Migrating the existing blog to Google App Engine PHP Runtime is not that simple

Google App Engine

Google announced that Google App Engine PHP Runtime now available to everyone on Oct 8, 2013. As I am having a lot of problems with service uptime on Dreamhost that I am currently using, I decided to give a try.

Here is the list of things that I have done so far.

  • I created a Cloud Console application for my blog on Google Cloud platform.
  • Under my console app, I created a MySQL database (Cloud SQL) that , Busket (Cloud Storage). I need to enable the billing which requires the credit card information before creating the database.
  • I also upgraded the Google App for Business, which will cost you $5 per month, so that I can add the custom domain.
  •  I followed “Running WordPress in App Engine” document to install SDK, create the config files and manage to deploy it from my local machine to Google app engine.

So far so good but the problems come when I start the migration.

Google App Engine for WordPress Plugin

Google released an official plugin for wordpress but all it does is to remove the nice user experiences provided by wordpress team. For example:  The sub-menu for Plugin is gone after activating the “Google App Engine for WordPress” plugin.

Google App Engine WordPress Plugin

And you can’t find/install any theme in “Appreance\Themes” page.

Wordpress Theme In Google App Engine

I understand that Google wants us to install the theme or plugin in local machine and deploy it to Cloud service but why? We don’t have Google SDK on each and every machine. We, wordpress users, are able to search and install the plugin/theme since long time back and its one of the coolest feature provided by wordpress team.

No direct access to public from Google App Engine

This makes a lot of things failed for wordpress users. Akismet is the most popular plugin provided by official wordpress team for us to fight the spammers but now, that plugin doesn’t work. I am not sure how many plugin will not work on Google App Engine.

It’s the one of the reason why Google’s plugin doesn’t allows user to search/install new theme or plugin directly from the blog.

Akismet

Memcached

Activating “Memcached plugin” causes this error below.

Fatal error: Cannot redeclare wp_cache_add() (previously declared in /base/data/home/apps/s~ms-blog/dd/wordpress/wp-includes/cache.php:24) in /base/data/home/apps/s~ms-blog/dd/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/memcached/object-cache.php on line 22

I saw some solutions in google search but come on! you guys already know that every single person who are using wordpress and activate this plugin will get this error. why don’t you fix it before you release? or, it would be nice if you can provide the official solution in readme or somewhere. Ok. it’s not an official plugin from Google but you guys can mention is in your document “Running WordPress in App Engine“.

Memcached

Cost

Ok! I deployed my blog a couple of times but Google is charging me “0.31” USD already. As you can see in the chart, there are a few requests. It’s because Google cron job is doing the call every 2 hours as the requirement of Google App. I think it’s going to cost me a lot more compared to Dreamhost but of course, Google might be able to provide a better up-time so I have to see how much it’s going to cost me.

Google App Engine WordPress Bill

I am still having problem with mapping my custom domain in Google App but I will post about it later.

I understand that Google App engine for PHP is still in early stage. but if you think you can migrate your blog to Google just like that then you need to think twice. Initially, I thought I should be able to migrate my blog within one or two days. But with all those broken plugin and etc, its gonna take a good amount of time to get the full working version of my blog even I used to use PHP language before.

Please feel free to share your experience if you are also migrating your existing blog to Google App engine.

Thanks!

27 thoughts on “Migrating the existing blog to Google App Engine PHP Runtime is not that simple

  1. 1. You haven’t put memcache in the right place. (http://wordpress.org/support/topic/plugin-memcached-object-cache-double-function-declaration)
    2. Don’t run cron every 2 hours if you don’t need it. Try every 24 hours or turn it off if you don’t schedule tasks.
    3. Akismet works fine – you should check your app logs to see what you’ve done wrong.
    4. Can’t install themes in the production server because it’s a read only file system

  2. Hi Slangley,

    1. I think my post might be not so clear. But as I mentioned in the post, there are some solutions that I found for that issue. it’s not how we activate plugin in wordpress.

    2. understand.. but I am very new to Google app engine and I was just following the “Running wordpress” doc from you guys…

    3. I will check. But when I check the Akismet code, I found the code that does the http-post for validating the key. AFAIK, we can’t access outside from appengine directly. Would it be the problem?

    4. Yes. Both themes, plugins, wordpress itself … We don’t have Google SDK in every machine.. If we want to add new plugin from different machine, we need to put my blog to github or some kinda version controls so that we can get the latest to deploy it…

  3. Memcached is not a ‘normal plugin’. I guess you have never used it before?

    http://wordpress.org/support/plugin/memcached

    Yes you can access web sites from app engine directly. As mentioned akismet works fine and i’m using it on http://gae-php-tips.appspot.com/.

    https://developers.google.com/appengine/docs/php/urlfetch/

    You don’t need to use the SDK – you can use git push which is ultimately a better solution so you have versioning.

    https://developers.google.com/appengine/docs/push-to-deploy

  4. Let’s discuss one by one..

    First, I like to start with making the outgoing request from app engine.

    >>Yes you can access web sites from app engine directly.

    Can we make the http request to outside without using UrlFetch service?

    Did you activate it locally or did you active on app engine? Can you try deactivate and re-activate it again?

    As far as I know, you can’t make the outgoing request without using Google service “Urlfetch”..

    When I look at this function “akismet_http_post” in “akismet/akismet.php”, I saw this line.


    $response = wp_remote_post( $akismet_url, $http_args );

    Function Ref: http://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/wp_remote_post

    There is a checking whether that wp specific function exist or not. If the plugin can’t detect “wp_remote_post”, it uses the php socket lib to make the outgoing http request..

    $http_request = "POST $path HTTP/1.0\r\n";
    $http_request .= "Host: $host\r\n";
    $http_request .= 'Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded; charset=' . get_option('blog_charset') . "\r\n";
    $http_request .= "Content-Length: {$content_length}\r\n";
    $http_request .= "User-Agent: {$akismet_ua}\r\n";
    $http_request .= "\r\n";
    $http_request .= $request;

    $response = '';
    if( false != ( $fs = @fsockopen( $http_host, $port, $errno, $errstr, 10 ) ) ) {
    fwrite( $fs, $http_request );

    while ( !feof( $fs ) )
    $response .= fgets( $fs, 1160 ); // One TCP-IP packet
    fclose( $fs );
    $response = explode( "\r\n\r\n", $response, 2 );
    }
    return $response;

    Am I in wrong direction?

  5. >>why do you think wp_remote_post is undefined?

    I didn’t say that it’s undefined.. I was saying that there is a checking (if condiction)..

    Thanks for sharing the links.

    >>wp_remote_post uses file_get_contents() which uses urlfetch.

    It makes sense.. It might be the other reason that Akismet doesn’t work on my blog then.. I will check the log..

    Regarding to your suggestion about git push, its again that we don’t normally install git on every machine.. anyways, we want cloud so we gotta let go of some wp experience.

  6. Hi, I am trying to set up a wordpress blog on GAE. I am having the same problem with Akismet. Have you found any solution yet?

  7. Hi Mrider,

    Not yet. I haven’t checked the logs. I am checking it now..

    “Stuart Langley”, the guy from Google, mentioned that Google makes the build-in PHP API “file_get_contents()” to use urlfetch so I think it should work.

    But I am not sure whether me and “Stuart Langley” have same PHP environment or same restriction.

  8. Hi Shurt Langley,

    When I open up “https://my-blog.appspot.com/wp-admin/plugins.php?page=akismet-key-config&show=enter-api-key”, I got this error as I mentioned in my post.

    “There was a problem connecting to the Akismet server. Please check your server configuration.”

    The following is the log that I get..

    “2013-11-02 10:15:55.761 /wp-admin/plugins.php?page=akismet-key-config&show=enter-api-key 200 360ms 19kb Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/30.0.1599.101 Safari/537.36
    218.212.43.178 – – [02/Nov/2013:10:15:55 -0700] “GET /wp-admin/plugins.php?page=akismet-key-config&show=enter-api-key HTTP/1.1” 200 19070 – “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/30.0.1599.101 Safari/537.36” “wp-dot-ms-cloud-blog.appspot.com” ms=360 cpu_ms=303 cpm_usd=0.002131 app_engine_release=1.8.6 instance=00c61b117c65c8b3d0eb64b28603f5d885d3b793″

  9. When I enter the key and submit in Akimet page, I got the logs below.

    2013-11-02 10:17:13.257 /wp-admin/plugins.php?page=akismet-key-config&show=enter-api-key 200 617ms 19kb Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/30.0.1599.101 Safari/537.36

    218.212.43.178 – – [02/Nov/2013:10:17:13 -0700] “POST /wp-admin/plugins.php?page=akismet-key-config&show=enter-api-key HTTP/1.1” 200 19123 – “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/30.0.1599.101 Safari/537.36” “m-blog.appspot.com” ms=618 cpu_ms=420 cpm_usd=0.002137 app_engine_release=1.8.6 instance=00c61b117c65c8b3d0eb64b28603f5d885d3b793

    2013-11-02 10:17:02.559 / 200 806ms 0kb Google-HTTP-Java-Client/1.17.0-rc (gzip)
    50.18.102.132 – – [02/Nov/2013:10:17:02 -0700] “HEAD / HTTP/1.1” 200 106 – “Google-HTTP-Java-Client/1.17.0-rc (gzip)” “my-blog.appspot.com” ms=806 cpu_ms=187 cpm_usd=0.000012 pending_ms=507 app_engine_release=1.8.6 instance=00c61b117c65c8b3d0eb64b28603f5d885d3b793

    2013-11-02 10:17:02.260 / 200 508ms 0kb Google-HTTP-Java-Client/1.17.0-rc (gzip)
    50.18.102.132 – – [02/Nov/2013:10:17:02 -0700] “HEAD / HTTP/1.1” 200 106 – “Google-HTTP-Java-Client/1.17.0-rc (gzip)” “my-blog.appspot.com” ms=508 cpu_ms=327 cpm_usd=0.000012 app_engine_release=1.8.6 instance=00c61b117c65c8b3d0eb64b28603f5d885d3b793

    Not sure why I got Google-HTTP-Java-Client even I am using PHP runtime.. Not even go-lang.

  10. Hi Shurt Langley,

    I added the log..

    $akismet_url = “http://{$http_host}{$path}”;
    $response = wp_remote_post( $akismet_url, $http_args );
    if ( is_wp_error( $response ) ){
    $error_string = $response->get_error_message();
    syslog(LOG_WARNING, $error_string );
    return ”;
    }

    The error that I got now is as below.

    0: Unable to find the socket transport “tcp” – did you forget to enable it when you configured PHP?

    Google mentioned as below..

    Disabled stream transports

    As Google App Engine doesn’t currently support outbound sockets, the following stream transports have been disabled.

    ssl
    sslv2
    sslv3
    tcp
    tls
    udg
    udp
    unix

    Does “wp_remote_post” makes TCP outbound socket?

  11. I am going through the same challenge. I have successfully created the sample WP instance on GCE but now it comes to uploading my existing website with plugins and content and there is no clear path to do it.

    I am wondering how to do this…

  12. Hi Lucas,

    Yes. I managed to deploy the site but when I try to activate the Akismet plugin then I got the error. I am still waiting the reply from the google employee “Stuart Langley” and he said that my issue is in his pending list..

  13. Really stupid question re: memcache plugin. Is its supposed to say “activated” in WP? I’ve done the work around (copy object-cache.php into wp-content), but its still doesn’t look like its activated in WP.

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