How we host Ars Technica in the cloud, part two: The software

Enlarge / Welcome aboard the orbital HQ, readers! (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

Welcome back to our series on how Ars Technica is hosted and run! Last week, in part one, we cracked open the (virtual) doors to peek inside the Ars (virtual) data center. We talked about our Amazon Web Services setup, which is primarily built around ECS containers being spun up as needed to handle web traffic, and we walked through the ways that all of our hosting services hook together and function as a whole.

This week, we shift our focus to a different layer in the stack—the applications we run on those services and how they work in the cloud. Those applications, after all, are what you come to the site for; you’re not here to marvel at a smoothly functioning infrastructure but rather to actually read the site. (I mean, I’m guessing that’s why you come here. It’s either that or everyone is showing up hoping I’m going to pour ketchup on myself and launch myself down a Slip-‘N-Slide, but that was a one-time thing I did a long time ago when I was young and needed the money.)

How traditional WordPress hosting works

Although I am, at best, a casual sysadmin, having hung up my pro spurs a decade and change ago, I do have some relevant practical experience hosting WordPress. I’m currently the volunteer admin for a half-dozen WordPress sites, including Houston-area weather forecast destination Space City Weather (along with its Spanish-language counterpart Tiempo Ciudad Espacial), the Atlantic hurricane-focused blog The Eyewall, my personal blog, and a few other odds and ends.

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