The Backend for the Uninitiated

The internet, blogs, e-commerce, new data-driven web apps like Airbnb and Uber are a marvel. What if those currently not at the party could gain entry?

Traditionally (a funny word when referring to something new like internet technology, but nonetheless) those hyper-successful Silicon Valley oligarchs who have risen to the top with the valuations of their tech companies have been the technical-prodigy type. People steeped in code and not much else.

But a new breed of possibility has arrived with mix-and-match, virtually plug-and-play technologies like Docker and Panamax.

Docker is a kind of virtualization without the overhead of an operating system, wherein you can take advantage of pre-configured systems on Docker Hub tweaked by professionals for your personal use.

Our own personal Amazons are coming.

And while I am not there yet, I am now using Docker in production to provide robust isolated hosting environments for my clients—mostly hosting WordPress sites.

Already, one interesting advantage for me and my clients is a fancier WordPress stack, chiefly swapping out the (once again) traditional Apache web server (the “A” in the LAMP stack) for the modern, faster, and more malleable NGINX. While I could have configured this myself, for example, on a raw DigitalOcean droplet, instead by using a tried and true Docker image via Docker Hub that includes a whole WordPress stack using NGINX I am up and running more quickly with a proven, public, configuration.

Note: Droplet is what DigitalOcean calls its servers, which are technically Virtual Private Servers (VPSs).

Moreover, to save costs while testing and hosting low traffic web sites, I now host several completely isolated websites from the same DigitalOcean droplet, saving both money and effort while giving little in performance. Once again I did try doing some of the this configuration myself, but in the end I found a very nice solution using Jason Wilder’s Docker image which features NGINX reverse proxiing which I pointed to 5 different Docker containers on the same host, each in turn running Oskar Hane’s Docker NGINX WordPress image.

Note: Docker images are basically stopped snapshots of a container in time, while a container uses a Docker image and runs it in realtime interactively.



Survival in the Relentless New Copyright © 2023 by Jonathan Wexler. All Rights Reserved.