This week, with an initial playbook for creating a WordPress installation created (albeit needing polish), my next focus was to look at the idea of creating a WordPress multi-site network. Creating a multi-site network would offer the benefits of only having to keep up a single base installation, with new sites extending from the same core of WordPress. Before making further refinements to the playbook, I wanted to investigate whether a WordPress network would be the best fit for Fedora.
Background for Fedora
Understanding the background context for how WordPress fits into the needs for Fedora is important. There are two sites powered by WordPress within Fedora: the Community Blog and the Fedora Magazine. Each site uses a different domain (communityblog.fedoraproject.org and fedoramagazine.org, respectively).
At the moment, there are not any plans to set up or offer a blog-hosting service to contributors (and for good reason). The only two websites that would receive the benefits of a multi-site network would be the Community Blog and the Magazine. For now, the intended scale of expanding WordPress into Fedora is to these two platforms.
Setting up the WordPress network
To test the possibilities of using a network for our needs, I used a development CentOS 7 machine for my project testing purposes. There are some guidelines on creating networks for reading first before proceeding. After reading these, it was clear the approach to take was the domain method. I moved to the installation guide on the development machine.
I wanted to document the process I was following for the multi-site network, so I created a short log file of my observations and information I found as I proceeded.
One of the time burners of this section was picking up Apache again. A few years ago, I switched my own personal web servers to nginx from Apache. Fedora’s infrastructure uses Apache for its web servers. It took me a little longer than I had hoped to get familiar with it again, mostly with virtual hosts and SELinux contexts for WordPress media uploads. Despite the extra time it took with Apache, I feel like this will save me time later when I am working on polishing the final deliverable or working with the Apache roles available.
In addition to this, I also picked out the dependencies for WordPress, such as the PHP packages needed and setting up a MariaDB database. After a while, I was able to get the WordPress network established and running on the development machine. It was convenient having a testable interface at my fingertips to work with.
WordPress network: Conclusion?
At the end of my testing and poking around, it appeared to me that there would not be an easy solution to using a WordPress network for Fedora. The network had the best ability when set up to use wildcard sub-domains, which wouldn’t be a plausible solution for us because of the two different domains. There were more manual ways of doing it (i.e. not in the WordPress interface) with Apache virtual hosts. However, I felt like it would be easier to write one playbook that handles a single WordPress installation, and can be run for both sites separately (or new sites).
Given that the factor of scale is two websites, I think maintaining two separate WordPress installations will be the easier method and save time and keep efficiency.
This week’s challenges
This week had a late start for me on Wednesday due to traveling on a short vacation with my family from Sunday to Tuesday. Coming back from the trip, I also have a new palette of responsibilities that I am assisting with in Community Operations and Marketing, following decause’s departure from Red Hat. I’m still working on finding a healthy balance of time and focus between other important tasks I am responsible for and my project work.
I’m hoping that having a full week will allow me to make further progress and continue to overcome some of the challenges that have arisen in the past few weeks.
Next week’s goals
For next week, I’m planning on focusing on my existing product and making it feel and run more like a “Fedora playbook”. I mostly want to work on saving unnecessary effort and being consistent by tapping into the existing Ansible roles in Fedora Infrastructure. This would make setting up an Apache web server, MySQL database, and a few other tasks more automated. It keeps the tasks and organization in a consistent manner as well since they are across Fedora’s infrastructure already.
By next Friday, the plan is to have a more idempotent product that runs effectively and as expected in my development server. Beyond that, the next step would be to work on getting my site into a staging instance.