Google Wants Your WordPress Site

The biggest web company in the world has finally announced its support for the most widely used programming language.

At its I/O developer event last week, Google announced PHP is now supported in its platform-as-a-service offering, Google App Engine.

It’s fantastic news for WordPress users – it means Google can now host WordPress sites in its cloud and developers can take advantage of App Engine’s auto-scaling, reliability and security.

According to Google, 75 per cent of the web runs on PHP and this announcement opens the web giant to a greater slice of the web pie, while also making it more comparable in terms of services offered to Amazon Web Services’ PHP offering Elastic Beanstalk.

The announcement marks the first time App Engine has supported a non-Google programming language. App Engine, which launched in 2008, already supports Python, Java and Google’s own programming language Go. Google Product Manager Andrew Jessup says PHP has been the most requested in the history of App Engine.

On the Google Cloud Platform blog, Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure at Google, wrote on May 15: “We’re bringing one of the most popular web programming languages to App Engine so that you can run open source apps like WordPress.”

PHP logo
PHP powers a whopping 75 per cent of the world’s website, including Facebook and Yahoo.

All I can say is it’s about time. With WordPress set to celebrate its 10th birthday next week, it’s taken Google long enough to cotton on to the popularity of WordPress – and the fact it now powers more than 20 per cent of  the world’s websites and a lot of folks might want to use WordPress with App Engine.

Meanwhile, the announcement means little, old WordPress-powered blogs featuring photos of cats and angsty existential rants will be able to run alongside the websites of major companies taking up real estate on Google’s infrastructure, which is also home to services like Gmail and Maps.

For now, PHP support is in experimental status in App Engine.

What Does This Move Mean For Smaller Web Hosts?

App Engine offers a low cost web hosting solution as its free up to a certain level of consumed resources, which isn’t exactly great news for hosting companies.

Many businesses will be tempted to shift their WordPress sites over to Google where they can benefit from App Engine’s auto-scalability, giving smaller companies the ability to handle huge surges in traffic, which smaller hosting providers may not be able to manage.

For a guide on how to install WordPress, test it with App Engine on your local development environment and deploy a simple WordPress, installation on the cloud platform, check out the Google Developers website.

Do you think you’ll check out App Engine for your site? Tell us below.

Credits: Wikimedia CommonsKinologikSpencer E Holtaway

7 Responses

  • New Recruit

    This is interesting. But when I have problems that might be server-related for some reason, I call up my host and describe the problem to a human. They ask me questions. I ask them questions. They then go about fixing it. To be honest, I’m not sure Google employs humans. At least that’s the impression I’ve always gotten whenever I attempted to deal with them in the past. I think the very best I’ve gotten from them was a form letter. Usually there’s simply silence, giving the impression that my message went straight to the trash (which it probably did in most cases).

    You also have to wonder if this will yet another project Google is just waiting to abandon, especially when they figure out that people will want more support than simply, “Try to find your answer on our massively inefficient and unorganized forums.”

  • Yeah, Google abandoning the project is definitely something to keep in mind because they’ve left a lot of folks in the lurch in the past.

    I guess the hosting thing is like shopping at a boutique store compared to a big chain – if you want better customer service you go to the little guy. This is something hosts may have to focus on in their marketing.

  • New Recruit

    Based on my reading of the PHP offering on AppEngine it will NOT be able to run WordPress without some code changes.
    1. PHP apps on AppEngine cannot write to the local file system. AppEngine will allow for storage of static files. This means the entire plugin installation will not work. WP won’t be able to write a config file on installation.
    2. AppEngine has mysql but the connection is done differently than a normal php/mysql setup.

    In the future it may work but I don’t see how it could work on this version of AppEngine.

  • New Recruit

    I was searching around the web for information on WordPress / Google’s potentially free offering of hosting… but it seems like it’s 100% aimed towards programmers and true web-developers vs. the average business owner.

    I’ve figured out how to install WordPress on my current host and have 10 websites with a total under 10gb of space. With relatively low volume of traffic – and using a super affordable hosting package ($5/mo) – my main benefits to going to Google would be: 1) faster hosting 2) more robust for when I get traffic spikes 3) free.

    Ideally I’d be able to easily help other business owners in setting up their free wordpress hosting (or cheap hosting on months they get spikes), but it’s super complicated for the non-techies right now.

    Lastly, my concern (as voiced here by others) is Google’s lack of commitment to their customers. They develop stuff – get users – then when they don’t deem that “enough” users are using something they just pull the plug. Ex: Google Reader, Wave, etc.

    I’d be afraid of recommending Google to only have them either jack up the pricing or (worse) pull the plug.

    Travis – Minneapolis Video Producer

  • New Recruit

    The one thing that can be a bit annoying is that you can not install themes and plugins right from the WP Admin while hosting on the App Engine and have to maintain a local copy of the WP website.

    I am from Cloudways and we have recently integrated Google Compute Engine into our platform with an easy UI to launch a GCE instance and install WordPress and WordPress multisites.

    The advantage of GCE through our platform is that WordPress websites can be managed and customized online anything can be installed and backups are automated with many other features. here are details:

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