If you build websites for clients, chances are that you’ve thought about or tried customising the WordPress admin. If you have, you’ve likely come across us here at UIPress.
One of the benefits of UIPress is the ability to not only get granular control over the look and customization of the WP admin but to be able to add and design agency-style features that benefit your client.
Think about adding a Google Analytics dashboard, an admin page that includes instructions, or turn WordPress into a complete self-built website builder. UIPress makes it possible.
Now, let’s take that thought and extend it into owning your own Website as a Service (WaaS) or SaaS product. If WaaS is a new term: website marketing and development firms are increasingly adopting a model called Website as a Service (WaaS).
A WaaS is a website distribution model in which a service provider offers websites to customers, who subscribe to it as a service. This means that monitoring, maintenance, and technical updates are managed by you as part of a monthly plan.
For end-users, the model is overwhelmingly attractive if they have few resources and lack the in-house skills. For builders, it means you can quit the unpredictability of agency work and create a product-based business. A product-based business model creates focus, synergy, and recurring revenue.
In a world where direct-to-consumer platforms such as Wix and Shopify are on the rise, where +20K web dev projects are much harder to come by, and where SMBs make up the bulk of most web development projects, recurring revenue is the way to thrive.
So the question becomes: can you offer a completely WP-based, customizable, and scalable product to your clients, that you can manage like a SaaS?
The answer is a resounding YES, and you really only need 1 extra tool next to UIPress: WPCS.io.
WPCS is the WordPress multi-tenant cloud platform, a hosting platform that spins up single-site installations that have shared functionality but a separate database. In short, it turns WordPress into SaaS.
But before we dive into the phenomenon of multi-tenant WordPress, let’s consider the criteria for a WP-based SaaS or WaaS.
First, we need to have full control and utility of the WP ecosystem of plugins and themes. Second, it has to be completely secure and scalable. Lastly, it has to be automated from sale to launch.
Even though the WaaS model is on the rise, scalability, security, and control have been issues for WaaS owners since the beginning. Optimizing in one area often involves compromising in another.
Traditionally, WordPress builders launching a WaaS or WP-SaaS have chosen Multisite. And without a scalable alternative, Multisite does work to some degree.
WordPress Multisite is a great option when you’re creating a network of sites sharing not only similar functionality but also the same audience. This means they share the same plugins, custom applications, or specific server configurations, but also the same database, filesystem, and users.
Because all subsites share the same codebase, there is no method to block plugins on specific sites. Themes are also implemented throughout the network. If you change the code of one theme, you change it for all sites that use that theme.
These things work great if you running a university network with each faculty on a different subsite, but these are factors that drastically restrict your ability to manage your WaaS.
Most crucially, by using a multisite setup, you automatically add a single point of failure. If one website is hacked, the entire network is vulnerable. If the database becomes too large or the server fails, you’re done.
A WaaS ran on single installs, on the other hand, does not have these scalability, control, and security issues. It would, however, come at a cost, since you would lose the ability to develop and manage the sites centrally like you would with Multisite.
Cue in WPCS, and let’s talk about the 3 reasons that solve scalability, security, and control:
WPCS is built by senior cloud engineers and full-stack developers that have spent more than a decade implementing DevOps best practices into building enterprise-level hosted SaaS solutions.
Based on their years of experience and a growing irritation by a lack of DevOps in WordPress, they decided to bring you multi-tenant WordPress with a unique central development and Versioning System. Let’s quickly cover that.
In high-performing tech organizations, delivery lead time is fast, deployment frequency is high, time to restore service is quick, and change fail rate is low.
Deployment in high-performing teams is part of the culture, and can only be accomplished when there is zero risk in your release pipeline, otherwise, you’ll burn out your dev team in no time.
The best solution: have a separate environment to release your changes. This allows you to not only test your changes locally and in your release pipeline, but also in production, without risking outages.
A SaaS-like approach to WordPress has to include Version Control, enabling an isolated development environment that can push changes to all your websites at once.
Next to development scalability thanks to central development and Version Control, the cloud platform hosts and natively scales any WordPress application to multi-tenant cloud architecture, orchestrated by Kubernetes on AWS.
The container-based infrastructure provides quick scalability, availability, and resilience. Plus, all your WP installations come with uncapped performance & bandwidth.
Your entire Website as a Service and all tenants are hosted in the cloud, which means you can build any WordPress website and multiply as many as you wish.
Because WPCs can host any WordPress installation, you can easily migrate any existing WordPress portfolio or Multisite network onto the platform and reap the benefits of multi-tenant WordPress with cloud scaling within a day’s work.
Finally, as mentioned, WPCS enables you to automate the entire process from sale to launch. Their API and other integrations allow your business to scale infinitely. More on that in the next section.
Because WPCS utilizes multi-tenant WordPress that spins up single-site installations, anyone can build a Website Product that contains your favorite plugins and theme, just as you normally would build a website in WordPress.
You can create different front-end design templates that your customers can choose from. You can load these templates in your storefront and automatically spin up new sites using the provisioning API.
When a customer completes the sign-up flow, a new website is automatically spun up and your customer receives their login credentials via email.
WPCS provides free learning resources and hands-on advice to teach you which plugins, automation, and recipes to use to fully automate your business and sell products while you’re asleep. They also offer free plugins that you can use to build an automated storefront
They have this 13-min video on the website that teaches you how to create a complete Website as a Service (WaaS) business in less than an hour. Zero code required.
Hosting your sites with WPCS means that you can maintain all the control that comes with managing your own infrastructure, but concentrate on websites rather than servers, allowing your team to focus on high-value work.****
Even if you migrate completely different websites onto the platform, you can still manage them as one and work towards streamlining your development process.
All sites are fully managed and come with free HTTPS certificates, automated backups and manual backups, and built-in security. WPCS comes included with everything you need to safely scale any WordPress site.
You can safely share data while your website runs in the cloud with no more servers to configure. In short, you manage thousands of sites from the WPCS Console while allowing individual sites the freedom to customise.