WordPress is an immensely popular content management system (CMS) that powers millions of websites worldwide. As businesses increasingly rely on their online presence for marketing, sales, and customer engagement, it is crucial that their websites are highly available, providing a seamless user experience, even during high-traffic periods. This article will walk you through deploying a high-availability WordPress website on Azure, ensuring your site remains fast, secure and scalable.
Benefits of Deploying a High-Availability WordPress on Azure
Before diving into the deployment process, let’s explore the benefits of hosting a high-availability WordPress website on Azure:
Azure allows you to scale your WordPress site on-demand, accommodating traffic spikes and growth without downtime.
With Azure, you benefit from Microsoft’s robust security measures, including network security, data encryption, and identity management.
Azure’s global network of data centres ensures that your website is hosted close to your users, resulting in faster page load times and improved user experience.
Azure offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model, meaning you only pay for the resources you use.
Azure supports a wide range of open-source technologies, including WordPress, allowing you to customize your website’s functionality to meet your specific requirements.
Steps to Deploy a High-Availability WordPress on Azure
Now that we understand the benefits of hosting a high-availability WordPress site on Azure, let’s dive into the steps involved in the deployment process:
Set up your Azure account and subscription
If you don’t have an Azure account, sign up for a free trial. Once your account is set up, you will need to select a subscription plan. For this tutorial, we will be using the pay-as-you-go plan.
Create a new Azure Resource Group
An Azure Resource Group is a logical container for resources that are deployed within an Azure subscription. To create a new resource group, navigate to the Azure Portal and click on “Resource Groups” in the left-hand menu. Click on “Add” and enter a name for your resource group, along with selecting a region.
Deploy a WordPress instance
Azure Marketplace offers a pre-configured WordPress image that includes all necessary components, such as the web server, PHP, and MySQL. To deploy this instance, follow these steps:
a. In the Azure Portal, click on “Create a resource” in the left-hand menu.
b. Search for “WordPress” in the Marketplace and select the official WordPress image by Bitnami.
c. Click on “Create” and configure the instance by providing a name, selecting your subscription, and choosing the previously created resource group.
d. Choose a VM size based on your expected traffic and performance requirements.
e. Provide a username and password for your WordPress admin account, along with an SSH key for secure access.
f. Click on “Review + Create” to review your configuration and click “Create” to deploy the instance.
Configure Azure Traffic Manager for load balancing
To ensure high availability, we will use Azure Traffic Manager to distribute incoming traffic across multiple WordPress instances. To set this up, follow these steps:
a. In the Azure Portal, click on “Create a resource” and search for “Traffic Manager.”
b. Click on “Create” and provide a name for your Traffic Manager profile, along with selecting your subscription and resource group.
c. Choose a routing method (we recommend “Performance” for optimal user experience) and click “Create” to deploy the Traffic Manager profile.
Add WordPress instances to the Traffic Manager profile
Now that the Traffic Manager profile is set up, you need to add your WordPress instances as endpoints. To do this, follow these steps:
a. In the Azure Portal, navigate to your Traffic Manager profile.
b. Click on “Endpoints” in the left-hand menu, and then click on “Add.”
c. Choose “Azure endpoint” as the endpoint type and provide a name for your endpoint.
d. Select “Virtual Machines” as the target resource type and choose your WordPress instance from the list.
e. Repeat these steps for each WordPress instance you want to add to the Traffic Manager profile.
Configure SSL/TLS for secure communication
To ensure secure communication between users and your WordPress site, you should configure SSL/TLS. You can obtain an SSL certificate from a certificate authority (CA) or use a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt. To configure SSL/TLS, follow these steps:
a. In the Azure Portal, navigate to your WordPress instance.
b. Click on “Networking” in the left-hand menu, followed by “Load balancing rules.”
c. Add a new rule to forward HTTPS traffic (port 443) to the appropriate backend port.
d. Install your SSL certificate on your WordPress instance by following the instructions provided by your CA or Let’s Encrypt.
Update your domain’s DNS settings
To point your domain to your high-availability WordPress on Azure, update your domain’s DNS settings by adding a CNAME record that points to your Traffic Manager profile’s domain name. The exact steps to do this will vary depending on your domain registrar.
Test your high-availability WordPress website
To ensure everything is set up correctly, test your high-availability WordPress website by visiting your domain in a web browser. You should see your WordPress site load securely over HTTPS, with traffic being distributed across your instances.
Also read: High-Availability WordPress on AWS
Deploying a high-availability WordPress website on Azure ensures that your site remains performant, secure and scalable, regardless of traffic fluctuations or growth. By leveraging Azure’s powerful infrastructure and features, you can provide a seamless user experience and safeguard your online presence. Remember to always monitor and optimize your site to ensure the best possible performance and security.