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?

safeWith 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.

Automatic Backups

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.

premium-excludes

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.

Download backup

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 [email protected] and we’ll do our best to help.

UPDATE: API End points have changed since this post was written. I have updated the code snippets.

I am proud to announce we are opening up our JSON based RESTful API for WP Remote! This will allow third parties to integrate with WP Remote, in hopefully new and innovative ways. If you have internal provisioning systems / client management software you could automatically add sites to WP Remote when clients are added, or indeed vica-versa; you could configure you home alarm to go off when a plugin update becomes available or you could even create your own front-end web app for WP Remote. The possibilities are (almost) endless!

You can find the documentation for the API in the support center under API Documentation. Currently we have the `/sites` and `/sites/{id}` endpoints documented, but we plan to add more of the API endpoint docs soon.

To test, run the following in your terminal:

curl --user demo:demo https://wpremote.com/api/json/site

Bonus!

Hacking against the API with jq works very cool, for example:

curl --user demo:demo https://wpremote.com/api/json/site | jq '.[].nicename'

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 15.23.09

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 21.23.35

It’s been a while since our last blog update (apologies!) We have just added the ability to set exclude rules for backups. This is handy if you have subsites in the same directory, or other non-required large folders in your document root. Just click “Backup Excludes” at the bottom of the Backups tab for a site to add / remove exclude rules. Enjoy!

As some of you may have noticed, there has been quite a few enhancements happening to WP Remote over the last few weeks. We have 2 major improvement areas: Mobile friendly and usability.

More Mobile Friendly

We have always had basic CSS media queries on WP Remote so it was usable on mobile devices, but not great. We have focused on the optimising the UI at much smaller screen sizes. Check out a couple of shots of this in action:

We still have work to do in regards to mobile, but this should at least make it more manageable if you need to update a plugin away from your computer! We have also added a loading splash page for iOS and adding WP Remote to your homescreen on an iPhone 5 will no longer run letter-boxed.

UI Changes

We have made quite a lot of small UI tweaks across WP Remote, we have a new bar for filtering sites above the sites list, new styles for the site statuses. Nothing groundbreaking, but we are always trying to improve things on a micro-scale to making things more intuitive to use and more visually appealing.

To only show sites with updates to Core, Plugins or Themes you can use the filter buttons. Click multiple to combine them.

 

Under the Hood Changes

We have been working very hard over the past few weeks making lots of improvements to the backend of WP Remote. This should mean faster loading of sites, more reliability and of course Safari will be snappier ;)

 

 

We have recently released some more enhancements for WP Remote. Along with a hoard of bug fixes we have added the ability to lock individual plugins and themes from updates. Locking a plugin will disable the Update option for that plugin. If there is a known compatibility issue with a plugin update you can lock that plugin to as stop you (or anyone else using the WP Remote account) from updating that plugin. This is also useful if you have modified a plugin – or have some plugins running out of a Git repository which you don’t to be updated via WP Remote.

The below shows WordPress SEO is locked, (you may have noticed – a new addition to WP Remote: displaying all plugins and their versions installed on the site; before it was just plugins that had updates).

 

The Plugin Updates view will then display the below.

 

We also recently “iconified” the interface to save on visual clutter, modified our backend server to run requests to client sites in parallel so when you log into WP Remote, all you site should refresh much faster (up to 25 times faster!).

When WP Remote was rebooted in January 2012 it launched with unlimited free hosted backups under a beta label. We offered the backup feature free as we were experimenting with the implementation. Backups were stored on Amazon S3, sites had unlimited backups though the backups had to be manual so bandwidth was largely kept under control.

The problem with backups of this nature is they continue to grow in storage per site, as people rarely delete old backups which means every month the price to support stored backups can only go up, and up. As we currently don’t have the mechanism to charge for hosted backups, we are planning to remove stored backups from WP Remote. We will however keep the backup feature, but the backup will be downloaded directly to your computer upon complete.

We found in the majority of cases we needed to use backups before a WordPress upgrade, major code change or site migration. These use cases do not require a long term backup solution, only to get a copy of the site before making a large change. If anything goes wrong then one still needs to download the backup from WP Remote, we are just switching that process to require the download first.

The main motivator here however was not the price of supporting backups, as many people may have experienced the taking backup process can often have difficulties with transferring a site backup to Amazon S3, and the multistep process that goes with that. With the replaced “Download Backup” feature (shown below), the success rate on backups will be much higher.

 


This will result in all currently stored backups being deleted on 1st October 2012, you can log in to WP Remote and download all your backups with one button, or just download any you specifically need and delete the others.
In the future, we are planning to integrate payments for enterprise level features which managed backups may be a part of, though we can not say in exactly what capacity, most likely this is where (finally) we will support 3rd party Amazon S3 accounts.
Ultimately we currently have 2 problems with backups, 1: they cost us a non-significant amount of bandwidth, and we currently have no way to charge for them; 2: they are not currently all that stable. We are working on a better solution to these problems, so in the mean time – it’s direct download backups only.

We’ve just pushed a few fixes and enhancements to the app and released version 2.2 of the plugin, the updated plugin should show up in your WP Remote account shortly.

Things we’ve improved.

  1. Some improvements when using WP Remote on your smartphone (if you haven’t tried it on your phone, try it now, it works).
  2. Better error messages when you have entered an incorrect API key (or you’ve generated a new one and not yet updated the site with it).
  3. We now grab the home_url, site_url & admin_url directly from the site instead of guessing them in-app, WP Remote should now work much better with non-standard WordPress installs.

We today pushed an update to WP Remote which adds a new “notes” feature. We have received many requests for an area to write notes about a site added to WP Remote. This may be a note about a plugin not to update, or details on an update process, etc.

Adding a note will show on the status page like so.

 

 

You can edit the notes from the Settings tab, note edits are logged in the History. That links to the next feature recently added: History. This is a chronological list of all the activity performed by WP Remote. Plugin update, editing notes, backups completed / removed etc.

Also released today is the ability to “Lock” a site from being able to update. This can be useful if you update plugins from a Git repository or somewhere else outside WP Remote. You can lock/unlock the site from the site’s Settings tab.

 

That’s all for now, happy updating!

It’s been a crazy month since the reboot of WP Remote went live. With quite a few releases and a bucket full of registrations, it’s about time for us to provide an update on what’s been happening with WP Remote.

What have all these releases been about?

WP Remote is maturing which has included a number of updates. Apart from bug fixes, the main areas that we have been working on include:

  • Responsive design
    One of our priorities has been to get WP Remote working well on mobile devices; the aim is to get WP Remote working well on most form factors. We have updated to Bootstrap 2 providing more capability for responsive design. Current progress sees the website working very well on the iPad and adequately on the iPhone with more improvements still to come.
  • Security
    We’ve been focusing on making WP Remote more secure, this included changing to use unique API keys per site, you can also regenerate an API key for any site.

  • Compatibility
    As more and more domains have been added we’ve been amazed by the huge range of inconsistencies that can exist between sites. We’ve been working hard on compatibility, making WP Remote robust across a wider range of sites. We aim for it to be able to deal with any new site that is added.

So how many people are using WP Remote now?

At the time of writing we now have over 9,000 sites added to WP Remote – this is much larger than we could have imagined. The response from the community has been really great, we are thrilled people are making use of WP Remote.

In best awards ceremony tradition we would like to thank everyone who has helped us to achieve this. We’ve had some great mentions from Joost de Valk (@yoast), TNW and WPMU, insidedaweb, the Loop, escolawordpress and Gregory Argenton that have helped more people discover WP Remote. Thanks also to everyone who has posted positive feedback on Twitter (@wpremote). It’s great to feel appreciated.

What’s the latest on backups?

The backup capability seems to be one of the most popular features but has also caused us some of the biggest headaches. We are working to improve backups and to be able to reinstate automatic backups.

We are continuing to grapple with the issue of how to fund the bandwidth required for storing the backups. With almost 10k sites and growing fast this is starting to become a more of a concern. Charging a nominal fee is an option but we are looking hard at solutions for raising money that avoid us having to charge, such as sponsorship or advertising. Another option under consideration is the possibility of people linking to their own storage. This adds another layer of complexity and does feel like it goes against the whole WP Remote ethos of a simple solution. We are leaning towards requiring your own S3 account for automatic backups, and leaving manual backups free. We’ll keep you posted……

 What’s next?

Going forward we remain strongly committed to investing in and developing WP Remote. The WP Remote app itself is, and will continue to be free to use, so no worries there. Carry on using WP Remote and of course let your friends know about it.

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.