Cloud Use Cases: How to build a scalable nonprofit website part 1

If you’re new to cloud hosting–whether that’s because you’ve used shared website hosting in the past or you come from the world of physical hardware–it can be quite useful to see how all the moving parts of cloud hosting can work together. In this tutorial series, we’ll go through every step of the process for getting a small nonprofit website up and running: we’ll obtain a domain name from a registrar, build out an appropriately-sized LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack for a website that’s also ready to scale up in the future, and step through setting up a WordPress installation with an attached PayPal button for donations.

Prerequisites

To follow along with this tutorial series, you will need access to the following:

  • a PayPal Business account

Remember that if you’re creating or incorporating a nonprofit organization, you’ll need to locate and follow the regulations and requirements of your home country, state, etc. This guide is only to take you through the technical aspects of creating a cloud environment and website designed for non-commerce purposes.

Putting the “cloud” in cloud hosting

As we work through creating our environment, we’re going to have several “cloudy” principles in mind: specifically, we’re planning ahead to make use of resources that can be easily discarded and recreated, and we’re going to configure our web server in such a way that it can be scaled *horizontally*, increasing capacity to serve traffic by adding more servers to handle the same workload in tandem.

Other best practices

Besides emphasizing some beginner “cloudy” practices, we’re also going to get you started with some basic tips for hardening security at a few key points along the way for elements like your server OSes, Apache and for WordPress. As always, security in your environment will start and end with you, so take the information we’ve provided here and build on that with your own research, and by keeping aware of the latest information about vulnerabilities that affect your cloud environment.

Next Steps

Now that you know what we’re going to be building in this series, you can check out the next article, we will prepare to start site-building by obtaining a domain and an SSL certificate.

Part 2

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