and Ubuntu teams for making such powerful products. They’ve enabled us to create a great hosting environment which benefits our clients and us alike. Websites have become faster and more responsive which translates to better user experience and better SEO rankings.
We look forward to fine tuning our systems and keeping up with modern trends as always to shave loading times off all sites on our network even more.
Try It Yourself!
Our infrastructure translates into huge benefits for all WordPress websites in the Kinsta network. All our clients can forget about caching plugins, our server level caching outperforms any plugin by far. The container snapshots discussed above make sure that you don’t have to worry about backups either.
If you’d like to test the power of Google Cloud and LXD we’d love to have you in the Kinsta network. Head over to our website for more information and join the fastest and most modern host in the world.
You can try Kinsta risk-free for 30 days thanks to our 30-day money-back guarantee and no long-term contracts. So, if you cancel your hosting account with Kinsta in the first 30 days of service, we will issue a full refund.