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A helper command for running WordPress on Google Cloud Platform

This is a small command line tool for downloading and configuring WordPress for Google Cloud Platform. The script allows you to create a working WordPress project for the App Engine standard environment or the App Engine flexible environment.

Common Prerequisites

Project preparation

Configure Google Cloud SDK with your account and the appropriate project ID:

$ gcloud init

Create an App Engine application within your new project:

$ gcloud app create

Then configure the App Engine default GCS bucket for later use. The default App Engine bucket is named YOUR_PROJECT_ID.appspot.com. Change the default Access Control List (ACL) of that bucket as follows:

$ gsutil defacl ch -u AllUsers:R gs://YOUR_PROJECT_ID.appspot.com

Create and configure a Cloud SQL for MySQL 2nd generation instance

Note: In this guide, we use wp for various resource names; the instance name, the database name, and the user name.

Create a new Cloud SQL for MySQL Second Generation instance with the following command:

$ gcloud sql instances create wp \
  --activation-policy=ALWAYS \

Note: you can choose db-f1-micro or db-g1-small instead of db-n1-standard-1 for the Cloud SQL machine type, especially for the development or testing purpose. However, those machine types are not recommended for production use and are not eligible for Cloud SQL SLA coverage. See our Cloud SQL SLA for more details.

Then change the root password for your instance:

$ gcloud sql users set-password root % \
  --instance wp --password=YOUR_INSTANCE_ROOT_PASSWORD # Don't use this password!

To access this MySQL instance, use Cloud SQL Proxy. Download it to your local computer and make it executable.

Go to the the Credentials section of your project in the Console. Click 'Create credentials' and then click 'Service account key.' For the Service account, select 'App Engine app default service account.' Then click 'Create' to create and download the JSON service account key to your local machine. Save it to a safe place.

Run the proxy by the following command:

$ cloud_sql_proxy \
  -dir /tmp/cloudsql \
    -instances=YOUR_PROJECT_ID:us-central1:wp=tcp:3306 \

Now you can access the Cloud SQL instance with the MySQL client in a separate command line tab. Create a new database and a user as follows:

$ mysql -h -u root -p
mysql> create database wp;
mysql> create user 'wp'@'%' identified by 'PASSWORD'; // Don't use this password!
mysql> grant all on wp.* to 'wp'@'%';
mysql> exit

How to use

First install the dependencies in this directory as follows:

$ composer install

If it complains about extensions, please install phar and zip PHP extensions and retry.

Then run the helper command.

$ php wordpress-helper.php setup

The command asks you several questions, please answer them. Then you'll have a new WordPress project. By default it will create my-wordpress-project in the current directory.


CD into your WordPress project directory and run the following command to deploy:

$ cd my-wordpress-project
$ gcloud app deploy \
    --promote --stop-previous-version app.yaml cron.yaml

Then access your site, and continue the installation step. The URL is: https://PROJECT_ID.appspot.com/

Go to the Dashboard at https://PROJECT_ID.appspot.com/wp-admin. On the Plugins page, activate the following plugins:

  • For the standard environment
    • Batcache Manager
    • Google App Engine for WordPress (also set the e-mail address in its settings page)
  • For the flexible environment
    • Batcache Manager
    • GCS media plugin

After activating the plugins, try uploading a media object in a new post and confirm the image is uploaded to the GCS bucket by visiting the Google Cloud console's Storage page.

Check if the Batcache plugin is working

On the plugin page in the WordPress dashboard, click on the Drop-ins tab near the top. You should see 2 drop-ins are activated: advanced-cache.php and object-cache.php.

To make sure it’s really working, you can open an incognito window and visit the site because the cache plugin only serves from cache to anonymous users. Then go to the memcache dashboard in the Cloud Console and check the hit ratio and number of items in cache.

Various workflows

Install/Update Wordpress, plugins, and themes

Because the wp-content directory on the server is read-only, you have to do this locally. Run WordPress locally and update plugins/themes in the local Dashboard, then deploy, then activate them in the production Dashboard. You can also use the wp-cli utility as follows (be sure to keep the cloud SQL proxy running):

# To update Wordpress itself
$ vendor/bin/wp core update --path=wordpress
# To update all the plugins
$ vendor/bin/wp plugin update --all --path=wordpress
# To update all the themes
$ vendor/bin/wp theme update --all --path=wordpress

If you're using App Engine Standard, You may get the following error:

Failed opening required 'google/appengine/api/urlfetch_service_pb.php'

You can set a WP_CLI_PHP_ARGS environment variable to add include_path PHP configuration for wp-cli.

$ export WP_CLI_PHP_ARGS='-d include_path=vendor/google/appengine-php-sdk'

Then try the above commands again.

Remove plugins/themes

First Deactivate them in the production Dashboard, then remove them completely locally. The next deployment will remove those files from the production environment.

Update the base image

We sometimes release a security update for the php-docker image. You have to re-deploy your WordPress instance to get the security update.

Enjoy your WordPress installation!