If you’ve been following the @wpremote or @humanmadeltd  twitter accounts recently you may have noticed that over the Christmas period we we’re all working hard on a reboot of the WP Remote project. That work is now complete.

For those who don’t know, WP Remote is a webapp for managing multiple WordPress sites. It’s been in beta for quite some time, but we are changing all that now! It’s current features are:

  • Re-written the entire front-end of the webapp.

    The app is now about 100x faster – that’s kind of an exaggeration, try 90x faster. If you used the previous WP Remote, load time of the app was definitely an issue. We’ve re-designed and re-written the front-end using knockout.js.

  • Redesigned the WP Remote website.

    That’s what you are seeing here, right now! It’s nothing too special, but cleaner and we wanted to get it to fit in the webapp so it’s pretty much a seamless experience navigating around this website and managing your WordPress sites.

  • Added Backups.

    This is a biggie. It really isn’t easy to do decent reliable backups for the huge variety of servers people are running WordPress installs on. Fortunately the work we did on the backup engine in BackUpWordPress was massively helpful here. Backups are stored on Amazon S3 and there is an option for automatic nightly backups (the whole database and all files are backed up). Currently, backups are free to use – however, we will be monitoring bandwidth, if it becomes too costly we may have to start charging.

  • Remote Theme updates.

    The webapp will now track theme updates and supports remote upgrading.

That’s just some of the stuff we have changed / added, if you already have a WP Remote account, you will be prompted to update the WP Remote WordPress Plugin on all your sites.

Out of Beta

As on now, we are dropping the beta tag and going version 1.0. That’s not necessarily just due to the much better front-end, but also a clarification on what we want WP Remote to be, and what we features it should offer. We still have plenty of ideas for improvements, but I think we have achieved the base feature set we wanted from a tool like WP Remote. After all, we built WP Remote to use ourselves – to tackle updating / tracking the large amount of WordPress sites we have build for our clients over the years.

Out of beta doesn’t necessarily mean no bugs, rather a maturity of the product – there are always bugs and I personally look forward to fixing them. A bug is a chance to harden the codebase or write another unit test so I can see all those lovely green “test passed” messages.

A Free to Use Tool

Since starting work on WP Remote, we have often deliberated about potential monetization. To pour time into a free-to-use product can seem like a waste of resources to some, especially when it’s at the expense of paying client work. Also, we were worried of potentially devaluing our work on WP Remote by making it 100% free. In the end it boiled down to wanting to give something back to the WordPress community as a whole. WordPress really is a great piece of software and returning the favour by trying to participate in WordPress core fixes and bug reports can often be a difficult game to play – while we make an effort to submit patches etc. for WordPress core, for a business that is 90% WordPress development it only seems right we try to put back into the pot.

WP Remote is and will be free to use, as long as we have ownership of the product. However, we are still trying to work out the logistics of funding bandwidth bills for storing backups. Backups are pretty much the only running cost WP Remote should incur (excluding relatively low server costs). This may mean we need to take on sponsorship, advertising, minimal fees for backup storage (perhaps with the option to store on your own FTP / Amazon account) or donations.

At this point we don’t exactly know what the bandwidth usage will be as we don’t know how many people will want to use WP Remote and backups within that.

So please, use WP Remote to your hearts content. Add as many sites as you want, try to break it (if you do, let us know!) and tell your friends about it. If you have more than 1 WordPress site, give it a try. After all, who doesn’t like to try out a brand spanking new webapp these days.