[wp-hackers] WordPress and Websockets

Peter Westwood peter.westwood at ftwr.co.uk
Wed Sep 21 08:24:20 UTC 2011

Hi Eric,

On 20 Sep 2011, at 22:21, Eric Mann wrote:

> I'm working on a plugin that, ideally, would make use of websockets to
> communicate between the front-end and the WordPress backend.  Basically,
> whenever a post is published on the backend, it should trigger an event on
> the front-end for other users.  This can be done using old school AJAX and
> long polling, but the point is more to make use of the cutting-edge
> technology than to fall back on "what works."
> Unfortunately, most users are running WordPress on an Apache server ... and
> Apache doesn't natively support websockets.  There are some modules you can
> add to make it work, but that's not an option for people running WP on a
> shared host.
> One option I have is to use Apache anyway.  It can be forced to work with
> websockets using a few PHP scripts I found, but once the websocket is open
> you essentially steal a persistent connection to Apache (which is itself a
> blocking process).  So while this would work, and would probably work well
> for low-traffic sites, it could easily lock up an ill-configured server or
> crash someones system.
> Another option is to host the websocket part of the system on my server
> (where I can use Nginix, Node.js, or any other websocket-friendly server)
> and have the plugin interface with my server.  The downside here is that my
> system then becomes the bottleneck ...
> My question to you: which option would you take?  Try to make due with
> installed software, or move the mission-critical part of the application to
> your own box?  Does anyone have experience implementing websockets in
> WordPress already?  Is there something I'm missing?

Based on the level of available support you describe above I wouldn't use websockets unless I was writing the plugin as custom development for a site where I knew that they could work well because the web server was going to support them.

I don't think having all the traffic run via a server you host is good for a number of reasons:

1) It isn't going to scale
2) It means sending all the content back to your server.

Peter Westwood
http://blog.ftwr.co.uk | http://westi.wordpress.com
50BF A954 E072 23DB B50A  A319 56C3 8FFF 9C72 AB79

More information about the wp-hackers mailing list