Use Rackspace Orchestration to build a Wordpress stack

This article shows you how to set up a functional Wordpress® site by using Rackspace Orchestration.
The article also covers the steps necessary to scale out your Wordpress site by using saved images
and lsyncd. While you can customize your Orchestration stacks, this guide uses the basic options
to get you up and running as quickly as possible.

By default, the Wordpress Orchestration template includes the following Cloud resources:

  • CentOS® 7 General Purpose Server (1 GB)
  • Cloud Database instance running MySQL® 5.6
  • Cloud Load Balancer (Port 80)

The Cloud server comes with the following configuration:

  • NGINX®
  • PHP® 7.3
  • php-fpm
  • lsyncd (Installed but not configured by default on single server builds)
  • phpMyAdmin (Optional)
  • The latest version of Wordpress

NGINX is not enabled to start on boot when the stack builds. If you need NGINX to start on boot, you
can run the following command on your server to enable NGINX on system startup:
systemctl enable nginx

Deploy a Wordpress stack

Use the following steps to deploy a Wordpress stack:

  1. In the Rackspace Cloud Control Panel, click Orchestration > Stack Templates.
  2. From the list of Most Popular stacks, hover over the Wordpress CMS box and click Create Stack.
    Click on the Create Stack button in the pop-up box to accept the default Production option.
  3. On the next page, specify the following information:
    • The Stack name: Display name in the portal
    • The Stack region: Cloud Resources location
    • The Wordpress Site domain:
    • The Wordpress Site title: The title displayed in the browser tab for your site
    • The Wordpress Admin email: For Wordpress Panel password resets
    • The Wordpress Admin username: For logging into the Wordpress Panel
    • The option to install phpMyAdmin: For remote MySQL access via phpMyAdmin
  4. Along with these default settings, you can specify the following:
    • Additional Security
      • Disable Password Authentication: Requires Secure Shell (SSH) keys to access remotely.
      • Install Fail2Ban: To automatically jail multiple failed remote connection attempts.
    • Advanced Options
      • Cloud Database Flavor: RAM size of the database instance.
      • Secondary Template: To specify a custom stack template for secondary servers.
      • Cloud Database Disk size: Data disk up to 1 TB.
      • Cloud Server Flavor: Allows for only General Purpose servers up to 8 GB.
      • Custom Ansible tarball: For server deployment.
      • Number of secondary servers: Specify the number of duplicate Cloud servers to be created in the stack.
      • Server Image: The Wordpress Stack only supports CentOS 7.
  5. After you specify all of your customization options, click Create Stack.
  6. The stack builds the resources necessary and configures the server and load balancer. You
    now have access to the credentials for your stack. Click View Credentials on the Stack
    page to see the following credentials:
    • Database User password
    • Wordpress Admin Username
    • Database Username
    • SSH Private Key
    • Wordpress Portal Password
  7. After the status of the stack shows as Up, you can access the individual resources of the stack.

Make your Wordpress site accessible

At this point, you have a functional Wordpress website. However, you need to do a few more steps
to make your site live and publicly accessible.

Log in to your server

If you need to make any server-side changes, log in to the primary node, which is configured
with lsyncd for your web root. However, when you make changes on the primary node, such as adding new
users or setting up special configurations, make sure you make the same changes on all other instances.

Perform the following steps to access the primary server:

  1. In the Rackspace Cloud Control Panel, click Orchestration > Stacks.
  2. Click on the server resource as listed in the Infrastructure section.
  3. Connect to the server by using SSH or the Emergency Console.
  4. After you log in, you can make any custom changes to the server that you need.

Set up your DNS

To make your site publicly accessible, you need to create Domain Name System (DNS) records for your new domain. For this
section, you need the load balancer IP address. If you do not want to make the site publicly available
at this time, you can modify your host file to allow local access. For more information, see
Modify your hosts file.

  1. In the Rackspace Cloud Control Panel, select Networking >> Cloud DNS.
  2. Click Create Domain.
  3. Fill out the required information and click Create Domain in the pop-up box.
  4. Click Add Record.
  5. For your first record, you can leave the Hostname blank.
  6. Add the IP address of your Load Balancer in the Target (IP Address) box.
  7. Leave the record type set to the default, A/AAAA.
  8. After you fill out the information, click Add Record.

Your website becomes publicly accessible as soon as the DNS record propagates globally.

If you want to add a CNAME record for www or another subdomain, follow the preceding steps
but change the record type to CNAME and enter the desired subdomain.

Log in to your Wordpress Panel

Now your site is live, or you've modified your local host file to access the page offline. You
can begin building your Wordpress website by using the Wordpress Panel.

  1. To log in to your Wordpress Panel, navigate to and log in
    with the credentials that you chose when you deployed the stack.
  2. After you log in, you can create your new Wordpress website.

Scale out your site

You now have a fully functional Wordpress stack based on NGINX at your disposal. The web
has thousands of resources and tutorials available to help you customize your site to fit
your business needs. As your business grows, you might find that your server is unable to
handle the traffic. At this point, consider scaling out your stack to handle the traffic.

Scaling out versus scaling up

One of the benefits of Cloud hosting is that you can quickly create new resources as you need
them. For best results, we never recommend that you scale your server up by adding more
resources to a single server. Doing this creates a single point of failure and eventual cap to your
scalability. Instead, we recommend that you scale out by adding more servers to handle the
traffic on your website. Doing this enables you to add more servers as you need them and lets you
reduce servers if your traffic flow subsides.

This section assumes that the stack deployed with only one node.

Create an image

To scale out your Wordpress stack, first create an image of your primary server and build
a new server from the image. To complete this task, see
Create an image of a server and restore a server from a saved image.

IMPORTANT: Make sure the server image that you create is the same size as the primary
server to avoid bottlenecks and unbalanced server traffic.

Configure lsyncd

  1. After you created your new server, log in to your primary server by using SSH.

  2. Find the Service Net IP address for your newly created server on the Server Details
    page in the Control Panel. You need to substitute this for $ServiceNet IP in step 5.

  3. Edit /etc/lsyncd/lsync.conf.lua.

  4. Locate the following lines:

    settings {
    logfile = "/var/log/lsyncd/lsyncd.log",
    statusFile = "/var/log/lsyncd/lsyncd-status.log",
    statusInterval = 20

  5. After the preceding lines, add the following lines to the configuration file:

    sync {
    source = "/var/www/vhosts",
    target = "$ServiceNet IP:/var/www/vhosts",
    rsync = {
    compress = true,
    acls = true,
    verbose = true,
    rsh = "/usr/bin/ssh -p 22 -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no",
    _extra = {"-a"}

  6. Save and exit the file.

  7. Restart the lsyncd service.

At this point, the primary server syncs the changes that you made at the location
/var/www/vhosts directory to the new server. If you need to add more server nodes, copy the code from step 5 and paste it at the end of the /etc/lsyncd/lsync.conf.lua file and edit the new block to include the additional server's ServiceNet IP address.

Add the new server to the load balancer

Now that you've configured the new server to sync with the primary server, you need to add the new server as a node on your load balancer.

  1. In the Rackspace Cloud Control Panel, click Orchestration > Stacks.
  2. Click the Load Balancer device listed under Infrastructure.
  3. On the Load Balancer details page, under the Nodes section, click Add Cloud Servers.
  4. Find and select the name of your newly created server in the list.
  5. Click Add Selected Servers to add the new server to your Load Balancer.

Your new server can now accept traffic for your domain.

Wrap up

If you followed this guide, you have now deployed a fully functional Wordpress website that is
ready to scale. You can deploy more websites if needed or customize your environment to fit your
business needs.

Consider the following notes about your stack:

  • As you add nodes to your stack, the Infrastructure section of the page does
    not update to include the new nodes.
  • Your Cloud Database by default comes with 5 GB of storage. This size automatically expands when
    storage reaches 98%. By default, the database takes daily backups, but you can also set up
    replication nodes from the Cloud Database details page if needed.
  • For security purposes, the Cloud Database does not enable the root user. You can enable it
    by using the Cloud Database API if needed, but by default you manage your Cloud Database users and databases
    from your Rackspace portal.
  • If you opted to install phpMyAdmin, you can access your phpMyAdmin panel via the web at
  • The Wordpress stack installs php-fpm, which you can customize as needed. Be sure to make any
    changes on all nodes.
  • This guide configured lsyncd to sync only the web directories, but you can customize the synced
    content in the primary node lsyncd configuration file.