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Todd Morey and Jonathan Bryce, the Rackspace cloud founders, were doing some pretty revolutionary things to share resources and cluster servers. The core promise of Cloud Sites has remained consistent: to enable designers and developers to easily host their applications and websites. Today, we carry on this tradition, enabling our customers to focus on their code or on their design while we take care of the servers.
I have been using WordPress for the six years; developing using WordPress for five years; and contributing to the WordPress code base for four years. Over the course of this time I have found three things that make WordPress awesome.
Your website is the face of your business, so you want it to be always up and running, especially when you expect – or are surprised by — a big traffic spike. You want your sites to be reliable and scalable, but at the same time you don’t want to manage the server.
During my visit with cloud founders Jonathan Bryce and Todd Morey the conversation turned to how they first went to market with our original Cloud Sites product. The cloud founders said that to gauge interest in Cloud Sites, they essentially put up a website advertising the service along with a price. The interest was huge: in the first 48 hours 800 people signed up for a beta.
With WordPress it is important to update three things: the actual WordPress application, themes and plugins. However, before you begin updating any of these items, you should make sure that you have a current backup. This is important because sometimes these updates don’t go as well as planned and you need to restore a previous version of your site. Additionally, you might have made some modifications to your theme or plugin and forgot about the changes you made. Having a backup can help in that situation as well.
Todd Morey and Jonathan Bryce started working on Cloud Sites as a side project outside of Rackspace when one of the Rackspace founders asked them to bring the project in-house. The cloud founders realized that having both hardware and world class datacenters available to them would be extremely beneficial.
EDITOR’S NOTE JULY 20, 2012: UPDATE: We have heard requests to extend the PHP 5.2 upgrade and are postponing this upgrade date for one month, moving from July 31 to August 31. PHP 5.2 was removed as a selectable technology option in June, and sites will be upgraded to PHP 5.3 beginning after August 31. Please ensure that your application or CMS solution is running the latest PHP 5.3 compatible version to avoid issues in this upgrade. We encourage users to validate that their sites are ready for PHP 5.3 prior to this upgrade in September. We will be contacting customers with test links to assist in this validation. Customers can manually upgrade sites to PHP 5.3 using the steps detailed in this article, but we encourage users to allow us to do the upgrade for you. Note that if you do the upgrade yourself, you will be unable to revert back to PHP 5.2.
The hosting landscape was rapidly evolving when Jonathan Bryace and Todd Morey started Cloud Sites. At the time, providers were looking at ways to provide discounted hosting, but didn’t offer a lot of advantages to the customer. Cloud Sites changed this by offering a robust platform.
Last month, we upgraded Rackspace Cloud Sites to new versions on PHP and .NET. Today, we are excited to announce that Rackspace Cloud Sites now supports MySQL 5.1.  Latest versions of all the software supported by Cloud Sites are available here.
Before, access to infrastructure may have held back smaller design shops, but that is no longer the case with the cloud. Cloud Sites is a powerful tool that can be used for larger applications and websites.
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