WordPress on Google Cloud Platform. For free.

Almost all Cloud computing platforms have a free tier with different value propositions to different users. I have looked at Azure and AWS – which were unclear what comes for free but are useful for me professionally to see what can be possible – and then found OCI (Oracle Cloud Infrastructure) and (GCP) Google Cloud Platform.

These latter offerings really seem to give some limited compute power to free tier users.

I have OCI VMs running Oracle Linux 8, a RH-derived linux platform, one of which is an OpenVPN-AS server – so effectively offering me a VPN.  Speeds are not blistering but OK; there is an ease of how you can access these using Putty and RSA keys plus it’s reasonably secure.  Add Tailscale to the mix and you can close out public Internet from your admin interfaces and layer in more security.

As a comparison, I looked at GCP’s free tier.  Let’s cut to the chase – the free tier there is generous and really free if you follow the instructions.  e2-micro VMs in certain locations get you a month of CPU time and, as I’ve found, offer a faster OpenVPN-AS than OCI and the marketplace allows you to install a WordPress instance on an e2-micro VM.

Setting up the WordPress on the new VM is easy enough; add to it some Certbot from Let’s Encrypt and you have a HTTPS website in a few minutes.

If you’re here reading this post, you’re reading it on my GCP VM.  Naturally, I have the skills to reduce the attack surface on my WordPress; my admin account is an obscure, random user with an obscure, randomly-generated password.  I don’t know either of them!  Add to that the use of Wordfence – even the free layer offers great benefits – and you have a secure, disposable website.  I am sold on it as the Apps for GCP are good too (along with Azure); OCI Apps are more phone-centric which means they are OK for monitoring availability but not so good for productivity.

So my recommendation is compute free, compute in the Cloud and leverage what’s out there.