Over the last few weeks, the team at WP Remote have been working hard to come up with ways that we can make WP Remote more useful and more intrinsic in your day to day work flow.
We have big changes planned which we think will really help set WP Remote apart from other WordPress management platforms and bring a set of features along a new UI that will not only make WP Remote more useful, but also more easy and even pleasurable to use.
What does this exactly mean for users today?
- Free users will continue as normal (though the ability to upgrade to premium will be removed). The only difference being that “Download a Copy of my Site” will be deactivated in 30 days. In the next day, free users that registered before this blog post will be emailed a 50% off coupon for BackUpWordPress, a WordPress plugin for automatically scheduling backups and storing them at common cloud storages (Dropbox, Google Drive, S3, etc.)
- Premium users will have access to the features they’ve enjoyed so far for the next 30 days, but any billing will be turned off from now on. In addition, current premium users will receive a copy of the Developer License for BackUpWordPress for free within the next 1-2 days if they’d like a copy (simply reply to the initial e-mail or contact email@example.com)
WP Remote was originally born as an internal tool for our company and WordPress agency (Human Made). We subsequently released it for free and had a lot of success focusing around basic remote features. Late last year, we started working on deeper features that benefitted a small percent of users whilst at the same time consuming a lot of our internal resources (no server is the same, thus we spent the majority of our time debugging and trying to make the backups work). This ultimately came at the cost of our free users as well as compromising our original motives with WP Remote. We’re now focused on bringing it back to the simple yet brutally efficient tool WP Remote started as. This way we can also spend the majority of our time on the largest user group, the free ones.
In the next few weeks, you will also see the arrival of a Preview Beta button within your WP Remote dashboard. This will constitute of a completely new UI as well as a shift of how WP Remote is perceived and used (while not changing any of our core competencies, i.e. updates and other remote actions). We will be deploying to the beta as often as possible and actively seeking your feedback. We hope to share with you the first screenshots in the next week.
If you’re a premium user and have any issues, feedback that you’d like to share, please get in touch with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org , I’ll personally respond.
With WP Remote recently being added as an app to Zapier, we’re really excited to share some of the awesome Zaps you can create.
One of the most powerful Apps (aside from WP Remote of course) currently available on Zapier, is called Pushover. This simple but ingenious web API allows you to send custom data as push notifications to your mobile device.
What I’m going to illustrate today is the power of Zapier. And I’ll be showing you how to send push notifications from WP Remote, to your mobile device.
You will need:
- 1 Zapier account.
- 1 WP Remote Account with some WordPress sites added.
- 1 Pushover account.
- Any mobile device.
- Some coffee
Let’s start by creating a new Zap and selecting the WP Remote as the trigger app, and Pushover as our action app.
In the below image, I’ve selected the ‘New Plugin Update Available’ trigger, and for our action, I want to send a notification to my phone.
We’ll now have to connect our WP Remote account, and push over account.
A modal will appear. You’ll have to name the connection to your account. The second field you’ll be asked for an API Key. I’ll explain how to obtain your key next.
To connect your WP Remote account, you’ll need to generate an API key from your WP Remote account.
Goto WP Remote, login, and go to your account settings page.
To get here, click your username from the top right corner, and select account.
Towards the bottom of the account panel, press the generate API Key, copy the API Key, and paste it into the field in Zapier.
After you’ve added your API key, WP Remote will be connected. Next we’ll connect Pushover.
To get your Pushover key is quite easy. Login to your Pushover account. In the top right of the Pushover home screen, copy ‘Your User Key’ and paste as below.
With both WP Remote and Pushover now connected to Zapier, we can begin creating our Zap. It’s also worth noting that you’ll need to connect your apps only once to Zapier. Using WP Remote or Pushover again from this point, you won’t need to dig out your API keys, as Zapier has saved your connection to that account for future use. ( For you practicing hackers, the API keys used in this guide no longer are used )
We’re not going to be adding any custom filters to this Zap. But it’s worth mentioning that with custom filters we can do some advanced things, like specifying specific sites or plugins. We’ll save that for another tutorial. For now, lets press continue to move to the next part.
Next we’ll setup the push notification message. I’ve kept things pretty simple for my Zap.
Zapier is able to dynamically insert fields. In this case, I’m going to use the ‘site name’ and the ‘plugin name’ so that when my push notification reaches my phone I’ll know exactly what site and plugin it’s referring to.
Zapier allows us to test our Zap with dummy data. You can do so now. If all goes well, it should say ‘Success!’ and your phone will alert you.
Finally we name the Zap. You’ll only see the name in your Zapier dashboard, so you can make it descriptive, allowing you to see what a Zap does at a glance.
After naming it, click ‘Turn Zap on’ and you’re done. Whenever WP Remote detects a new plugin update, you’ll receive a push notification to your phone.
Expect more Zapier tutorials in future as we dive into more advanced uses. Also don’t be afraid to tweet us @wpremote if you want to see a tutorial with your favourite app.
We’re pleased to announce WP Remote for Zapier has launched!
Zapier will allow you to push activity from your WordPress sites to a number of other tools you likely already use (Basecamp, HipChat, Slack, Google Docs, etc.). It’s our hope that with things like Zapier and our API, we’re able to give users the power to enhance their working day with more automation.
- Free (does not require a paid plan)
- 20 Triggers to choose from
- Your sites will refresh while you’re not logged in
- Zapier will automatically push changes to your connected apps as they come in (15-30 minute delay)
Connect to Pushover and receive push notifications on your phone:
Connect to HipChat or Slack to receive notifications and updates within your chat application:
Create an audit log or completed task list for clients with Google Docs:
Come up with your own zaps as Zapier boasts such a large amount of apps to connect too:
Head on over to Zapier now and have a play around with it! We’re also very interested in what sort of recipes/zaps you come up with, tweet us at @wpremote with a screenshot of your zap and we’ll retweet the creative ones!
To help spread the word about Backup Awareness Week we’re running a 20% discount on WP Remote Premium upgrades!
Offer ends March 31st so don’t miss out! Use the coupon BackupAware when signing up to premium to claim the discount.
We’ve heard our fair share of backup-horror stories, so don’t let the stories be about you, backup your sites!
Alex Moss is the Co-Founder of FireCask a digital marketing agency, which also doubles up as a WordPress workshop, Peadig, a mobile first responsive WordPress theme framework and friend of WP Remote.
This accomplished agency also relies on WP Remote to do a lot of the leg work for the sites they managed, and they were kind enough to answer some of our questions.
Tell us about your business, what’s FireCask all about?
We’re a small digital agency based in Manchester, UK. We specialise in online marketing, content production and (of course) WordPress development.
How’s WP Remote adding value to your business?
It’s one of our favourite WordPress Lifehack tools! We don’t need to worry about logging into a lot of WP backends and update – now it’s all seamless within one control panel.
Do you have a WP Remote routine you can share with our readers?
Generally speaking our routine is that the first thing Monday morning at about 10am (though usually before) we go through all client sites and upgrade everything that we can through WP Remote.
We then keep an eye on it throughout the week for larger upgrades. So – for example – when WordPress 3.8 came out we upgraded our sites as soon as we were confident no problems would occur. Because we spend so much of our time in the backend of multiple WordPress sites, we can see updates in the admin bar that we review throughout the week and update either within that site independently or go back to WP Remote to update the plugin/theme on all sites.
Before upgrading we take backups of all sites, and test upgrading. We do take nightly backups for all clients, so for sites that it isn’t mission critical if the database is a few hours old, we just upgrade and rollback if necessary.
If you were to guess how much time WP Remote saves you every month, what would you estimate?
A lot! We have one site that for security reasons we cannot seem to upgrade via WP Remote. Generally that does take 5-10 minutes at a time. Going through our site list it must save probably 12 hours each month. Although each site can take around 5 minutes to update, this really adds up over time. 12 hours a month to us is now used more constructively :)
What WordPress pro tip do you think not enough people know about?
Well from an SEO standpoint we often see themes and plugins developed with PHP’s default redirection method. WordPress handles this better and more securely with wp_redirect(), so we use that instead.
Other than that, always check WordPress’ documentation for a function before writing it! Most common functions are already included within the WordPress core – and we’re always still discovering new ones – for example recently Rhys discovered download_url as a function, which saved a good hour or two of developmental time.
Finally, where can we find/follow you online?
A few places :)
Alex and his team are a perfect example of how WP Remote helps save users time, by providing an aggregated, clean and simple overview of your all your WordPress sites.
WP Remote was born out of our own need to manage WordPress sites. Its driving force is our own understanding of the need for its existence. Which is why when we caught up with Linn Øyen Farley from Drollic, one of the users of WP Remote, we were delighted to hear some of her responses to our questions.
Tell us about your business, what kind of cool things do you do?
I’m a full-time freelance designer and developer. Most of my work involves coding WordPress themes from scratch for theatre companies, small businesses and freelancers.The sites I build range from simple business card-esque websites to complex information hubs with lots of specific needs. I believe in giving people full control of their own website post-launch, so WordPress is a natural choice for many projects, since it strikes the right balance between being easy to update for a non-technical person, and letting me add custom functionality as necessary.
”Logging in to individual sites started taking up a lot of (non-billable) time”
How has WP Remote helped your business?
The not-so-great part of WordPress is how often the core and plugins have updates available. After we’ve launched, I usually hand the site off to the client to maintain, but I used to check in every once in a while to make sure they were still updating everything.
Logging in to individual sites started taking up a lot of (non-billable) time, though, so once I discovered WP Remote it made my life much easier! Now I can just glance at all of my client sites (past and present) in one go, and see who’s keeping up to date and who might need a reminder to log in and update their stuff. I just started offering maintenance packages to past clients, too, where I’ll keep their plugins and core up to date for a monthly fee, and using WP Remote lets me keep that fee low. WP Remote has also been invaluable during security breaches of popular plugins over the past few months – I was able to update those plugins on all affected client sites within a few seconds.
How does your WP Remote workflow look like?
I keep WP Remote open and refresh it about once a day. Whenever there are updates
available, I update directly from the WP Remote dashboard, unless they’re plugins that might need some extra tweaking or if I want to back up the site first.
You’re big into typography, what font are you dying to use but haven’t found the right project for yet?
I actually get to satisfy most of my weird font urges by designing theatre posters!Bizarre fonts that aren’t appropriate for most client work are often totally perfect for a show.
WP Remote was built for people like Linn in mind. It’s great to hear she’s started offering maintenance contracts to clients.
With the time she can save with WP Remote, this becomes financially viable, also allowing her to take on more client work.
Sign up now and start monitoring and updating all of your sites for free!
To celebrate Cyber Monday, WP Remote is giving everyone 30% off all plans forever if you upgrade to premium today!
By upgrading, you’ll save even more time as you’ll have access to these amazing features:
- Automatic backups to our servers, your own S3 or Dropbox
- Automatic Plugin, Theme and Core updates
- Daily notification emails of all available updates
- Keep a record of site activity
- Manage and install Plugins and Themes right from within WP Remote
Act now by using the coupon code ‘CYBERREMOTE’.
This deal will end Monday, December 2 at 11:59pm PST, what are you waiting for?
WP Remote re-designs, launches new premium features and introduces a powerful public API.
Over the last few months we’ve been hard at work on several exciting improvements to WP Remote. We’re finally ready to let you try them out. Today we’re announcing three major improvements to WP Remote:
- A new Premium plan with several much requested features.
- A re-design with a focus on speed & simplicity.
- The public release of our powerful API.
WP Remote has always been about taking the pain out of managing all of your WordPress sites. We’re proud to say we are now helping our users manage more than 45,000 sites. In the last month alone WP Remote has updated 40,000 Plugins, performed over 6,000 WordPress Core updates and backup over 350 GB. Pretty amazing! We built WP Remote to satisfy our own need for a more efficient way to manage a lot of WordPress sites. At Human Made we visit WP Remote several times per day to maintain both our own sites and the sites that our clients pay us to manage. To be useful to us WP Remote has to be simple, fast and effective.
A Premium Plan
WP Remote Premium is something we’ve been thinking about for a while. A lot of the features we want to add don’t scale well on a free product. Premium is a way for us to release these features whilst also ensuring a strong future for WP Remote as a product. You can continue to use all the existing features of WP Remote for free, including monitoring and performing updates on an unlimited number of sites. Upgrade a Site to Premium to get access to the following features:
- Automatic backups stored on WP Remote (previously this was a separate $5 per month per site cost, now it’s part of Premium).
- Automatic backups to your own Amazon S3 or Dropbox account (with more destinations coming soon).
- Fully automatic Core, Theme, and Plugin updates.
- A daily email summary of what has been happening on your sites.
- The ability to install, activate, deactivate and delete Themes & Plugins.
- History will now log important actions that happen on your site (for example if you switch theme, an administrator user changes their password, etc.).
We’re introducing the new Premium plans at discounted prices of $24 per month for 5 sites, $39 per month for 10 sites and $149 per month for 50 sites. In addition to your Premium Sites you can continue to add an unlimited number of Free Sites. Read more about these exciting new features on the homepage or in our documentation or log-in/sign-up and upgrade now!
A Public API
We now have a comprehensive JSON API that gives you access to all of the functionality we currently expose through the WP Remote Web App (and some functionality not currently exposed in the UI).
curl -user 6D32506FF65957454422C864890EA4D1: https://wpremote.com/api/json/site
This API is the future of WP Remote. We’ve built the WP Remote Web App 100% on-top of the publicly available API, we have no hidden/private end-points. This full separation of the functional core and the Web App UI is a powerful step towards allowing multiple different clients, whether they be first party clients we develop in the future or 3rd party clients developed by others in the community. It will also make it possible to deeply integrate WP Remote into your existing workflow. Dive into our documentation to get started. As an example check out our very own WP Remote CLI tool, inspired by WP CLI. it allows you to interact with your remote sites via the command-line, especially useful in situations where you don’t have
SSH access to your site.
$ wp --site-id=200 remote-site download
Initiated site archive.
Backup status: initiate-backup
Success: Site downloaded.
A Strong Foundation
We’re incredibly excited about the future of WP Remote. The API-first approach gives us a solid foundation to build-on, we are absolutely buzzing with ideas for the future. As always, we’d love your feedback on all the changes we’ve introduced today. Please use the feedback link from within the App to let us know what you think or drop us an email at email@example.com
– From everyone at Human Made Limited
Ideas, innovation and small projects
Here at Human Made we are above all a development-led company. We do a lot of custom development work for clients and coding is our life blood. That is why products such as WP Remote, BackupWordPress and our many smaller projects are so important to us. They give us a real chance to innovate, experiment and keep improving skills and knowledge. Not only do many of these projects produce useful plugins or solutions in their own right but they are often solutions that are transferrable to client work so there are benefits all round.
Survival of the fittest
However, just producing a useful product is not enough. If it’s going to remain useful, a product needs continual and ongoing development work and unfortunately when client work gets busy this is the first thing that is squeezed out. The Holy Grail for a product is to be self-sustaining, bringing in enough income to fund the development work it needs to continue to grow and expand.
Lots of web apps now are created as a commercial proposition from the outset, but there are also many others in the marketplace that have taken a more gradual journey, being developed, refined and struggling against other commitments along the way.
As WP Remote makes a key step with its first chargeable premium features, it is interesting to look back on its story and the evolution from free plugin, through some highs and lows, to a bright future as a self-sustaining web app.
A blast from the past, WP Remote as it used to look.
Origins as a plugin
WP Remote began life back in 2009 as a humble plugin called Site Monitor. Tom wanted a way to monitor the version of WordPress on his client sites. There was nothing around to do the job so he wrote a plugin that let him see WP version from WP Admin using XML-RPC, the built in WordPress API. This was an easy and effective solution but had certain drawbacks. Using XML-RPC as a solution was inherently insecure as the user name and password are required. Also, despite Tom’s best efforts to get more features added to the API, only the version of WP core could be viewed, not themes or plugins.
First steps as a hosted app
In early 2010, the decision was made to offer the solution to a wider audience and turn Site Monitor into a hosted app. WP Remote was born, with a GUI written by Joe in Cappuccino. The product launch was announced in WP Hackers and client sign-up began. There was also an important move from using XML-RPC to using a bespoke public API, which could more easily be modified and was available to everyone.
As Joe and Tom became Human Made Ltd and got very busy with client work, very little changed with WP Remote for quite a while, although sign-ups did kept gradually increasing.
Do you remember this dashboard?
A new species
By late 2011 poor WP Remote was feeling a little neglected and unloved. But it did retain a good user base, particularly within the industry and Tom and Joe still believed that it was a relevant and useful product with a lot of potential. It was time for a little make-over and some development TLC. There was a lot of brainstorming, Matt did a redesign and Joe rewrote the GUI in Knockout.js. The result was the new-style WP Remote as it looks and feels today, ready to fight again.
Early in 2012 it seemed like WP Remote was really on the way up when Yoast’s tweet,
“WP Remote is my favourite web app of 2012”,
triggered a huge surge in sign-ups and lots of news coverage. It was very exciting, but once again we failed to take advantage as client work came to the fore and WP Remote development stalled. Sign-ups still continued to grow however, with 40,000 sites being monitored by 15,000 users by early 2013.
The missing link
Finally in 2013 we decided to give WP Remote the place it rightfully deserves. Noel has joined Human Made Ltd with a focus on product development and we have some experienced new developers on board. However, this alone will not be enough for WP Remote to hold its own against client work if it cannot support itself. In order for WP Remote to remain a long-term priority project for Human Made we’ve begun to introduce chargeable premium features.
Future evolution and development
The monitoring and updating features will always be free but there is lots of scope for many exciting premium features. These have already begun with Automatic Backups and there are more to follow. Looking further into the future we’ve a vision for WP Remote as a Cloud-based product that sits underneath other services, so watch this space.
Automatic Backups gives a real demonstration of how we achieve multiple benefits from our development projects; the backup capability for WP Remote is built on the solid foundations of our extremely popular plugin BackUpWordPress. Our main challenge with backups has been balancing storage against cost. They have come and gone in previous iterations but are now making an eagerly awaited reappearance, here to stay as a premium feature.
Back to the beginning
WP Remote has had a long journey from a bespoke personal solution to a full commercial product. Right from the start we’ve seen WP Remote as a really useful service and one that the industry would use; we’ve now got a way of maintaining it through chargeable premium features. Peer usage and review has always been important to us and as WP Remote continues to develop we intend to remain true to its origins as something that was designed not as a money making proposition, but as a great solution to solve a problem.
WP Remote is all about making your life easier, allowing you to manage multiple sites in one place (give it a try now, it’s free). Regular updates help keep your site secure and we’ve already got that one covered; the complement to this is regular backups. Our download functionality allows you to create manual backups, but why not make life even simpler?
With this in mind, we are excited to announce the release of premium Automatic Backups for WP Remote. For a mere $5 per month per site you can have the peace of mind that your site is safely backed up without any additional effort on your part. Automatic Backups is a substantial addition to the features already provided free of charge with WP Remote.
We’ve dallied with automatic backups before but were not satisfied with the results. Reintroducing automatic backups as a premium product has allowed us to get things just right this time round. Here are some of the reasons why we think it’s great:
1. Automatic backups taken every day.
You don’t need to make manual backups any more to protect your site (unless you want to). Your site is safe, you save time and effort.
2. Complete site backup with flexibility.
The daily automatic backup will include the database and all of your site files, not just the WordPress files. However, you also have the ability to exclude particular files from the backup if you require.
3. Six months of backups retained.
WP Remote stores daily backups for the past 7 days, weekly backups for the past month, and monthly backups for the past 6 months. This gives you a lot of flexibility to deal with backup contingencies.
Ready to try WP Remote? Registering for an account is free and just takes a moment.
4. Secure cloud storage.
Your backups are stored securely in the cloud using Amazon S3. Their robust data protection features guard against both logical and physical failures, and also protect against data loss from unintended user actions, application errors, and infrastructure failures.
5. All in one place
The premium Automatic Backups functionality operates seamlessly through your WP Remote dashboard so you still get the ease of managing all of your sites in one place.
Register for a WP Remote account to get started.
Automatic Backups is a subscription based service with monthly billing which you can set up per site and start or stop at any time. You can sign up for Automatic Backups via your dashboard. If you have any questions, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to help.