My WordPress Stack

This will serve as a checklist for myself and for anyone who wants to set up and install a brand new WordPress site. The following list of tools, plugins and services make sure your website is super fast and completely kills it through every speed test score out there.

The plan was to put out a similar list on a public Notion document, but why waste a completely good blog that I always wanted to get active on.

So let’s get started…

To start off, you need to have active subscriptions and accounts on the following services:

  • DigitalOcean, AWS Lightsail, Vultr etc.
  • Cloudflare for domain, DNS and SSL
  • RunCloud for complete cloud server management

1. DigitalOcean

  • Create a new Droplet on DigitalOcean
  • Pick region NYC1
  • Install Ubuntu 20.04 (LTS) x64

2. Cloudflare

  • Add domain to Cloudflare
  • Set SSL to ‘Flexible’
  • Configure DNS
    • Add an ‘A’ record pointing to server IP
    • Add ‘CNAME’ record as ‘www’ for content:

3. RunCloud

  • Connect server to RunCloud and install agent

Create Web Application

  • Add a new WordPress web application
  • Fill out details: domain, WordPress and MySQL information
  • Once created, login into WP Dashboard to make sure everything is working


  • Deploy “Let’s Encrypt” SSL to the server
  • Configure redirection to HSTS
  • WP Dashboard should stop working until the next step is completed
    • Page should be stuck in redirection loop

4. Cloudflare, again

  • Set SSL to “Full (strict)”
    • Everything should be working fine now with full SSL enabled

5. WordPress

This is where the main work starts…

Basic Settings

  • Add a tagline
  • Change timezone

Install Plugins

  • Jetpack
  • Health Check & Troubleshooting
  • Akismet Anti-Spam
  • WP Mail SMTP
  • Rank Math SEO
  • WPForms / Ninja Forms
  • UpdraftPlus
  • WP Rocket
  • Autoptimize / Perfmatters
  • Cloudflare
  • Sucuri

Install Theme

  • Pick one of these themes for best performance: Blocksy, GeneratePress, Neve