Several weeks ago I received a frantic text message in the middle of the night from a friend whose website (a WordPress blog) I host on my Web server. Apparently, the site was receiving a surge of traffic. I immediately increased their bandwidth just in case they were to go over the limit previously established, but it made me think how this user could reduce costs and ease up the demands (storage and bandwidth) on my server. The answer was in the cloud.
There are quite a few cloud hosting providers on the market. Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is an online storage service that is perhaps the most well known. The Web service can be used to host static contents, like image files, instead of hosting them yourself. One of the biggest advantages of S3 is the reliability from Amazon servers during high traffic, and their bandwidth and storage prices are low compare to other similar services. Startup companies are embracing it for their online storage solution, and even bloggers are starting to use it to host their images and other static media.
The website had a WordPress installation which means, as in most things, there must be a plugin working with a cloud hosting provider like Amazon S3 wherein media content could be stored and served, right? Right!
Amazon S3 for WordPress is a plugin that allows bloggers to use Amazon's Simple Storage Service to host media for WordPress powered blogs. Once integrated into a WordPress install, WP users can upload files (images, video, audio, etc.) which are then saved into an Amazon S3 bucket without any extra steps. These files are delivered by Amazon S3 instead of your web host - problem solved.