How to Use Bedrock and Trellis at Kinsta (WordPress Development)

Updated on August 06, 2018

This is a post for all of you WordPress developers out there! Today we’ll explain how to use and integrate Bedrock and Trellis at Kinsta. If you haven’t heard of these two tools before, we’ll also introduce them and hopefully help to explain why you’d want to use them over a traditional setup.

Bedrock and Trellis

Both Bedrock and Trellis exist to make it easier to develop, maintain, and deploy WordPress sites.

  • Bedrock offers an alternative way to manage your WordPress installation with an improved folder structure, modern development tools, and improved security.
  • Trellis works with Bedrock to create development environments with Vagrant along with one-command deploys.

The main reason to use Bedrock is to get proper dependency and package management for a WordPress project. You may already be familiar with npm for JavaScript or Bundler for Ruby. PHP is no different, and its equivalent is Composer.

While using a package manager is common, it’s less common for WordPress itself since WordPress already its own concept of plugins. Bedrock integrates Composer to manage plugins, themes, and even WordPress core itself as dependencies.

Trellis is a tool to easily create development and production servers to host WordPress sites. It’s specifically created to work with Bedrock-based sites as well. Trellis’ default use case is to use it development with Vagrant and in production as well to get parity between those two environments.

This post explains a slightly different use case: Trellis for your development server and Kinsta for your production (and/or staging) server.

Why use Kinsta over a Trellis provisioned VPS? Because sometimes you want to pay someone else to manage the server instead of doing it yourself (especially if you have a lot of clients). Kinsta also makes scaling easier without having to deal with multiple servers, load balancers, and cloud uploads.

A lot of WordPress hosts aren’t very developer friendly and don’t offer SSH access and Composer or WP-CLI integration which are requirements to use Trellis and Bedrock. Thankfully, Kinsta’s business plans do offer these features which makes all this possible.

Kinsta’s Starter and Pro plans do not include SSH access. If you want to use Trellis and Bedrock at Kinsta you will need to sign up for a Business or Enterprise plan.

Important: The Kinsta CDN is not supported due to the fact that image uploads are located in the /app directory.

Bedrock vs Regular WordPress

You might be wondering why you would use Bedrock over that of a traditional WordPress install. The reason is that Bedrock is built specifically with the modern web developer in mind:

  • Environment-specific configuration files, stored outside of the public web root
  • Environment variables to separate config from code in a single .env file
  • Enhanced security by limiting access to non-web files along with bcrypt hashed passwords
  • Custom wp-content directory named app
  • Composer for managing WordPress, plugins, themes, and other PHP dependencies
  • .gitignore that excludes WordPress core, plugins, and uploads

Raspberry PiSnopesJetBlue, and more, trust Bedrock to power their WordPress sites.

Let’s take a look at the two folder structures side-by-side:

Bedrock vs WordPress

Bedrock vs WordPress

Bedrock takes installing WordPress into a subdirectory to the next level. Much of the philosophy behind Bedrock is inspired by the Twelve-Factor App methodology including the WordPress specific version.

Configuring Trellis for Kinsta

Trellis can deploy to Kinsta with just a few updates. Since Kinsta provides everything from the web server standpoint, provisioning your staging and production environments do not apply.

The one-command deploys in Trellis work with Kinsta with a little configuration. Once configured, you’ll be able to deploy your WordPress sites by running the deploy playbook in Trellis:

ansible-playbook deploy.yml -e env=staging -e site=example.com --limit=kinsta_staging

Bring up your MyKinsta dashboard and navigate to the WordPress site that you’re setting up with Bedrock and Trellis, along with your code editor opened to the trellis directory in your project.

First edit trellis/ansible.cfg to add the following to [defaults] at the top:

forks = 3
host_key_checking = False

Staging Configuration

Make sure that trellis/group_vars/staging/wordpress_sites.yml is configured with the proper canonical for your staging site:

wordpress_sites:
  example.com:
    site_hosts:
      - canonical: staging-example.kinsta.com

Then open up trellis/group_vars/staging/main.yml and add the following to the end of the file:

project_root: /www/example_123/public
www_root: /www/example_123/public
web_user: example
web_group: www-data

Replace example_123 in the paths above with the correct path provided from the MyKinsta dashboard. Make sure you have selected your Kinsta staging environment.

Developer path from MyKinsta dashboard

Developer path from MyKinsta dashboard (staging)

Next, open trellis/group_vars/staging/vault.yml for editing by running ansible-vault edit group_vars/staging/vault.yml.

We need to add db_userdb_name, and db_password to env. We also need to add vault_ansible_ssh_pass. You can find the values for these on the main info screen for your site in the MyKinsta dashboard.

MyKinsta credentials

MyKinsta credentials (staging)

vault_wordpress_sites:
  example.com:
    env:
      db_user: "example"
      db_name: "example"
      db_password: "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"
      # Generate your keys here: https://roots.io/salts.html
      auth_key: ""
      secure_auth_key: ""
      logged_in_key: ""
      nonce_key: ""
      auth_salt: ""
      secure_auth_salt: ""
      logged_in_salt: ""
      nonce_salt: ""

vault_ansible_ssh_pass: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Finally, open trellis/hosts/staging and replace the contents with:

kinsta_staging ansible_host=104.154.94.123 ansible_ssh_port=12345 ansible_ssh_pass="{{ vault_ansible_ssh_pass }}"

[web]
kinsta_staging

[staging]
kinsta_staging

Make sure that the host and SSH port match what is listed in the MyKinsta dashboard.

MyKinsta host and SSH (staging)

MyKinsta host and SSH (staging)

Production Configuration

Now, let’s repeat the same process above for the production environment. Make sure to toggle to your “live” environment in the MyKinsta dashboard.

Live environment

Live environment

Open up trellis/group_vars/production/main.yml and add the following to the end of the file:

project_root: /www/example_123/public
www_root: /www/example_123/public
web_user: example
web_group: www-data

Next, open trellis/group_vars/production/vault.yml for editing by running ansible-vault edit group_vars/production/vault.yml:

vault_wordpress_sites:
  example.com:
    env:
      db_user: "example"
      db_name: "example"
      db_password: "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"
      # Generate your keys here: https://roots.io/salts.html
      auth_key: ""
      secure_auth_key: ""
      logged_in_key: ""
      nonce_key: ""
      auth_salt: ""
      secure_auth_salt: ""
      logged_in_salt: ""
      nonce_salt: ""

vault_ansible_ssh_pass: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Finally, open trellis/hosts/production and replace the contents with:

kinsta_production ansible_host=104.154.94.123 ansible_ssh_port=12345 ansible_ssh_pass="{{ vault_ansible_ssh_pass }}"

[web]
kinsta_production

[production]
kinsta_production

Modifying the Deploy Tasks

Trellis deploys try to reload php-fpm, which we need to remove from attempting to run on Kinsta’s servers. We also need to trigger the clearing of Kinsta’s cache on a deploy.

Open trellis/roles/deploy/hooks/finalize-after.yml and scroll to the bottom. Remove the last task for Reload php-fpmand add the following:

- name: Clear Kinsta cache
  uri:
    url: "{{ site_env.wp_home }}/ask-support-rep/"
    method: GET

Replace ask-support-rep above after asking a Kinsta support rep for the URL to clearing the cache on your site.

Optional: Install Composer Dependencies

If you’re getting a screen that tells you to run ‘Composer Install,’ add the following right before the “Clear Kinsta cache” code above:

name: Install Composer dependencies
composer:
command: install
working_dir: >/www/example123/public/final-path

Adding kinsta-mu-plugins to Bedrock

Kinsta sites come with mu-plugins installed automatically. With Bedrock installs you’ll need to bring in the kinsta-mu-plugins package.

Open site/composer.json and add the following within the repositories array:

{
  "type": "package",
  "package": {
    "name": "kinsta/kinsta-mu-plugins",
    "type": "wordpress-muplugin",
    "version": "2.0.15",
    "dist": {
      "url": "https://kinsta.com/kinsta-tools/kinsta-mu-plugins.zip",
      "type": "zip"
    }
  }
}

Then run the following from your Bedrock/site directory:

composer require kinsta/kinsta-mu-plugins:2.0.15

Final Steps With Kinsta Support

The last thing you need to do is inform Kinsta of what to set the document root to. Hop on MyKinsta and ask the support team for your document root be updated to public/current/web.

If you didn’t already get the clear cache URL earlier, also ask your support rep for this, and make sure that trellis/roles/deploy/hooks/finalize-after.yml is updated with the correct URL to clear Kinsta’s cache on a successful deploy.

Once this change has been made you’ll be able to deploy to both your staging and production environments with a single line:

# Deploy staging
ansible-playbook deploy.yml -e env=staging -e site=example.com --limit=kinsta_staging

# Deploy production
ansible-playbook deploy.yml -e env=production -e site=example.com --limit=kinsta_production

Better yet… setup a continuous integration service, such as CircleCI, to automatically run the deploy for you when you commit to either staging or master!

This article was written by Ben Word
Ben Word is a web developer and interaction designer. He is the founder of Roots, an open-source organization that creates tools to help WordPress developers build better sites.

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  1. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Neil Gilmour April 11, 2018 at 4:30 am

    Awesome! Another great write up from Ben Word, and so good to see Kinsta supporting Roots. Thanks both :)

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Brian Jackson April 11, 2018 at 10:03 am

      Thanks Neil! We are excited to support awesome projects like Roots :)

  2. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Evan April 12, 2018 at 7:48 am

    Hey Ben, when I last looked at hosting with Kinsta, I recall the ability to not be able to programmatically reload PHP-FPM to be a problem. Does this workflow allow for zero downtime deploys and symlinked releases?

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Brian Jackson May 20, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      Hey Evan! As Ben mentioned above in the post, at this time you’ll need to remove that as part of the deployment task as it’s not currently possible to reload PHP-FPM programmatically. Thanks

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