One Year, 10+ Versions – 2021 Year In Review

This year was a busy one for us and we hit a lot of great milestones; but, like everyone else, we pivoted, twisted and turned as we all pushed through yet another difficult pandemic year.

The Product

As you might expect, the highlight for the year was the sheer rapid improvement in the product. We started off the year on version 4.3 and ended it with version 4.13.

That’s 10 versions, each with new features, plus a bunch of minor versions in between with smaller features, tweaks, fixes etc. By our count we rolled out more than 50 new and improved features.

And, of course, we sent the code out for another 3rd party security review.

Just about every aspect of the product was improved – User Interface, Backups, Notifications, Cloud Provider Support – no area was left untouched.

We also started the foundation work for a REST API. We believe that this will have important follow-on effects by the end of 2022.

But I think the real highlight of the year was cleaning up the code to the point where we could release the core plugin on Github. As soon as we did that many more folks just downloaded and started to play with it.

Today, WPCloudDeploy is the only free and open-source product with which you can deploy and manage your servers and sites from a single unified dashboard.

Many other FOSS products will let you deploy WP servers and sites – eg: WordOps and Sail. But those projects tend to be command-line driven and do not include a full-featured UI or anywhere near the functionality that agencies would require in a full-featured WP Management dashboard. (Plus, we’ve read posts on their forum that WordOps is no longer being maintained????)

The Business

The raw numbers on the business is trending nicely:

  • We increased our prices at the beginning of the year so average revenue per new customer has increased as well.
  • Business revenue increased by more than 50% compared to last year.
  • The number of customers increased by a corresponding amount.
  • The number of users have more than doubled (because of the release of the product on Github)

We also have a nice split in how customers are choosing to purchase – approximately 1/3 of our new customers chose a lifetime option and the remainder chose a subscription.

The Customers

2021 saw a number of customers launch public portals of their own that take advantage of our integration with WooCommerce. One customer translated the product into 7 languages and acquired more than 50 server subscriptions in one day.

More customers are taking WPCloudDeploy and adding custom extensions – we have one customer that even completely replaced NGINX with their own custom configuration of OLS. They will be officially launching that product in 2022 under their own brand (they currently have more than 10 customers in beta).

The Publicity

We got a really nice write up in WPTavern. That was very validating.

And, we published more than 45 articles of our own that were distributed via Facebook, Twitter, Email and other outlets.

The Failures

As you might expect, not everything we tried worked out. Two items in particular were disappointments:

  • We introduced the option for prospects to book 1-on-1 time for product demos. More than 85% of prospects failed to show up for their meetings.
  • We tried to build out a provider for Hivelocity, a bare metal cloud server provider. Unfortunately we kept running into API limits, dashboard bugs and more. It’s so so close to being completed but unfortunately we couldn’t get it across the finish line. At least we can still offer support for Vultr bare metal servers.

The Ugly

This year saw our product end up on more than a dozen “GPL CLUB” style sites. If you do a search for “WPCloudDeploy” in Google, links to them start to show up on the 2nd page of the search results. I guess that means people really want it?

2021 also saw an increase in venomous responses from competitors wherever our product was mentioned in articles, forum posts, web commentary etc. The most common response was to make fun of it because “WordPress is insecure”.

It never ceases to amaze me that the same folks that earn their living from WordPress continue to trash it in public forums whenever they can; and then heartily recommend that ‘insecure’ platform to their customers as the best option for their projects. The hypocrisy is really mind-blowing!

Wrapup

2021 was a year with serious security breaches in large WordPress providers (eg: GoDaddy), multiple outages from what many think is the best run cloud provider (AWS) and a growing realization that putting all your eggs in one basket might not be the best idea.

WPCloudDeploy is the ultimate platform for distributing WordPress installations among multiple cloud providers without a dependency on any single one. Even WPCD itself can be distributed among many service providers. Maybe next year is when we can start to push that message a bit harder as folks become more receptive to it.

So, as we head into 2022, we’re looking forward to an amazing year. With new products, features and ideas, we’re betting that 2022 is where WPCloudDeploy really steps into its own and out of the shadows.

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