Wordpress on Heroku

Deploy Wordpress to Heroku in < 60 seconds or your money back

Project maintained by mchung Hosted on GitHub Pages — Theme by mattgraham

Heroku buildpack: Wordpress on Heroku

This is a Heroku buildpack for running Wordpress on Heroku

It uses this Wordpress project template to bootstrap a highly tuned Wordpress site built on the following stack:

You can see a live demo at Wordpress on Heroku.

Getting started in 60 seconds

Fork and rename the Wordpress project template.

Let's clone the repository for a new blog, 99catfacts.com

$ git clone git://github.com/your_name/wordpress-on-heroku.git 99catfacts.com

Create Wordpress on Heroku.

$ cd 99catfacts.com
$ heroku create -s cedar
$ heroku config:add BUILDPACK_URL=https://github.com/mchung/heroku-buildpack-wordpress.git

Don't have the Heroku Toolbelt installed? Follow these quickstart instructions. Takes about 2 minutes.

Deploy your Wordpress site to Heroku.

$ git push heroku master
-----> Heroku receiving push
-----> Fetching custom git buildpack... done
-----> Wordpress app detected
-----> Discovering process types
       Procfile declares types     -> (none)
       Default types for Wordpress -> web
-----> Compiled slug size: 33.7MB
-----> Launching... done, v7

Open your new Wordpress site in a web browser.

$ heroku apps:open

Happy? Add your site to the growing list of Wordpress sites runnning on Heroku.


The buildpack bootstraps a Wordpress site using the mchung/wordpress-on-heroku project template. That repo contains everything required to run your own Wordpress site on Heroku.

There are several files available in config for configuring your new Wordpress site.

└── config                # Your config files goes here.
    ├── public            # The public directory
    │   └── wp-content    # Wordpress themes and plugins
    │       ├── plugins
    │       └── themes
    └── vendor            # Config files for vendored apps
        ├── nginx
        │   └── conf      # nginx.conf + your site.conf
        └── php
            └── etc       # php.ini & php-fpm.conf

When you deploy Wordpress to Heroku, everything in config is copied over to Heroku. You can configure your blog by making changes to these files.

A few Wordpress environment variables can be controlled via Heroku using heroku config:set:

To add a Heroku environment variable: heroku config:set GOOG_UA_ID=UA=1234777-9

See wp-config.php and documentation from Wordpress for details.

Enabling and configuring the following Wordpress plugins will also speed up Wordpress on Heroku significantly.


Creating your Wordpress site on Heroku

$ git clone git://github.com/username/wordpress-on-heroku.git myblog
$ cd myblog
$ heroku create -s cedar
$ heroku config:add BUILDPACK_URL=https://github.com/mchung/heroku-buildpack-wordpress.git
$ git push heroku master

Adding a custom domain name

$ heroku domains:add marcchung.org
$ heroku domains:add www.marcchung.org

Note: Adding a domain still requires some DNS setup work. Basically you'll want to do something like this:

ALIAS marcchung.org -> proxy.herokuapp.com
CNAME www.marcchung.org -> proxy.herokuapp.com

I use DNSimple and you should too.

Adding a theme

$ cp -r appply config/public/wp-content/themes/
$ git add .
$ git commit -m "New theme"
$ git push heroku master

Adding a plugin

$ cp -r google-analytics config/public/wp-content/plugins/
$ git add .
$ git commit -m "New plugin"
$ git push heroku master

Plugins and themes must be activated via the Plugins panel.

Adding custom secret keys to wp-config.php

Use the Wordpress.org secret-key service to override the default ones in wp-config.php.

Configuring cron

By default, wp-cron is fired on every page load and scheduled to run jobs like future posts or backups. This buildpack disables wp-cron so that visitors don't have to wait to see the site.

Heroku allows you to trigger wp-cron from their scheduler.

$ heroku addons:add scheduler:standard

# Visit the Heroku scheduler dashboard and add a new task:

Alternatively, you may also re-enable wp-cron.

$ heroku config:set DISABLE_WP_CRON=false

Enable system access

The alternative PHP cache and a generic PHPINFO page is available at /apc.php and /phpinfo.php.

$ heroku config:set ENABLE_SYSTEM_DEBUG=true
$ heroku config:set SYSTEM_USERNAME=admin
$ heroku config:set SYSTEM_PASSWORD=secret123
# Visit /apc.php or /phpinfo.php

Remove the PHP-FPM status page /status.html

Delete the directive from nginx.conf.erb.

Add a favicon.ico drop one into public

See #22 for details.

Choosing specific versions of vendored packages

See VERSIONS for how to pick specific versions of Nginx, PHP, and Wordpress

Workflow (optional)

By keeping your changes separate, it'll be easier to pull in changes from the Wordpress site template.

Assign a remote upstream

$ git remote add upstream https://github.com/your_name/wordpress-on-heroku.git

Track changes in a separate branch called production.

$ git checkout -B production
$ git push heroku production:master
# This keeps upstream (my) changes separate from (your) blog changes.

Pull changes from upstream into master.

$ git co master
$ git pull
$ git co production
$ git merge master

Pull changes from upstream into production.

$ git pull --rebase upstream master

How fast is this?

Pretty freaking fast.

System setup

Here are some benchmarks from Google PageSpeed, Blitz.io, and Web Page Test.

Google PageSpeed

Results from PageSpeed Insights: 94/100

See the PageSpeed report


Results from a blitz.io rush

Blitz.io rush

Over 200 page views per second with less than 100ms response time sustained for a minute.

See the Blitz.io report

Web Page Performance Test

Results from WebPageTest

See the WebPageTest report

These tests are periodically rerun on Wordpress on Heroku.

But doesn't Heroku only run Ruby applications?

Not anymore. Heroku's latest offerings (See Celadon Cedar stack) makes it easy (well, easyish) for developers to install and run any language, or service.

Constraints with Heroku

The ephemeral filesystem

Security disclosure

Each time Wordpress is deployed, Heroku will fetch the latest buildpack from GitHub and execute the instructions in compile and deploy. This buildpack will download the latest precompiled versions of Nginx, PHP, and Wordpress from my personal S3 bucket then add in config files from the config directory.

Hacking and Contributing

Not comfortable downloading and running a copy of someone else's PHP or Nginx executables? Not a problem! The support directory also contains a handful of compilation and deployment scripts to automate several processes, which are currently used for maintenance and repo management.


Authors and Contributors


Thanks for reading this all the way through.

If you use this buildpack in production, please update the list of Wordpress sites running on Heroku.


The MIT License - Copyright (c) 2013 Marc Chung

take my code with you
and do whatever you want
but please don't blame me
— Aaron Swartz

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