Blog Migration to Google Domains and Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud Platform - Logo
Google Cloud Platform – Logo

So for the past month I have been receiving emails from my hosting company that it is time to renew my domain and hosting subscriptions.  I have been dreading the renewal because I don’t post or update my site as often as I should.  I was also dreading the nearly $300 I was going to have to spend just to keep this site active.  Again, this wasn’t something that I wanted to spend too much money on as I don’t spend much time writing, but didn’t want to lose my domain name or the ability to write when I wanted to publish something.

Here I am today, wanting to write about something I just kind of found on accident.  I began to research how I could transfer my domain name somewhere that was cheaper than what my hosting company wanted to charge me for renewal, and also easier to manage.  My research eventually brought me to Google Domains.  I was actually kinda shocked that Google Domains was both a flat rate, cheap, and simple to manage.  In reading up about Google Domains I found that they offer free privacy, something other hosting and domain name sites charge extra for.  I jumped right in, and bought the domain name transfer.  There were no additional fees and Google honored my domain name expiration date.  I essentially just purchased an additional year for my domain name for $12.  The transfer process was smooth, but it took 5 days to complete.  Since this is my first domain name transfer, I am guessing the 5 day transfer time is typical.  I am extremely pleased with Google Domains so far.

So my plan was just to keep my domain name, and drop my website.  I don’t have much time to write, and I hadn’t posted in 8 months.  I had come to terms that my site would no longer be, but was pleased to at have found a way to keep dcsonic.com.  A day or two after my domain name transfer completed I was on YouTube and noticed a video about hosting WordPress (my blog platform) on Google Cloud Platform.  So I watched the 30 minute tutorial video and was pleasantly surprised.  I could host my site on the Google Cloud for practically no cost.  The caveat was that I would need to host it on a micro-vm instance, with nearly no memory associated to it.  I ended up watching 4 other videos on the topic and decided to jump into the Google Cloud.  Since my site doesn’t have a lot of traffic (if any) this was the perfect low (no) cost solution for me to keep my site up and running.

Set up on Google Cloud Platform was quick and easy.  I was able to follow the tutorials and get a clean instance of WordPress functional.  I had a backup of my site, that I was able to restore and was quickly on my way.  After the restore, my site was up!  I was happy, but then I ran into a problem…  I had locked myself out administering the site.  SMH… Something I hadn’t thought of before I backed up and restored the site on Google Cloud Platform.  I spent the next 30 minutes figuring out somethings, like what plug-in was preventing me from logging in to the dashboard.  After I figured that out, I was still having problems.  It took me another couple minutes to notice that I didn’t have an SSL cert and my site auto forward to https.  Certbot to the rescue.  I had a Let’s Encrypt certificate installed in minutes.  I had my original site restored and fully operational on Google Cloud Platform!

I am pleased with how simple the process was and how easy to navigate the Google products are.  I was fully prepared to let my website go, but a few minutes of research and a Saturday morning saved my site!

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