How To Speed Up And Protect Your WordPress Site With Cloud Storage

wordpress cloudWordPress itself may be a lean and mean piece of software but sadly it’s memory requirements can quickly swell as you add themes and plugins not to mention blog posts, images and – worst of all – videos to your hosting account. As a result it’s not uncommon for you to find that your beloved WordPress site becomes sluggish over time – something that not only offers a poor experience for your valued visitors but can even be used as a ranking factor by Google.

This issue can be made more extreme by increasing traffic volumes as your database and hosting account struggle to serve all the files that are being requested. In extreme circumstances – such as a site that receives a sudden influx of traffic having been mentioned in the mainstream media or on popular social media sites – you can even find your site grinding to a halt altogether and crashing.

Clearly, whatever the level of severity this isn’t an ideal situation however thanks to wonders of cloud storage it’s possible to take the pressure off your own server and instead create a faster and far more scalable way for your visitors to access your website.

Using Cloud Storage Instead Of A CDN

So-called “content delivery networks” aim to host your WordPress website in multiple locations around the globe. The reason why this works so well is that each individual server is placed under less pressure and so is able to serve your website files faster.

Additionally as these files need to travel a shorter distance (so a visitor from London will access files from the UK rather than the US) they will load noticably faster and provide a better user experience. However, they’re not cheap and can require a fair amount of setup and maintenance.

Smaller sites however can leverage cloud storage to achieve a similar result at a far lower cost. Two popular cloud storage alternatives for this purpose are Dropbox and Amazon’s own Simple Storage Solution (or S3 for short).

By placing large media files such as your WordPress theme, your images and even your video and podcast content onto a cloud storage account you’ll find that your own web hosting account needs to work less hard. Furthermore these dedicated cloud storage solutions are designed to rapidly serve these files – irrespective of the number of requests they may receive.

In short they’re specifically designed for these purposes where a low-cost web host like Hostgator or Bluehost may struggle to keep up with your visitors requests.

Another benefit of using a cloud storage account to serve your WordPress site’s media is that the set-up is now simpler than ever thanks to a number of free WordPress plugins currently on the market.

Two popular options that I have tested with good results include Amazon S3 For WordPress and Amazon S3 And Cloudfront.

Simply set up your cloud storage account, install one of these plugins and set it running so that your media files are hosted and served from elsewhere and your WordPress site runs significantly faster as a result.

Backing Up WordPress To The Cloud

One final factor worthy of consideration when it comes to integrating your WordPress site with a reliable online storage provider is that they can also be used to effortlessly back up your site incase of problems.

Personally speaking I have suffered a number of issues over the last few years – from web hosting accounts dying, to my sites getting hacked, to experimental WordPress plugins rendering my sites unreachable. In every case, having a secure backup of my sites has been worth it’s weight in gold and has enabled me to get back online in record time – and without any technical know-how on my part.

Many of the more popular options can be scheduled to make daily backups of your site so that no more effort is required on your part, freeing you up to focus on creating memorable content and promoting your site rather than protecting it from disaster.

Again, a range of plugins are available to assist you in backing up your site ranging from high-end, expensive solutions down to free solutions. I have always used a free plugin called Automatic WordPress Backup and having tested it in the field in real “make or break” situations it’s an option I would highly recommend to you.

About the Author: Peter Morrison is an author and educator living on the south coast on England. You can read more of his technology rants over at his new blog by clicking here.

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