Over the course of the last 12 years, I’ve installed WordPress manually more than 250 times.
When I install it on an existing server with other sites, that’s pretty straightforward. But many times I had to install servers from scratch for these sites.
Entire procedure was not exactly 100% manual. I had bash scripts for many steps involved. Still, when I sum up all the hours I invested into installing sites and later managing them, it’s a significant number.
What happened last summer
One of my clients last summer requested web application for automatic installation of WordPress sites for their clients.
I investigated the market for some solution which could help me and landed with Plesk and their WordPress toolkit.
Published application, got over 700 WP sites in 1st week, super awesome.
Until we got scammers onto our server. Now that IP address was in risk of being blacklisted, which would blacklist 700+ domains hosted on our server.
Trick with Plesk and other Hosting panels
Plesk, cPanel and other alternatives selling their licenses for single servers. There is no option to launch new instances under Plesk, you need to install new server, and buy new Plesk license for it.
For example you could have $5/month Digital Ocean droplet and cheapest Plesk license is $10/month. In our case with 700 sites we used Web Host Edition which is $25/month.
In order to isolate sites and split risk, we needed at least 50 droplets. This means 50 instances * $25/month = $1250/month, only for Plesk.
You could say not a good deal.
Cloud based solutions
There are other solutions on the market for managing servers, which are not based on server license model. They are good for developers, but for my taste they have too many steps involved.
Friction is very high, I needed solution which could be used by anyone.
WPJack idea was born
I wanted ability to create new sites only by specifying their domain.
I don’t want 20 different text inputs and options, nor I want to be forced to SSH into server to install SSL certificate or anything else.
I don’t care how it’s done I just want my new site ready.
WPJack gives you the best defaults, but you can change anything to fit your needs. If you leave everything as is, you’ll get:
- Isolated WP install
- New virtual host on the server
- SSL configured, and reissued for you
- Secure password generated
- All debug features off
- No need to go through WP installation wizzard
If you need to change any of these defaults you can do that before or after you install new site through WPJack panel.
All WP servers under one panel
For now WPJack supports Linode and Digital Ocean as server providers.
Only requirement is to login into server providers and in the back we’ll connect via API to them.
Very soon I plan to add support for other providers like Vultr, Hetzner, Amazon and others.
I’ll wait for first feedbacks and based on them I’ll add new providers.
WordPress specific features
My intention was to have 100% WordPress specific panel.
For now you can add multiple sites on a single server. They are all isolated between each other.
This mean that every site is under different linux user and web server is running new process for each site.
With 1-click you can enable SSL certificate for your site and that’s a lifetime certificate. No need to buy them separately and pay yearly fees.
You can manage WordPress users from WPJack panel, there is no need to visit certain blog and login.
I am developing offsite backups feature for sites on WPJack. Soon you’ll be able to enable that for your sites.
Longterm plan and where WPJack is going
At this stage our subscription plans are at their minimum.
I am aware that this is a new service and WPJack needs to prove itself.
In coming months I’ll be increasing subscription fees as I add new features.
Existing customers won’t be affected by increased prices.
If you signup now for $27/month plan and in September price changes to $45/month, you’ll continue to pay us $27/month.
And the best part you’ll get all the new features added under that plan.
Soon I’ll publish a roadmap for WPJack, so you’ll be able to see what is planned. I think I’ll leave up to users to vote on them and include their own features.
Features I plan to develop
Since I am running web development company and we have developers and clients I need ability to invite collaborators to certain servers or sites.
Permission based access is very important for me, I guess that’s the case for other web development agencies also.
In my daily routine Slack takes a major role.
I have all the logging systems, contact forms, error reporting setups configured to send me critical updates inside Slack channels.
I would like to receive notifications from my servers and sites when some critical event occur, or in advance.
Like when server resources are at 90%, or my site performance is down 50%. Or internal WP error is thrown, that kind of stuff.
Launch sites from Slack
I have idea to code Slack bot which will be able to create new sites and manage existing ones via Slack commands.
Pretty awesome huh?
My reasoning is that no one wants to learn new tool or use another panel. No matter how good it is. It’s much easier to invite collaborators inside Slack and issue commands there.
How this is done usually is that I need to install certain WP plugin, manually configure AWS S3, setup some crons and hope for the best.
From my perspective it’s much easier if backups just work, and you don’t need to setup anything.
If something happens with your site, you’ll be able to restore it with 1-click.
If you rely on WP plugin to restore your backups, what happens if your site is hacked?
Share your thoughts on WPJack
If you need certain feature, you have a question for me, report error or anything related to WPJack send me an email at ivan[at]wpjack.com