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From No-code to Code - How CommandWP Came To Be

Dusty Candland | | commandwp

Around 2014 I was doing a lot of consulting work. One client was creating WordPress sites and would contact me looking for help installing plugins or to fix a site that had been hacked with mal-ware.

They had a handful of sites they were working on and it was clear they had two common problems. No one was updating the code and there were no backups to be found!

How can I create a solution that didn't require me to build anything first?

No-code wasn't a common phrase, but it was what I was thinking.

Maybe I can create a managed hosting solution for WordPress and get some of the handful of sites as first customers?

My client thought it was a great idea. They felt the pain of these sites getting hacked and didn't like not having backups. They agreed to offer, and recommend my solution to those handful of sites.

I found a way to manage multiple sites on a virtual server. I found there were solutions for managing multiple WordPress sites from a central dashboard. I found a membership plugin for WordPress that I could use for payments. I found a plugin for off-site backups.

I put all those together, had a no-code solution, and signed up my first customers! WP Support HQ was born.

It worked! And I ran the business like that. It was painful to keep all those systems in sync. But not terrible.

I tried different WordPress management solutions, looking for new features I wanted to offer or more reliable solutions.

Eventually it was too painful. Migrating to different solutions took a lot of time. Each one had most of what I wanted but not everything.

Keeping the management plugins updated and connected started to take a lot of time. Clients would disable the plugins not knowing what they did. I was logging into multiple sites each update cycle.

Onboarding new clients was time consuming. I'd have multiple plugins to install and configure. I'd connect the site to the management system. Make sure I managed passwords for the admin in case something didn't work correctly.

It was time to start coding a solution for WP Support HQ.

First was a little script here and there, hacked together. I found WP-CLI. A program to interact with WordPress from the command line. This was part of the solution allowing me to not rely on plugins.

I hacked more scripts together. Those scripts started to become an application. I slowly replaced parts of the no-code system. That application become CommandWP.

As time went on I added more features, made the code better, added more logging and reporting. It started looking like this could be useful to others managing WordPress sites.

Slowly still, I started getting the application ready for other users. Adding permissions, accounts, and settings.

Now, it's at a point where others can use the system!

There's plenty on the roadmap, but certainly enough to manage sites! If you're interested, checkout the early adopter page.

Photo by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash


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