WPCloudDeploy recently released version 4.10.5 of its rapidly maturing WordPress plugin of the same name. The project is a native WordPress replacement for SaaS services such as Cloudways, Ploi, SpinupWP and others.
Customers should always connect to a cloud server provider, such as Digital Ocean, Linode, AWS or elsewhere. However, the project seeks to eliminate middlemen for developers and agencies managing multiple sites. They specifically target those who would regularly manage 20 or more.
“It’s a real plugin where everything you need runs on your own site (except, of course, other servers that you provision and manage that reside with their respective cloud server providers)” said Nigel Bahadur, owner of WPCloudDeploy.
Technically, WPCloudDeploy opened to the public in March 2020, but Bahadur was not ready to aggressively start informing the community. He said the team is now at a point where they have a core of users who are happy with the plugin. They’ve been rolling out new features every month for the past year and a half and feel like it goes beyond the alternatives.
“We were basically in stealth mode for most of that time – we did enough marketing to get a core user group, and then we tried to make those users happy,” he said. “We even offered a very discounted lifetime license last year during the Black Friday sales period – people who bought then are very happy right now.”
With a mature project, it’s time to step into the larger WordPress developer and agency market.
The plugin promises its customers that they can deploy an unlimited number of WordPress-optimized servers and sites on any cloud or bare-metal server. It has direct integration with 10 of the most popular cloud server providers.
However, the integration of the supplier is limited to the tariff plan chosen by the customer. The basic level, which costs $ 199 per year, only works with Digital Ocean. The enterprise tier costs $ 499 and adds Linode, Vultr, and UpCloud to the mix. For the full line of providers, customers should upgrade to the all-access plan for $ 799. The top two levels also have a lifetime purchase option.
Each level of the plan is not just limited to integrating with more vendors. For example, agencies can sell site and server subscriptions through WooCommerce through the enterprise or full access packages. White label and team functions are available at all levels.
Sell subscriptions through WooCommerce
WPCloudDeploy allows agencies to sell subscriptions to cloud servers or WordPress sites through WooCommerce. Due to recent interest in the feature, Bahadur said it would likely be an area of focus next year for more improvements.
“For servers, you can create subscription products where the user can choose the provider and the location,” he said. “Or you can create them where each product represents a single vendor (useful if you want to price your AWS servers differently than your DigitalOcean servers).”
They have their own separate service that builds on this one called WPCloudPanel. The team created it with Beaver Builder, WooCommerce, WooCommerce Subscriptions, and Ninja Tables. The entire site did not require any additional custom code.
“For sites, you can create subscriptions where the site is automatically placed on a particular server in a particular region,” Bahadur said. “Or you can create them where the site is placed on any available server from an administrator-defined server list. It’s a great way to get a highly customizable shopping experience for end user using a set of tools you already know.
Developers and agencies don’t necessarily limit themselves to WooCommerce. Instead, they can take the team’s code and push it to other ecommerce or membership plugins. One of these clients is currently working on a MemberPress solution.
“Since the WPCloudDeploy code just hooks up to various WooCommerce actions and filters, it’s basically about finding a similar hook in their favorite membership plugin, copying the relevant parts of our WooCommerce integration code. , then extract and replace WooCommerce-specific function calls, ”Bahadur said.
From creation to the future
Bahadur said his team started the project to meet their own needs. “We really liked the idea of being able to use our own servers for WordPress sites. But at the time, there were still a lot of security issues and other usability and support issues that we encountered in the usual pool of SaaS providers.
He then decided that his team would build something themselves. Jokingly, he said he had completely underestimated the project and how far it would go.
“I can’t say that in 2019 I looked too much beyond the WP ecosystem because what I wanted was specific WP features,” he said. “Cloudways was one of the many providers I used at the time, and they offered services other than WP. But the overall concept was the same whether it was WP or a server adapted to another ecosystem. I think I looked at all of the WP options out there at the time, including command line services like WordOps.
He said he wasn’t necessarily sure whether it was important to have such a project in the WordPress space.
“I think what’s important is to constantly remind people how good WordPress can do, how powerful it is, and to continue to fight against the perception that WordPress is less secure than the other options,” Bahadur said. “If you can use a WordPress plugin to run and manage all of your servers and sites and / or even act as a hosting service, then we’ve pushed the boundaries of WP far beyond what everyone thought they were doing.” two years ago.
He believes it’s even more important for WordPress professionals to be able to create products that rival the depth of functionality and “sexiness” of SaaS services.
“Think how much more capital would be left in the WP ecosystem if you had a project management plugin as good as, say Clickup.com or Monday.com,” Bahadur said. “Or a CRM plugin as good as Hubspot. But to create plugins with this level of finish, you first need a lot of capital. Even though WP is a billion dollar ecosystem, we still don’t have the capacity to fund the construction of world-class functional components with a world-class UX experience, and I think that’s a shame – and a major opportunity for VCs.
He doesn’t think WPCloudDeploy has quite encountered the smoother user interfaces of SaaS services yet. However, he thinks he can prove that he rivals or surpasses these competitors in terms of functionality.
“So the next time someone asks, ‘Can you really build this on WP? “, Maybe they can point to WPCD and say,” Hey, if you can build this on WP, then, damn it, we can build this stuff whatever you want… “Bahadur said.
The team maintains a Trello board with a public roadmap. The most requested feature right now is support for OpenLiteSpeed, an open source web server.
However, Bahadur said the most enticing possibilities in the long run come from using the REST API.
“Unlike SaaS tools, you will be able to customize it using our built-in tools as a template,” he said. “Ambitious agencies will be able to add their own plugin to extend our REST API without waiting for us to add new endpoints that meet their needs.”
Eventually, the main plugin will be available on GitHub. Developers will be able to bring new endpoints to the base product through pull requests.