Benefits of Containerizing WordPress with Docker on AWS

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Welcome to our in-depth guide on Dockerizing WordPress with Amazon Web Services (AWS)! In this rapidly evolving digital landscape, it’s more important than ever to ensure your website is flexible, scalable, and resilient. The convergence of WordPress, Docker, and AWS makes this more accessible than ever.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the reasons and benefits of using these three tools together. Whether you’re a startup looking to launch your first website or an established business seeking to enhance your online presence, the combination of WordPress, Docker, and AWS can offer a robust, flexible, and scalable solution.

Understanding the Basics

Before we dive into the details, let’s take a moment to understand the basics.

  • Docker: Docker is an open-source platform designed to simplify developing, shipping, and running applications. Docker uses containerization technology to encapsulate an application along with its environment into a container, ensuring it works uniformly across different computing environments.
  • WordPress: WordPress is a popular open-source content management system (CMS) used to create websites and blogs. It’s known for its ease of use, flexibility, and extensive plugin architecture. WordPress powers over 40% of all the websites on the Internet, which speaks to its scalability and versatility.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS): AWS, a subsidiary of, offers reliable, scalable, and inexpensive cloud computing services. AWS provides a wide array of cloud services such as compute power, storage options, networking, and databases tailored for businesses. AWS is a safe and reliable option for hosting your Dockerized WordPress site.
  • Containerization: In the world of software development, containerization is a lightweight alternative to full-machine virtualization. It involves encapsulating an application in a container with its own operating environment. This decoupling allows container-based applications to be deployed easily and consistently regardless of the target environment, be it a private data center, the public cloud, or a developer’s personal laptop.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s delve deeper into why you might want to consider Dockerizing WordPress on AWS and how it can benefit your business.

Why Containerize WordPress with Docker?

The power of Docker lies in its ability to ‘containerize’ applications, making them highly portable and consistent across different environments. But how does this benefit WordPress specifically?

  • Consistency: Docker can encapsulate WordPress along with its dependencies into a single standalone package, or ‘container’. This means no matter where you deploy it, you’ll have the same consistent environment.
  • Scalability: Docker’s lightweight nature means you can rapidly scale up or down your WordPress instances to match your needs, allowing for seamless handling of traffic surges.
  • Simplified Development and Testing: With Docker, developers can work in an environment that matches the production environment. This eliminates the notorious “it works on my machine” problem and increases productivity.
  • Isolation: Each Docker container runs independently, preventing any potential interference with other containers or the host system. This enhances the security of your WordPress site.
  • Version Control and Updating: Docker makes it easy to manage versions and keep track of updates, ensuring that all your team members work with the same configurations.

Why Use AWS for Hosting Dockerized WordPress?

AWS is a robust, scalable cloud service provider that offers a plethora of features and services. But why should you consider hosting your Dockerized WordPress on AWS?

  • Reliable and Scalable Infrastructure: AWS offers highly reliable and scalable cloud infrastructure. It allows you to scale up or down based on demand, ensuring your website always delivers optimal performance.
  • Cost-Effective: With AWS, you only pay for the services you use, making it a cost-effective solution. AWS’s pricing model allows for considerable savings when compared to the cost of setting up and maintaining an in-house server.
  • Global Reach: AWS has data centers around the world, allowing you to host your website in a location that best serves your audience. This enhances the user experience through reduced latency.
  • AWS Services: AWS offers services such as Elastic Beanstalk, an easy-to-use service for deploying and scaling web applications, and RDS for managing databases, which can further enhance the management of your Dockerized WordPress application.
  • Security: AWS provides numerous features to secure your application, including AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) for secure access control, and Amazon VPC for a private, isolated section of the AWS Cloud.

In the next section, we will walk you through the prerequisites you need to consider before Dockerizing WordPress on AWS.

Prerequisites for Dockerizing WordPress on AWS

Before you begin the process of Dockerizing WordPress on AWS, ensure you have the following prerequisites:

  • Docker: You will need Docker installed on your local machine. You can download Docker from the official Docker website. Ensure you have a basic understanding of how Docker works.
  • WordPress: You need a functioning WordPress website or at least understand the basics of setting up a WordPress site.
  • AWS Account: An active AWS account is necessary. If you do not have an AWS account, you can create one for free, though you may need to provide credit card information.
  • Knowledge of AWS Services: You should have a basic understanding of AWS services, especially Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon RDS, and Amazon VPC.
  • Code Editor: A code editor such as Visual Studio Code, Atom, or Sublime Text for creating and editing your Docker and WordPress files.
  • Command Line Interface: Basic knowledge of using the command line interface of your operating system is crucial, as Docker and AWS operations can involve running commands.

Step-by-Step Guide: Dockerizing WordPress

With the prerequisites in place, you are ready to Dockerize your WordPress website. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:

Creating a Dockerfile: Start by creating a Dockerfile in your WordPress project directory. The Dockerfile is a text file that contains all commands, in order, needed to build a given image.

# Use an official WordPress runtime as a parent image
FROM wordpress:latest

# The Docker working directory. All the paths will be relative to this directory.
WORKDIR /var/www/html

# Copy the entire content of the local directory (.) to the working dir
COPY . .

Creating a Docker Compose file: Next, create a docker-compose.yml file in the same directory. This file is used by Docker Compose to create your environment

version: '3'

        image: mysql:5.7
          - db_data:/var/lib/mysql
        restart: always
          MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD: somewordpress
          MYSQL_DATABASE: wordpress
          MYSQL_USER: wordpress
          MYSQL_PASSWORD: wordpress

          - db
        image: wordpress:latest
          - "8000:80"
        restart: always
          WORDPRESS_DB_HOST: db:3306
          WORDPRESS_DB_USER: wordpress
          WORDPRESS_DB_PASSWORD: wordpress
          WORDPRESS_DB_NAME: wordpress
    db_data: {}

Building your Docker Image: Now, run the following command in your terminal to build your Docker image

docker build -t my-wordpress-app .

Running the Docker Image: Once the image is built, run your container using Docker Compose:

docker-compose up -d

Congratulations! You have Dockerized your WordPress application. In the next section, we’ll walk you through the process of deploying this Dockerized WordPress site on AWS.

Step-by-Step Guide: Deploying Dockerized WordPress on AWS

Now that you’ve dockerized your WordPress, it’s time to deploy it on AWS. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Setting up AWS ECS (Elastic Container Service): First, we need to create a new ECS cluster. Navigate to the AWS Management Console, select ‘ECS’, and then ‘Create Cluster’. In this tutorial, we’ll use the ‘EC2 Linux + Networking’ cluster template.
  2. Creating an EC2 instance: During the cluster creation process, you’ll also set up a new EC2 instance. This is where your Dockerized WordPress application will live.
  3. Configuring Security Groups: Ensure that your security groups allow inbound traffic on ports 22 (for SSH), 80 (for HTTP), and 443 (for HTTPS).
  4. Creating a Task Definition: A task definition is required to run Docker containers in ECS. It describes the Docker container and port mappings to use for your task. Remember to include the environment variables from your Docker Compose file.
  5. Creating a Service: In the ECS cluster, create a new service. This service will use the task definition to run your Dockerized WordPress application.
  6. Launching the service: Launch the service and AWS will start running your Dockerized WordPress application. You can access it by entering the public IP address of the EC2 instance in your browser.

Managing and Maintaining Your Dockerized WordPress on AWS

Once your Dockerized WordPress application is up and running on AWS, it’s essential to properly manage and maintain it:

  • Monitoring: AWS provides CloudWatch for monitoring your AWS resources and applications. You can track metrics, collect and access log files, and set alarm actions based on data from your resources.
  • Updating: Regularly update your WordPress, Docker, and AWS CLI to ensure you’re using the latest features and security updates. When updating your Dockerized WordPress, update the Dockerfile, rebuild the Docker image, and update the service in ECS.
  • Backups: Regularly back up your WordPress site to ensure data isn’t lost. You can use AWS Backup, a fully managed backup service that makes it easy to centralize and automate the backup of data across AWS services.
  • Security: Regularly review your security groups and IAM roles to ensure only necessary permissions are granted. Always use secure protocols (like HTTPS) for data transmission.
  • Optimization: Regularly optimize your Docker containers and AWS resources for cost, performance, and security. AWS Trusted Advisor is a tool that provides real-time guidance to help you provision your resources following AWS best practices.

Common mistakes

WordPress Common Mistakes:

  • Ignoring Updates: WordPress, along with its themes and plugins, is regularly updated. Failing to apply these updates can leave your website vulnerable to security threats and glitches.
  • Choosing Poor-Quality Themes and Plugins: Not all WordPress themes and plugins are created equal. Always choose high-quality, well-reviewed, and regularly updated themes and plugins to ensure your site operates smoothly.
  • Not Implementing Backups: Backups are crucial for any WordPress site. If you fail to regularly back up your website, you risk losing all your data and content in the event of a site crash or hack.

Docker Common Mistakes:

  • Running Everything as Root: This is a common mistake that can lead to security vulnerabilities. Docker containers should be run with the least amount of privileges necessary for the application to function correctly.
  • Not Utilizing Docker Compose: Docker Compose simplifies the process of managing multi-container Docker applications. Ignoring this tool can lead to unnecessarily complicated setups.
  • Ignoring Docker Image Size: Large Docker images take longer to download and consume more disk space. It’s important to create lean Docker images by including only the necessary dependencies and files.

AWS Common Mistakes:

  • Ignoring Cost Management: AWS services can quickly become costly if not managed properly. Always monitor your AWS usage and costs, and take advantage of cost management tools provided by AWS.
  • Poor Security Practices: AWS provides a host of security features, like Security Groups, Network Access Control Lists (ACLs), and IAM roles. Ignoring or misconfiguring these features can lead to serious security vulnerabilities.
  • Not Designing for Failure: Even on a robust platform like AWS, things can go wrong. It’s crucial to design your system for failure, implementing measures like multi-AZ deployment, auto-scaling, and regular backups.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure your Dockerized WordPress application on AWS is secure, efficient, and resilient.

In the next section, we will wrap up with a conclusion on the benefits of Dockerizing WordPress on AWS.


Through this guide, we’ve explored the significant advantages of running a Dockerized WordPress website on AWS. This potent combination of technologies provides a highly scalable, reliable, and efficient environment that addresses many of the challenges faced by web developers and businesses today. By leveraging Docker and AWS, you can ensure that your WordPress website performs optimally and can adapt to the rapidly changing demands of the digital landscape. We encourage you to give this approach a try and witness its benefits first-hand!

Additional Resources

For further reading and deeper understanding, consider exploring these resources:

  • Docker Documentation: A comprehensive resource with explanations, tutorials, and best practices for working with Docker.
  • AWS Documentation: Detailed documentation covering all aspects of Amazon Web Services.
  • WordPress Codex: The online manual for WordPress and a repository for WordPress information and documentation.
  • Dockerizing a WordPress Website: A step-by-step guide to creating a Dockerfile for WordPress.
  • AWS re:Invent Videos: AWS’s annual conference has numerous informative sessions, many of which are available for free online.


  1. Is Dockerizing WordPress overkill for small sites? While the setup process might seem overwhelming for a small site, the benefits of Docker, like easy environment replication, simpler version control, and streamlined deployment processes, make it worth considering even for smaller applications.
  2. How do I handle WordPress plugin updates in a Docker environment? For handling WordPress plugin updates, you can use the WordPress admin as usual. However, keep in mind that any changes will be lost when the Docker container is stopped or restarted. To make the changes permanent, you need to commit the changes to a new Docker image and use that for future containers.
  3. Can Dockerized WordPress work with any AWS data center region? Yes, you can choose any AWS data center region to host your Dockerized WordPress site. However, it is recommended to choose the data center closest to your user base for better performance.

Remember that the journey of mastering any new technology or process is a step-by-step process. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, look for solutions online, and continue learning along the way. Happy Dockerizing!

Atiqur Rahman

I am MD. Atiqur Rahman graduated from BUET and is an AWS-certified solutions architect. I have successfully achieved 6 certifications from AWS including Cloud Practitioner, Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator, and Developer Associate. I have more than 8 years of working experience as a DevOps engineer designing complex SAAS applications.

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