The Evolution of Paas and how this site was setup

The evolution of PaaS and Guybrush Threepwood

Update I’ve recently moved to a static website based on Hugo and hosted on Netlify

As I’m a bit of a geek at heart and because I’m a major fan of open source I really wanted to host this web­site on an open source PaaS using as much open source soft­ware so I decided to use my favourite blog­ging soft­ware Word­Press and host it on Open­Shift Online. While I was putting this blog together I realised just how far things have come when it comes to set­ting up your own web­site, but before I dive into the evo­lu­tion of host­ing that has got­ten us to PaaS let me show you exactly why I think PaaS is so magic by tak­ing you through the three sim­ple steps it took to set up a Word­Press blog on the domain www.themiddlewareman.org.

Step 1. Reg­is­ter the domain (I use Gandi). This took just a cou­ple of min­utes includ­ing pay­ing by credit card.

Step 2. Setup an Open­Shift “app”. I used a word­press quick­start which only required the fol­low­ing steps and took a cou­ple of min­utes in total:

Cre­ate an account at http://openshift.redhat.com/ and install the client tools (run ‘rhc setup’ first)

Cre­ate a php-5.3 appli­ca­tion (you can call your appli­ca­tion what­ever you want)

rhc app create wordpress php-5 mysql-5 --from-code=https://github.com/openshift/wordpress-example

That’s it, you can now check­out your appli­ca­tion at:

http://wordpress-$yournamespace.rhcloud.com

You’ll be prompted to set an admin pass­word and name your Word­Press site the first time you visit this page.

Step 3. All that was left was to reg­is­ter an alias in Open­Shift for www.themiddlewareman.org and update my dns set­tings (I use DNS Made Easy) to point to my new appli­ca­tion url. Again this took only a few min­utes to do and as I’m using a really great DNS provider my changes prop­a­gated super fast!

Fun­nily enough tweak­ing the theme and con­fig­ur­ing plu­g­ins took WAY more time than instal­la­tion, but again the sim­ple steps above just illus­trate how easy it is to set up a web­site with a PaaS — and of course with Open­Shift I still have ssh access to the site and every­thing is in a git repos­i­tory that I con­trol and I can even do my own back­ups of my site if I don’t trust the Word­Press backup plu­gin I’m run­ning which backs up this site to my Drop­box account once a week.

So this prompted me to think back to just how far we’ve come in the last 20 or so years that the inter­net as we know it has been around. Here are the dif­fer­ent phases that we’ve been through so far.

You may have more thoughts and ideas on these phases (com­ments wel­come) but for me as a lazy devel­oper who still likes to have con­trol I think it’s fan­tas­tic that I can now have an appli­ca­tion up and run­ning with a few key presses or clicks and what’s even more amaz­ing is that it’s com­pletely repeat­able and doesn’t depend on a huge IT depart­ment to run, any­one can host their own Open­Shift instance using either the Ori­gin com­mu­nity ver­sion or the fully sup­ported and tested Enter­prise ver­sion or just use the Online ver­sion if you are like me and don’t want to think about man­ag­ing servers anymore.

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